Virtua Racing Deluxe 32X
So you loved the arcade Virtua Racing, you played the Genesis version and wondered why it cost so much, and now you're not sure about the 32X game? Relax, racers, just slip into one of VR Deluxe's three different types of race cars, hit the new tracks, and enjoy some of the best racing ever found on a home system.
VR: Vroom Racing
The biggest problem with the Genesis VR was its limited replay value. It was fast and fun, but because it had only three tracks and the usual Formula car, you soon ran out of thrills. With its $100 price tag, VR wasn't a must-own -- it was a must-rent.
- Follow the skidmarks to find the best racing line.
- Drafting still works, but pass on the outside so you have more room to maneuver.
Virtua Racing Deluxe has solved those problems. First off, it's $30 cheaper. Second, you can race in one of three cars (the standard Formula racer, a Stock car, and a sleek Prototype), and you race on five main tracks (two of which are new -- Sand Park and Highland). The combination of new cars and new tracks makes this Virtua Racing virtually unique.
Vroom with a View
This game is simply better; you'll play it much longer than last year's Genesis version. For starters, it's much faster and more responsive. The cars really rocket along, especially when you're driving with the intense cockpit view. Fortunately, the controls are excellent, so the cars react quickly and precisely to your button presses.
The best control feature is the on-the-fly view- switching. As in past versions, VRD enables you to control your view without pausing. You can move from a high-aerial view down to a low-aerial view, and then you can zoom in behind your car and jump right into the cockpit. What's more, when you're in the VR Deluxe cockpit, the view looks different from each car (in the Prototype vehicle, the steering wheel is on the right!). In two- player split-screen racing, each driver can even change their view independently. The great view-selection feature has always been a terrific hallmark of the game, and now it's better than ever.
The graphics, which were already excellent, have also improved. The large, sharply defined, polygon cars now generate more sparks, more fire, and more smoke (you get flips and spins, but still no wild crashes). Better still are the truly eye-popping backgrounds. Huge, beautifully textured mountain ranges loom in front of you, and detailed forests surround you. This is a good game to watch over someone's shoulder.
The sounds, which were the weakest part of the Genesis game, are somewhat stronger here. You now get the full theme song throughout the race, rather than just in brief snippets. The use of the announcer's voice is still pretty minimal, though, and she still just calls out various time checks. Sound effects, such as screeching tires and banging collisions, were pumped up, but they won't win any awards. Ultimately, it's a game to see, not hear.
So is VRD the perfect racing game? It's close, but it still doesn't have the overwhelming challenge that assures months of good game play. Some 16-bit racing games have more than two dozen tracks and more ways to customize your car than VR offers. And four-player simultaneous racing is not unheard of. Plus, VR still doesn't have a way for you to save your times, so you always start from scratch in comparison to the leader board.
But you might forget these factors when you're jetting along in an intense two-player race, performing accurate driving techniques and quickly weaving through traffic like Mario Andretti. Without a doubt, Virtua Racing Deluxe generates deluxe thrills.
Take advantage of forks in the mail; you can use them to overtake the competition.