Strap on your goggles and open the throttle -- Snowmobile Racing brings high-speed snowmobile racing to the PC. This new release from Second South Studios lets you rev up one of five different high-performance sleds and go screaming across the frozen wilderness. While its straightforward approach may not come up to the demanding standards of fans of top-end racing games like Need For Speed III, Snowmobile Racing does provide simple, easy-to-use controls and fast, fun gameplay.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
This is one of the easiest games to play that I’ve seen in a long time. The sled controls are simple enough for anyone to play, even younger kids. After selecting your sled and track, you take off for five laps around one of four tracks ranging from Iowa Farm Fields to a twisting race through Yellowstone Park. More tracks would have been nice, but the four available do provide a good balance of difficulty. There are five snowmobiles to choose from, including the ultimate snow racing machine -- the GOAT Highmark. There’s also a hidden sixth vehicle to race -- click on the small red ATV in the background of the sled selection screen to tear up the snow on four wheels. You can opt to race alone or race against four computer opponents. At the hardest setting, even experienced racers will find it challenging to beat the computer racers around the more difficult tracks.
While the game does provide lots of enjoyable racing fun, it would have been much better with a couple of additions. There’s no support for joysticks or gamepads (although Second South is promising a patch to add support soon) and there’s no support for multiplayer racing.
Graphics & Audio
Snowmobile Racing is targeted more toward gamers who may not have top-of-the-line systems, but even on older hardware the game looks great. Snow flies up from the rear of the sleds, the rider animations are smooth, and the landscape is detailed. If you do have a 3D accelerator, the game takes full advantage of it, allowing even higher resolutions. The audio is also well-done. From the engine noises to the scraping of your sled slipping on the ice to the thumps and grunts as you bump into other racers, the effects are all well-done, providing a realistic atmosphere.
Windows 95 or Windows 98, Pentium 90, 2X CD-ROM drive
Snowmobile Racing is not designed to be a high-end, super-accurate racing simulation. Instead, it is presented as a fun arcade racer that will keep you going back to the snow for more. Its simple interface makes it great for younger kids and new gamers, but it still provides a challenge for more experienced players. While it could stand to have a few improvements like multiplayer support and more tracks, it is a lot of fun to play out of the box and one of the best choices I’ve seen in the new crop of lower-cost games.