Test Drive Le Mans is quite simply the best racing game for the Dreamcast. While it may not be the simulator like Sega GT or the pure arcade racer like Daytona USA, the gameplay and graphics of Le Mans put it leaps and bounds ahead of the pack. The first thing that should be said of TD: Le Mans is of the graphics. They use every ounce of power the Dreamcast can provide. While you're not going to get GT3 polish here, this game looks beautiful. The tracks are great, with many off road additions that give depth and realism to the race. You'll see houses, ferris wheels and the obligitory racing pits and stands. The amount of cars on screen is amazing, you'll have races with 24 cars in competition and you can have almost half of that onscreen at the same time jostling for position. Replays of the night races are sweet with some great headlight effects on the cars. The cars of Le Mans look very nice as well. While the total number of models available isn't staggering, the cars you have all look very realistic and have all the reflections that you'd expect. But perhaps the best graphical feature of the game is the weather affects during races. The weather in Le Mans is the best I've ever seen, and to this day I've yet to play a racing game that does a better job of weather and time changes. During the longer Le Mans races, the weather will go from foggy to rainy to clear and sunny, each with a distinct and reaslistic feel. During rainy portions the splash off the tires, the wetness on the road, all of these subtle effects really add to the experience. The transitions from each don't feel rushed either, the timing is perfect and really makes it seem like you're racing through a clearing storm. Also, the transitions from morning to afternoon to night are beautiful to see with each fading very naturally. The weather isn't just for looks either. It has a noticable affect on how your car handles through each type of weather. Gameplay may be the one weakness for Le Mans. While all of the handling is very realistic and you have to pay attention to tire wear to keep your car in top shape, there is a fair bit of repetitiveness in the game. Once you blow through the few courses it has to offer and start racing the different lengths of the Le Mans race, you'll quickly find this is really about all the game boils down to. I'm a nut for this game, so I've actually played the 24 hour Le Mans race all the way through (saving at key points of course) but this is really the majority of the game. Any experienced driver will be running laps around the competition in pretty much any of the available cars. This would be my one gripe with the game, the challenge at about the midpoint of the game just goes downhill. Overall, Le Mans is an extremely satifying racing game and is guaranteed to provide hours of racing enjoyment. And how many games can say they have a single race that lasts 24 hours? How cool is that!
The Dreamcast is a console that garnered so little attention. The Americans weren't happy with the Saturn being a flop and those who bought it didn't like that Sega was announcing a new console so soon. The Japanese didn... Read Full Review