Sega Touring Car Championship
Sega's latest arcade-to-home racing port isn't even 80 percent complete yet, and already it's looking much better than last year's disappointing Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition. Touring Car Championship has come a long way since E3, and if it keeps moving at this pace, it may end up being the best Sega Saturn racer yet.
Touring Car Championship, released in arcades in 1996, is sort of a mix between Sega Rally and Daytona USA, Sega's two most popular racers. The look and feel of the cars are a bit more like Rally, but the overall sensation of speed surpasses even that of Daytona. In fact, that's the first thing immediately recognizable about Touring Car--the speed. The game moves along at an insanely fast rate, and it never seems to experience breakup or slowdown. The control is definitely a lot harder to get used to than previous Sega racers, but that's the nature of Touring Car--it's meant to be realistic. And with realism comes difficulty as well. The computer-controlled cars are no pushovers, and the timer isn't very forgiving; mess up one too many times and you'll find yourself retiring early because you couldn't make the next checkpoint.
There are two "Sides" of play in Touring Car: Arcade Side and Saturn Side. The Arcade Side is exactly like the arcade game, but you can choose your difficulty level and number of laps per race. The all-new Saturn Side adds two-player split-screen racing, the ability to turn off Damage and Boost Options, and an option called A.I. DATA that wasn't yet functional in our preview copy. In addition, you can customize any of the four available cars to your liking; Gear Ratio, Handling, Tires, Front and Rear Suspension and Brakes can all be modified and then saved to the Saturn's backup memory for use during play (in Saturn Side only).
Currently there are four playable tracks in the One-player Mode and two in Two-player Mode, but it's uncertain as to whether or not there will be more than that in the final version. Even if there isn't, Touring Car still has the potential to be a big hit with racing fans when it hits store shelves in November, and those who were disappointed with Daytona CCE (like me) will most likely be very happy when they get their hands on it.
MANUFACTURER - Sega Enterprises, Ltd.
THEME - Racing
NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
Download Sega Touring Car Championship
PC compatible, P-200
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode Multiplayer (Hotseat)
In the arcade, Sega Touring Car has a reputation as one of toughest racing games ever. Now although it's much easier to shave those precious milliseconds off your time when you don't have to pay a buck per play, the Saturn version is still one of the more challenging racing games in recent memory. If ever there was a driving game of millimeters, STC is it. Unless you hit every turn just right and accelerate just so, moving on to the next track is just a pipe dream. Because the margin of error is so small on each track and the demands are so great, only the utmost intensity and concentration will cut the mustard. I feel as though I need a pep talk and some cheerleaders whenever I play this game. As a two-player game, my spirits lifted as I discovered that I didn't suck at games; everybody struggles with this one at first. Part of the problem is that STC plays much better with the analog controller than the standard six-button pad. The other problem is that the hyper-sensitive control is difficult to come to grips with and the last problem is that Sega designed this game to be tough as nails. The developers went to great pains to insure this game accurately simulates the driving physics of the European Touring Car racers. They succeeded with that but somebody forgot about the gamers. This game is too hardcore even for me and that's scary.
This arcade port may not be much to look at (the textures are blocky and bland), but it's got it where it counts. Control in STC is pretty good--especially if you have Sega's 3D Pad--but you'll do a lot of slidin' around until you get used to it. And the Two-player Mode is just as fast as single player. I do wish it packed more than three circuits, but there are secret tracks and events tied to the time in your Saturn's internal clock.
Was there anyone not excited about this game? Think about it: The home Daytona was decent, Rally was leagues better, so Touring Car should've been awesome, right? Not really. It certainly looks nice and is one of the fastest home racing games around. The shoddy control, however, makes you forget ail of that. Don't bother playing this without an analog pad. The home game also needs many more tracks, direct translation or not.
Touring Car may not be as good of a home port as Sega Rally was, but it sure comes close. The sensation of speed is amazing (although the frame rate certainly suffers in exchange), and the control (particularly with the Analog Pad) is sweet. I like the whole aggressive nature of the game (awesome fast-paced music, super-fast gameplay, etc.), and overall it's just a fun game to play. A great rebound after the painfully weak Daytona CCE.