The evolution of the PC racing genre rolls ever onward with the likes of Carmageddon II, Need For Speed III and Rollcage scooping accolades left right and centre. Then along comes something like this - Super Controlled Animal Racing System, or SCARS to you and me - a veritable retro racing experience gone wrong.
SCARS, from Ubi Soft and developers Vivid Image, is a console-like racing/combat game that falls flat on its face for a number of different reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, the weapons and power-ups are rubbish. Rockets, magnets, barriers and mines - all the usual kiddie stuff. Yes they are unoriginal, and yes they are bloody annoying when used against you in the middle of a race. Playing from scratch, you soon find that a typical race degenerates into something of a war of attrition as you end up recovering from constant knock-backs shot at you from the opposition at what seems like every comer of the race.
Nintendo got this sort of thing right in their racing games, but in S.C.A.R.S. the weapons side of things just gets in the way. Having said that, if you turn the weapons off and concentrate on the racing, you soon notice that the car handling is pretty sweet and the view is pretty cool. But... then you get bored, because four laps a race is the minimum, and therefore too long.
The courses look nice enough, are well-textured and colourfully lit, but sometimes prove impossible to navigate at high speeds. The fact that the invisible wall surrounding the track acts like flypaper when you brush it also adds to the latent claustrophobia.
Okay, so you pretty much get everything you'd expect to find in an arcade racing game - two-player split-screen (plus network stuff); Grand Prix, Challenge and Time Trial modes; five cars to start with, four more to unlock; slick, rocking/pumping soundtrack; wonderfully 'wacky', themed courses; and all the usual gubbins - but the overriding factor here is that SCARS'ts not worth recommending because there are far better driving games around so hey, why not play one of those instead...
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
2019-01-08 S.C.A.R.S. game added.