Written by  :  Olivier Masse (450)
Written on  :  Jun 19, 1999
Rating  :  3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars

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The best of the best... for those who like to go slowly

The Good

The amount of detail was incredible for a game of that period. Working traffic lights, moving trains, airplaines, chicken walking inside barns... it was totally awesome. Many objects were alive and moved everywhere.

You also could use headlights, a radio with a few channels and wipers. Wipers came in handy to remove insects that stuck on your dash. :) Want to drive backwards? No problemo: just remember to check your rear view mirror. The game featured a "chase car view" to see your car from many angles and an instant replay which was very fun to review crashes.

This game featured 256-color VGA graphics with lots of huge digitized pictures. Back in 1990, this impressed a lot of my friends.

The game was also in real 3D - yet again nothing fancy compared to now, but a major improvement over the older TD games. It was playable on a 286 (although a 386 was best in high detail mode) and supported many sound cards.

Although the main object of the game didn't change - you had to race as fast as you could to go from one point to another - the creators finally got it right: they understood that some players didn't want to race at all, but to explore. Exploring the virtual TD3 worlds at 35mph was so fun in itself, I've never enjoyed racing.

Other improvements over the older TD games included the possibility of racing against other cars controlled by the computer.

The Bad

If you've played TD or TD2 and didn't like the gameplay, you ain't seen nothing yet. TD3 must have the *worst* gameplay of any simulator of all-time. You always end up crashing or hitting something, no matter how much you practice. You just can't keep on the road, unless you have a straight strech of interstate in front of you. It is so frustrating that most payers will prefer taking their time, exploring the big detailed 3D maps. Well, maybe not everyone, but I did.

If the game would have least offered the possibility of driving a Chevette or Tercel, it would have been less insulting. You end up using a car that can do high speeds, but you can't control it over 60. Not at all. I'm not saying that going at 150mph in real life is easy, but the game would have been much more enjoyable if it could have been possible to use an "assisted" driving mode that would help you take the curves.

On another note, the sound on my AdLib was not really realistic. The engin sounded like a mosquito (as a comparison, those from Stunts really kicked ass). The music was good, however. I remember trying it on my GUS with an MT-32 emulation and it sounded quite better, try it out if you can!

The Bottom Line

The first "real" driving simulator. You can drive

The good: Extremely detailed. Nice and fast 3D engine, lots of moving objects. A major enhancement over the previous Test Drive games. You can actually explore all the different maps, since there is no minimum time limit.

The bad: Much too hard to play at high speeds, while going fast is supposed to be the object of this game.

Alternate games: I strongly suggest you try out Stunts which came out at the same time.