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Big Red Racing
Review by Al giovetti, 09/087/96
Genre: Arcade racing
Price: $30
Developer: Big Red Software
Music: Hangnail
Publisher: Domark
Phone: 415-513-8929
Requires: 486 DX, 66 MHz, 8 MB RAM, 2X CD ROM drive, SVGA, 42 MB hard disk space, mouse, SoundBlaster compatibles, Thrustmaster steering and pedals
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History: Domark has been making games for a long time. Recently Domark merged with Eidos software and the two will be making computer games together.

Plot: You race on 24 different race tracks in either single player of multi-player mode. With single player you drive any car on any track in single race mode. The game will also play in tournament mode where you play five rounds of increasing difficulty to become the Big Red Racing Champion. But multi-player is where this game really shines.Arcade style racing where everything is rendered on the fly in realtime. The racing is smooth even if the graphics are not.

Game play: You first select a character and vehicle logo from the two women and four men drivers from six different nations, including America, Britain, France, Germany, Italian, and Russian. The characters include Giorgio Macchio, Ivan Smirnoff and Jake "Bad Mutha," who all have their own personal statistics, such as age and driving record, and a small humorous biography. The vehicles are then decorated with your own decal from 24 available and color, which will be worn as the racing suit color by your character. Personalization of the car and character makes the game more fun and gets the player more involved in the game.

A helicopter overview of each race track before you start is a nice feature. A series of track views and angled views from behind your vehicle also helps to increase the action while playing. The cockpit view shows gauges and the first person perspective which is best for driving.

The courses and vehicles: There are 24 race courses to drive, including the Dirt Circle in England with the commentary of Deanna Fox-Wellington, Excellent Adventure gives us blow-by-blow from valley girl accented Crystal Stone, and the overly sensuous and seductive Venus Envy narration of the really hard Fly Trap track of Venus. There are three tracks for each of eight types, including off road tracks for four wheel drive vehicles, dirt tracks, aerial tracks for the helicopters, outer space courses, water courses for boats and hover craft, and quarry tracks for big dirt moving vehicles. Each vehicle has statistics for top speed, acceleration, turning circle, suspension, resistance to damage, and nitro.

Difficulty settings can be set from the tough to fragile in 100 increments. So that your vehicle is damaged by the smallest of accidents or left unharmed by the most damaging of collisions. This is the only difficulty setting, and will disappoint many who are used to complex difficulty matrix type adjustments for game play preferences. But simple difficulty settings are common in European games, who do not see the need for these options like those from the United States.

Interface: You can drive with joysticks or keyboard or both which can be customized as to key control. A nitro button (spacebar or zero key) activates a canister of fuel which is similar to the turbo boost key in other race games. Arrow keys control acceleration, deceleration and turning right or left. You are constantly pressing the up key to maintain speed since releasing the key causes the vehicles to stop, rather than pushing the down arrow, which would have been a better choice. The control key respots you back onto the center of the race course after you have driven off the track. Support for the Thrustmaster Formula T1 racing module may seem like overkill until you try it.

Graphics: Arcade style racing where everything is rendered on the fly in real-time. The racing is smooth even if the graphics are not.

Voice actors: Constant sarcastic and derogatory commentary on the races is provided from the wave files. Many keys elicit remarks. Pushing the escape key triggers "Uhoh." Reversing your direction on the course elicits a brash "Wrong Way" to help you get turned around. Many other comments talk about crackups, and biting the dust. Narration is by Lani Minella and Jon St. John, who do introductions for the 24 different race tracks in stereotypical ethnic accents. The result of all this chatter is an amusing and often hilarious spoof of racing.

Music: Cool 'MTV' style presentation with a mixture of rock n' roll and jazz soundtrack sounds and plays like a music video intercut with clips of the Hangnail band playing the music. There are 40 MB of wave files that install to your hard drive. The CD tracks will not play on a regular CD player as an extra bonus, as many other game CDs do.

Sound effects: Squeals, engine noises and all the normal racing stuff.

Utilities: Adjust the closeness of the display to the vehicle manually or automatically.

Multi-player: The game is built around multi-player competition with as many as six players, but single player mode is also supported. The game can be played on the TEN multi-player network, or over null modem, phone modem, network or internet with up to six human players. You can play with a friend on split screen on the same console.

Hint: Use nitro on the corners. Put the respot button on your joystick to get back into the action quickly. Use the control (cntl) key to get back into the action more quickly. ss4big.gif - 8.0 K

Todd Vaughn, PC Gamer, volume 3, number 7, July, 1996, pg. 89. 75%.
Chuck Miller,
Next Generation, volume 2, number 19, July, 1996, pg. 83-84. , 60%.
Gordon Goble, Computer Gaming World, number 144, July, 1996, pg. 138-142. 2/4 (40%).
Ross Chamberlain, Copyright 1996 Alfred Giovetti