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.
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.
KEEP YER COOL
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.
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.
Most of the reviews here are either submitted by readers or copied from newsgroups.
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of PlayStation Gamer.
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