TD Overdrive: The Brotherhood of Speed
Many of the gamers born in the mid eighties will remember the first Test Drive games from their early teen years. The games were fun to play especially because of the traffic and the cops (traffic was only available in version 3 I think). Sadly it only went down hill from there. They kept the same gameplay as the first edition and just updated the graphics along the way but the games were filled with bugs and clipping problems and there were some much better racing games on the market. I’m not quite sure but I think they made 5 or 6 games for PC and most of them got trashed by the press (Test Drive 5 was really sad).
But enough of that, because now Test Drive debuts on the Xbox and let’s hope it’s worth it.
When you start up the game you get your first surprise: it’s not just racing, no, there is a story to it! Your name is Dennis Black (no not the Belgian porn producer) and you live and breathe cars. One good day, you are called to a rather obscure meeting where you are asked to replace a wounded racer. After a test you are ready for your first race…
The races take place in some major cities like London, Tokio and San Francisco. Your goal is to finish first and avoid pedestrians and vehicles (there is no harm in crushing them though) and of course not getting caught by the police. You can get extra checkpoint time by doing some jumps. There are a lot of cars to race with like an Aston Martin, a Lotus, a Jaguar and a Toyota Supra. Newer cars get unlocked as the game continues.
The gameplay isn’t so bad but it has some issues. Cars are easy to control but the tracks are hard. Nothing wrong with that you think? Well not exactly because it’s not due to the strong opponents or the crazy traffic but more the weird way of signaling. Checkpoints are done nicely by a flare but the arrows that point out the way give some weird impression of being further then they are. More than often did I pass the arrows before I thought the street would be.
Maybe the fact that the graphics are very dark doesn’t help the road visibility, other than that the graphics are fine without being impressive. You can all probably figure out why, it’s one of those nice ps2 ports. But everything you need is there, reflections, smoke, nice surroundings, damage, and pretty good lighting effects.
The sound is the best part of the game: nice sound effects differing from car to car and really top notch motor sounds. And if you think that’s all, then guess again, you get tracks from DMX, JXL, Ja Rule and others. Two thumbs up for the sound part of the game is more than earned. The only negative point there is the brake sound which is a bit odd from time to time (more like torturing a mouse).
The game supports some different multiplayer types. Two of them are basic: riding in circles and riding one track from start to finish. But the most fun I had with drag racing: just a straight line, two cars and manual gears, yea baby!
Considering everything, you get a pretty mediocre game with a very nice soundtrack and pretty good multiplayer fun. If you are looking for a nice and easy racer, this is your game, but if you are looking for something more in a racing game then I suggest Project Gotham racing which is of a much higher level