It's fun for a while, but it's too arcadelike for its own good, and it really only lends itself to short amounts of time spent playing.
Test Drive starts off as an impressive Xbox game. It has no pretenses, and it doesn't try to be anything other than what it is--a purely arcade-style racing game in the vein of Cruis'n USA and San Francisco Rush, meaning crashes are practically harmless and the laws of physics hardly apply. And it's fun for a while. The problem is that it's far too arcadelike for its own good, and it really only lends itself to short amounts of time spent playing. After a few races, you'll start to notice problems, the most obvious and detrimental of which is the terrible rubber band AI.
Like many racing games, Test Drive features a large number of great-looking real-world cars licensed from real-life car manufacturers. You start off with access to only a few, which can be selected to take part in the main mode of the game, the underground circuit. Those familiar with the movie The Fast and the Furious will remember that most of the races in the movie were for pink slips--the ownership of other cars. The same principle is used in the underground circuit of Test Drive. There are a number of races that take place in each city, though not all of them have you trying to win someone else's car. Placing in the top three will allow you to move on to the next race and, more often than not, unlock a new car. Frequently, you'll find yourself in a one-on-one race with an opponent. It's in these cases you will be racing for pinks, and amusingly enough, you'll actually get to keep your opponent's car if you win. That opponent will return in the next race, of course, but he'll be in a different car the next time around. There are also police officers and traffic involved in each race, which makes things more interesting.
In the underground mode, you'll assume the role of a character who's a bit down on his luck. Having been beaten out of the underground circuit, you'll find your saving grace in the form of another racer who needs your help. Due to an injury, he can't drive, but he's more than willing to back you with money and cars. Eager to return to the circuit, you accept. And that's all you really need to know about the story, if you even need to know that. There are other characters you develop a rivalry with, but they're really nothing more than stereotypical caricatures during the many cutscenes that fill the time between races. There's a surfer dude, a German millionaire, a blonde bimbo, and so on. They're actually quite annoying after a while, and you'll undoubtedly start skipping the overly long dialogue sequences after the third track or so, if not sooner.
There are a couple of other modes included in the game, including a quick race mode, a single race mode, and a head-to-head mode. All these modes use tracks and vehicles that are unlocked in the underground mode, so the further you progress in the underground circuit, the more extras can be found in the other modes. The single race has a bit more meat to it than the other modes, as it contains five different variations. There is a linear race, which is usually a longer track with a definitive start and finish. The drag race variation has you going head-to-head with an opponent as you try to beat each other in a standard quarter-mile stretch. The navigation challenge mode has you racing alone through a city at high speeds as directional arrows pop up at the last second before a turn. There's also a circuit race that's like the bulk of the underground mode in that there is a course with several laps. The most drastically different of the single race options is the cop chase, in which you assume the role of a police officer trying to bust all the racers before they finish the race.
- Player Reviews: 9
- Game Universe:
- Test Drive Le Mans (PS, PC, DC, GBC),
- Test Drive Cycles (PS, DC, PC, GBC),
- Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open (PS2, XBOX),
- Le Mans 24 Hours (PS2, PC),
- Test Drive (PS2, XBOX, C64, AMI, PC, ST),
- Test Drive: Eve of Destruction (XBOX, PS2),
- Test Drive 6 (PC, DC, PS, GBC),
- Test Drive: Off-Road 3 (PC, PS, DC),
- Test Drive 5 (PC, PS),
- Test Drive Unlimited (PS3, X360, PSP, PS2, PC)
- Number of Players: