Getting on for almost a decade old now, this was part of a second wave of Playstation 1 'killer apps', along with Final Fantasy VII, G-Police, Colony Wars, Colin McRae Rally and so forth (the first generation had included Wipeout, Tomb Raider and a few others). It inspired a long-time PC-owning friend of mine to buy a Playstation, and a great time was had by all. Turismo was strikingly good-looking in 1997, with shiny metal cars and an undulating track, which seemed to have no pop-up; the vast amount of technical tweaks and other cars were both awe-inspiring; you could play the game to win, or you could play the game to collect cars! Do them up, take them to the garage, fit body kits and so forth. The racing eventually becomes a matter of buying a huge turbo and just bashing into the other cars, but it's tense and frustrating while it lasts, and that's good! The non-turbo races are particularly challenging, because you can't 'cheat'.
Unforgivingly, brutally hard training sequence. To race, you need a special licence; to win the licence, you need to drive down a hill, around a corner, up a hill, through a tunnel (say) - in fifteen seconds *less* than your best time. To unlock the whole game, you have to drive a series of perfect laps around some of the courses, and it's *murder*. Argh. I still have marks in my thighs, from punishing myself.
The Bottom Line
Inspired an album by the Cardigans; indirectly got me a job writing games reviews for Future Publishing, changed my life. More fun than the sequel, although I tend to play it now with a PC-based Playstation emulator (it was, as far as I know, never converted to other platforms, and was for a while as good a reason for owning a Playstation as, say, Goldeneye was for owning an N64). The plethora of sequels has dulled its impact, but it's still fun to tart up Honda CRXes and so forth. It's just a shame there wasn't a Mini until the sequel.