Test Drive: Le Mans Review
The Test drive series really hit big, on the Sega Genesis. Accolade who is now a property of Infogrames, was the original creator of the saga. Later when Sony's beast from the east made it's way to the west seas, Accolade started working on the fourth installment of the TD series. TD4 was quite a ride, back in the day Test Drive was the next best thing to Need For Speed. Test Drive also received a spin-off, it was an off-road game using the Test Drive license. Test Drive: Off Road saw two more titles, and the original Test Drive saw 2 more titles as well. Before the release of TD6, Accolade was acquired by Infogrames, so the Test Drive series is now in their hands. The company also acquired a few other publishers as well. All of that created a big spin-off frenzy in the San Jose offices of Infogrames. All of a sudden we saw Test Drive: Cycles (where the hell is that game?) Test Drive Rally, and Test Drive: Le Mans. Test Drive: Le Mans has now seen the light of day, that's one down two to go. Check out the in depth review.
Test Drive: Le Mans was supposed to be released late last year, but never made it. It got pushed back a few times and there were never reasons. Now I know the reason for all of those delays, and it is more than one thing. For starters Le Mans has pretty choppy, flickery and grainy graphics (YOURR... OUT!). The backgrounds not only have a great deal of pop-up (draw in) but they are also very flickery when you stay in one place. You will notice trees disappearing and re-appearing in the environments as you stay still, you will see the still car jerk around and few other annoying faults. Car models aren't as nice and smooth as the company claims them to be, sorry Infogrames but come on, we all know that this is certainly not your best job. The cars have no polish to them and they almost remind me of the cars that I saw Sports Car GT (*ooohhh, shivers down my spine*). The vehicles sport no reflections, chroming or any other eye candy effect. Background features such as clouds, trees, and road barriers look incredibly pixilated. Sun rays are horrible, you see the sun beaming at you and then the blink of an eye the effect is gone. The sun doesn't even fade away, it just disappears. It is sorry to say this but I was actually looking forward to Le Mans and all I got was a bag of disappointment.
The gameplay is a mixed bag. While the game sports cars like, Porsches, BMW's and Buggati's, the gameplay physics aren't quite realistic. Handling a car is no problem, it's just the realism is absent. Steering your vehicle can feel like racing with a Ridge Racer car. In case you don't know the Le Mans race was established back in 1923, this is without a doubt the most grueling race ever. Why? Can you say racing for 24 hours straight, with only the pit stops allowed. I doubted the decision of a REAL 24 Hour race in the videogame version, but I was dead wrong. You have a choice of picking 12 minutes, 24 minutes, 2 hours, and the 24 hour race (compressed time)! The game is lacking variety, call me spoiled but only 25 cars? 6 tracks? But I must admit that the sense of speed is really good. Modes such as the Two Player mode are really sparse, the pop up gets pretty annoying after playing for about 20 seconds. There are three classes of cars, GT1, Prototype, and GT2. Cars have to earned by beating the Championship mode and other modes. I was surprised that the AI was kind of smart, when I tried to crash into them head-on they would brake and steer out of the way. Too bad that an officially endorsed product turned out to be a semi failure. But strangely at the same time, somewhat amusing to play.
Oh, come in. In the day and age where a majority of games have some adrenaline pumping big name soundtrack, Le Mans doesn't. The engine sounds are quite on the "pissing me off side". The engines are way too loud and need to be toned down a little, just lower the SFX level. Commentary is there, it may be shallow but there is something. The quality isn't good nor bad, just average.
The control part will be a quickie, both analogs sticks are used, good use of Dual Shock and sensitivity of analog sticks. The thing that gets me down is the physics engine, I would have raised the gameplay but the car control needs to be tightened up.
It is safe to say that only racing enthusiasts will want pick up or rent Le Mans. Honestly I find it fun to play at times, but things like physics, graphics and a few annoying ticks make this title far from being spectacular. Test Drive: Le Mans 24 Hours has a few good and bad features to it, a majority are bad but hey, what are ya' gonna do? With a few more pointers and some extra months in development, Le Mans could have been a good game.