4x4 Off-Road Racing

a game by Epyx, Inc.
Genre: Racing
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
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Of course, ripping down a California highway in a Ferrari or a Porsche isn't everyone's driving fantasy. Another is off-road racing. You don't use fancy cars for this. Instead, you take the rig of your choice and challenge some of the roughest roads you've ever seen. And you don't have a repair crew waiting for you, either. You make most of the repairs yourself, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

4x4 Off-Road Racing, from Epyx, includes four courses. The Baja Challenge gives you 1,000 very difficult miles ranging from desert to dried-up lake beds. The Death Valley Trek is, of course, parching desert. The Georgia Mud Fest gives you mud and rocks, and the Michigan Winter Wreck-Off lets you race in the ice and mud of winter. Each course makes different demands on your rig, and each requires a different style of driving.

There are four levels of difficulty. Start with Beginner, because all you have to do is drive and make repairs. When you choose the Amateur level or higher, you must customize your rig before racing. On the Semi-Pro level, the obstacles are constant; on the Professional level, they're practically insurmountable.

You start by choosing your rig. The Storm trooper is durable, heavy, and fairly slow, while the Tarantula is faster and lighter. Less durable but faster still is the Highlander, and the Katana is very quick, but not always tough enough for the inexperienced driver.

Except on the Beginner level, your next step is to buy auto parts. Two shops are available: the Custom Shop and the Auto Mart. In the Custom Shop, you can buy a winch (to haul yourself out of bogs), a larger gas tank, a cap for your rig (which lets you carry more stuff), and standard, mudder, or all-terrain tires. You have a limited amount of money and carrying capacity, and you still have to visit the Auto Mart, so plan carefully which parts to buy.

The Auto Mart has lots of special items. Water is free, but it takes up capacity. Oil is necessary, as in real life. You'll need lots of coolant in the desert, less on the Michigan course. Then there's transmission fluid, an extra battery, spare parts, spare tires, cans of gasoline (you always run out), maps, flashlights, and tools. You can even buy a six-pack of beer if you wish, and you can hire a mechanic to speed up your repairs. What you buy depends on the course, your driving abilities, and your overall Strategy-Next, it's off to the course. Driving is easy, but avoiding the logs, rocks, and animal skulls on the road isn't. Hit a rock and you'll damage your truck. Hit a log and you might damage the transmission. Oil leaks are possible, as are general breakdowns. In other words, anything that can go wrong with a real rig can go wrong here, and you must have the tools and often). There, if you can afford the time, all repairs are free. In the meantime, you'll have to repair as you go, and your makeshift repairs may affect your rig's endurance. You have three "lives." If you lose your third rig, or simply run completely out of gas, the race is over.

Sure, it's all fantasy. Few of us will ever drive a Lamborghini or compete in an off-road race. So the next time you need a break, boot up your PC and drive away from it all.

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