Car and Driver
Test drive ten of the best cars on ten varying tracks, from Monterey Raceway to a mall parking lot. Game setup is in the format of the Car & Driver magazine. Race solo or against multiple cars, computer-controlled or via modem. As with most racing games, includes replay with various camera angles.
Credits (DOS version)
|Graphics / 3D Programming|
|Graphics / Artwork|
Average score: 78% (based on 9 ratings)
Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 18 ratings with 3 reviews)
Hi! My name is James and I have created a user account on MobyGames solely to add this review.
I can’t believe I have found Car & Driver! This game meant so much to me! I have chosen to place my review with MobyGames because of the large selection of screenshots here. Superb!
Before I continue, I was not a big gamer (1992), and bought very few games.
I am an Automotive Design and Test Engineer (England, UK) for a large vehicle manufacturer. This is worth mentioning as it (loosely) justifies my sadness in my rantings below. Here goes.
I bought Car & Driver back in 1992 for my all singing & all dancing 386DX (40Mhz!!!).
Other driving sims at that time on my 386 were ‘Indianapolis 500’ - An oval racer.
As I am typing this, my head is churning to dig up these facts! Car & Driver was bought after lots of research. I used all my money I received for Christmas to purchase and my parents thought I was mad. The main reason for purchase is that I am not an ‘arcade’ fan. This means that ‘checkpoints’ and ‘bonus power ups’ is just not my cup of tea. This is emphasized by my reference to ‘Indianapolis 500’ above. Car & Driver provided car reviews, facts, comments and data. Lots of data. Even back then (before graduation) I was thinking as an Engineer.
I remember receiving the box through the post and being impressed by the amount of floppy disks that were included to hold the game!!! This game must be good I thought. I was not disappointed.
The dashboards were a work of art. I can remember the Corvette’s digital dash. Plus the Ferrari's big wooden rimmed steering wheel. I can’t really remember driving dynamics – but I spent months, every night after school playing this game hard; I mean really hard – so it couldn’t of been that bad.
I spent hours in the shopping mall car park. Yes – a shopping mall car park was an actual track! Genius! I perfected donuts in the Cobra. Learnt about oversteer and throttle control. You could even practice parking in designated bays! When you are too young to have a driving license (like me, back in ’92) that meant SO much.
The replays were very good as well. The cars had graduated body colour texture and, wait for it, working brake lights! How cool was that! I remember doing replays on the starting line, just dabbing my brakes, quitting, then watching the replay just for flashing brake lights.
Like I said, other games may have provided the above, but Car & Driver felt so right, so technically correct. It was a technically strong game.
Anyway, I have not played this game in 12 years – so all the above is from memory. I found the box and the original EA discs in my loft (attic/roofspace, you know). I tried to install it last week (September 2004) to my current PC but one of the discs is corrupt. Doh! I will now go on a hunt for a download or something. The Internet is quite new for me. Wish me luck!
A lot of my youth gaming was on this piece of software. It fueled my love for cars, and shaped my career and gaming personality. Needless to say, it spawned an obsession with technically correct, non ‘arcadey’ driving sims which is why recently, GT1, GT2, GT3, GT3 Concept and the soon to be released GT4 have also been my sole gaming avenue - I own no other titles for my PS1 or PS2.
Added February 2005 : I have managed to obtain the game and install it on my machine!!!!! It was like restoring a part of my childhood! Everything above still stands, but after many years of the Gran Turismo series, boy, the physics are questionable!!!!!!!!!!!! Again, thanks for listening. James.
My corrupt floppy disc in 2004. Funny that.... In 2005, I can now say physics, but this is unfair. In '92 I had no complaints....!
The Bottom Line
Please see above.
DOS · by James Mills (2) · 2005
The interface, based on the Road an Track magazine was pretty well done. The sheer volume of information of the 10 cars showcased in this game was simply phenomenal. Basically, it was the complete magazine review, and when R&T magazine review a car, they do it in style.
The game was fully 3D, and impressively so, but with no textures the whole game looked a little flat - remember the coin-op Hard Driver machine, the first coin-op with a clutch pedal? At the time, most driving games were not 3D, so this was really quite impressive to look at. Times change of course, and today it looks horribly dated.
Some of the courses were fun. There were three road sections. The New York and California highways were great, but the star was the 3-stage mid-west (sorry I forget exactly where) road, covering almost 30 miles. You also got the dragstrip track, and the rather pointless San Dimas mall, where you basically just drove around a car park. Hmm...
There was a rather cool reply mode, and you could actually race against a previous replay. To be honest, more of a gimmic, but still a nice touch.
I never really got to grip with the way the cars handled - but I'd be surprised if anyone did. The handling of the cars was awful - they all felt the same, it's just that some were faster. Additionally, the control was truly horrible. You had several buttons for turning corners, depending on whether you wanted a slow turn, medium turn or fast turn.
Considering the fact that this game was released a full year after the awesome Formula One Grand Prix (World Circuit), there's no real excuse for this poor control system and poor game dynamics. This is the only real letdown of the game - but it is one that will stop you playing it.
The Bottom Line
It looked good but drove bad - and that was eight years ago. Hopelessly outclassed today, I don't believe it even has much retro appeal. The best thing about this game is that it was the genesis of the Need For Speed series.
DOS · by Steve Hall (329) · 2000
Don't get me wrong on the title of this review, Car & Driver is a nice program indeed. Being the predecessor of the Need for Speed games series, the aim is clear and well known: have fun driving sports cars you couldn't even dream of being able to afford in real life.
Talking about diversity, this game has more of it than any of its sequels, even though there are only 10 cars, from classic convertible to modern prototype car, and just as many tracks available. Besides 3 classic race tracks and 3 NFS-typical highway and freeway routes (one of them almost 30 miles long!), there's an Autocross course, an oval high-speed track, a dragstrip and, believe it or not, a mall parking lot.
The graphics of the game are also very neat. Although there is virtually no texture mapping, the tracks look very nice, with many details and objects. There is even traffic on some tracks, like the highway routes, the first circuit or the parking lot.
The game is actually in full 3 dimensions, unlike many games of the period which use Mode 7 technology to just simulate a 3D-effects. This means that also every car is a full 3D model (fascinating: even the brake lights work, and this is 1992!) and you can choose from many perspectives, including a bumper cam in 2 resolutions, a top-down camera, chase and TV cameras and a cockpit view in low resolution, with a detailed and animated cockpit for each and every car. This really makes driving the cars a lot more fun, despite the unrealistic handling.
Which is the main drawback of Car & Driver. You won't notice how weird the physics are as long as you drive in easy mode, since then the steering wheel is limited to the maximum angle at which your car won't yet start to skid. As soon as you DO skid, however, you will lose interest in this game very fast. The physics are so ridiculous, you will wonder why your throttle control stops working as soon as you skid, or why a small dip in the track can make your car fly high in the air and about a mile away, or if your tires are just always trying to remain in the position that is the most disadvantageous at the moment.
The point is: Lacking AI competitors (you can only drive against a friend over a network or against recordings of your own laps in single player mode) and featuring stuff like the parking lot, the game clearly is more aimed towards being a driving simulation than a driving game. As much more it hurts that the cars just don't feel right, and although you probably will enjoy the scenery and the tracks, it won't suffice to keep you playing.
There are other drawbacks like not too nice sound effects, a weird keyboard control (trying to make up for the digital disadvantage by allowing several grades of turning the steering wheel, but failing at it, making the game much too hard to control) and most of all your annoying recorded competitors, which won't even try to overtake, but just continue driving on their recorded paths, driving against you from behind and getting both cars to explode without you even noticing beforehand.
The Bottom Line
Car & Driver is fun to play for a while, just to enjoy the nice cars, beautiful scenery and diverse tracks. But lacking anything in the likes of computer controlled cars, a campaign mode or something reminding of a driving physics system, it just won't do as a game. I don't know about the multiplayer mode, which I believe could actually be some fun. But to me, this product looks more like an interactive technology demonstration (like most modern FPS games, hehe) which is probably what it was regarded as when it was released.
DOS · by Daniel Saner (3492) · 2004
There are advertisement boards on some of the tracks (like Arkansas Route 7, near the starting line) reading "Blue Sky Productions" which was one of the companies later forming Looking Glass.
In the "Monterey" screenshot, you can see a banner for "EASN" -- Electronic Arts' original acronym for their sports titles ("Electronic Arts Sports Network"). However, the cable sports network ESPN thought it was too similar to their trademark, so they threatened to sue if EA didn't change their name. EA changed "EASN" to "EA Sports".
Related Sites +
IGCD Internet Game Cars Database
Game page on IGCD, a database that tries to archive vehicles found in video games.
- MobyGames ID: 395
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Andy Voss.
Game added November 7th, 1999. Last modified August 14th, 2023.