PlayStation Gamer REVIEW


Virgin Interactive
Elcom Games
3D Racing
Reviewed by:
Date posted:
Marc Pee

Dakar '97 - screenshot VROOM! VROOM! AND AWAY WE GO
Here's an interesting offering from Virgin Interactive Japan. Dakar ‘97 tries to capture the thrills and spills of off-road racing. You’ve got a selection of 4WD vehicles like the Mitsubishi Panjero for example to handle the venturesome terrains and race tracks.

Dakar is a departure from "standard" racers where the speed of your vehicle is essential in winning the race. I’m not saying that speed is not integral here, but other elements come into play as well like terrains and the type of vehicle you choose. You’ve got 6 courses to choose from with a variety of terrains like along mountain tracks, in a dry and arid desert, cascading down sand dunes, across a Savannah, round an oasis and along the coast. Sounds interesting? Read on.

Dakar '97 - screenshot THE TERRAIN'S THE GAME
The key element to this game is knowing the type of terrain that you’re on and finding the optimal way to reach the end of the course. Driving and steering skills are essential. One moment you could be streaking across a flat hard ground, and the next thing you know you hit the wide open desert with no road markers.

Imagine loosing control of your vehicle, get a spin-out and not know which direction you’re currently facing. What do you do? Panic? No way dudes, your vehicle is equipped with a state-of-the-art GPS (Global Positioning System) and this is the most important equipment in your vehicle that you need to use to navigate through the tough courses. Oh yeah, to make life a bit easier, you get a computer buddy who acts as your navigator telling you when the next turning or hazard is coming up.

Dakar '97 - screenshot LOOKS ALONE CAN NEVER TELL
Graphically, Dakar does not offer more than most of the other racers in the market. However, if you’re into "eye-candies", the game offers a spiffy intro CG FMV that looks almost as good as Namco’s Rage Racer. Control of your vehicle is pretty good, but remember, as I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph, different terrains requires a different way for you to handle your vehicle. You have the usual difficulty setting from Easy to Hard and controller key configurations.

This one’s for racing aficionados who must absolutely get every racing game out there. Casual Sunday drivers should try this title out before buying. Initially, the frustration level of loosing control of your vehicle is quite high, but it gets better once you know the physics behind the wheel.

GRAPHICS: 7.0 Dakar '97 - screenshot

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