SEGA Touring Car

SEGA, 1997, Japan, SEGA Saturn

Summary: 8.5 of 10

This is undoubtedly one of the best Saturn racing games, almost a masterpiece.
Everything in this game suggests speed and action, the racing speed, the sound tracks and the presentation as well.
Like other games the poor arcade side got an improved saturn side but here the additions are manifold. Two player battle, car tuning, mirror inside the cars and in this japanese NetLink version there are date activated internet events, which unlock new tracks and supply a code for every event which verifies your highscore for publishing on the internet.
With all this, more tracks and cars like other arcade conversion, the replay value is high enough that the always missing evolution mode doesn't matter.

Graphics: 8 of 10

The graphics contain much detail. The cars are maybe the most detailed textured cars I've seen on Saturn and the tracks are good, too.
But the framerate instead is not stable and very slow sometimes, even in this 60Hz version.

framerate & stability
That's the most (and only) bad thing about the game. Racing speed is high, but the framerate slows down very much in some situations.
drawing distance, pop-up
Drawing distance is OK, but it's not as far as in King Of The Spirits.
graphical detail, realism
Good. Cars are very detailed modelled and textured, the tracks got much different objects aside the road like fences, rocks with grass, cheering crowd.
drawing errors,
polygon clipping
Some polygon errors when the track comes close and some polygon distortion, too.
light effects
Gouraud shading is used, but no special light effects.
weather, night & day
further special effects On Saturn side, the cars cot a mirror when using inside view.
When driving the championship, the leading car got some cool highlight effects.

Sound: 8 of 10

As I mentioned before, the sound is fast and load, too. Really good tracks that fit good to the race action. No guitar stuff.

sound FX
Engine sound is realistic.  Would be cool if the environment would influence the sound like when driving in tunnels or besides the track.
voice samples

background music
Very good, no guitar glory like in Daytona CCE but some sort of electronic stuff with vocals of a woman which we know from other SEGA games. Sonic R for example.

Tracks: 8 of 10

First two tracks are Country Circuit and Grunwald Circuit which are relatively easy and much fun to drive. The Brick Wall Town track instead got some really difficult corners. With the internet events one or two more circuits can be unlocked on Saturn side, which are not that difficult.

number of tracks 3 + 2
licensed tracks
track types
round courses,  as far as I know there is no mirror or reverse driving mode.
track design Quite good, the extreme pace doesn't allow for tight courses like in NFS or King Of The Spirits. No hills or mountains, but always fun to drive.


Cars: 8 of 10

Now this game got licensed cars and a proto bonus car, too.
They look great!

number of cars 4+1
licensed cars ALFA Romeo 155V6TI
Toyota Supra GT
AMG Mercedes C-class
Opel Calibra V6
change car color Except for the Toyota, all cars got a second texture and color sceme.
tuneable Yes, on Saturn side. Stuff like gear ratio, handling, tires, front and back suspension and brake can be modified and saved to one of 4 slots.

Gameplay: 8 of 10

First playing the PAL version with a pad it was difficult to keep the car on track. Still in this version, driving with the pad makes reaction slow, since you have to steer very early in front of the corner.
The 3D analog pad support is excellent and is a must have to really enjoy this game.
Those net events in this japanese version are really welcome and well done, I think.
Unlike other arcade conversions, this game features a lot of good Saturn exclusive additions like a CPU AI which you can drive against and keep it going better and better, because it learns with every time you drive against it.
The slow framerate does lower the fun a little bit and driving a lot may stress your eyes.

racing modes
Arcade side and Saturn side both got the championship mode. The latter furthermore got 2 player battle against human or a self trained CPU AI, time attack and net events.
camera viewpoints
Only two while racing: inside(with mirror on Saturn side) or behind the car.
The replay adds some static TV cams and views looking at the car front and sides.
speed impression
racing simulation physics
Quite good drifting.
collision detection
replay recording
Yes, with some more camera views. No playback control or saving,
But the best-time replays are automatically saved for each track to a backup RAM cart, if you got one and enough space on it. Takes much space: 942 blocks each. The replays are used as ghost drivers.
(input) devices
Couldn't test arcade racer.
3D analog pad is perfectly supported.
If you got no arcade racer, you should at least get you a 3D analog pad.

Presentation: 7.5 of 10

The auto demo that is played is worth mentioning. In big letters the game title scrolls fast over the screen where you can see the demo through the text.
In championship mode between the races, there are cool 3D animations of your car driving out of the box and the music track can be changed, too.
The menus are well done and loading screens show some nice track specs.

Special features:

The NetLink feature is quite cool. At certain dates (which have already passed, or do we still got year 1998?) special net events unlock new tracks and allow to send your encoded highscore to the global internet highscore table. To do this, a browser is included.
But racing against each other via NetLink is not supported, as far as I know.

On Saturn side, the cars got mirrors to look back at the cars behind you.

Legal stuff:
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Copyright (c)2005 by The Rockin'-B