If you're looking to relive the fun of a Destruction Derby-style racing game with a bit more focus on the actual racing, or if you want to take the sporty Ford Fiesta for a few laps around the track, TOCA 2 is for you.
From the very first second of the prerendered intro movie, TOCA 2 seems to start boasting about the only thing it has going for it - cars that fall apart when you knock them together. There are tons of racing games on the market, most of them better than this one, but the TOCA series seems to be one of the few racers where your car actually loses miscellaneous body parts when you T-bone another racer. However, this one shining point is not enough to carry the rest of the game.
At first glance, TOCA 2 looks like your standard Gran Turismo-inspired racer with a mix of Destruction Derby tossed in. But on further examination you'll notice that TOCA 2 isn't exactly on the same level of either game. The game only boasts ten selectable cars, including the oh-so-super-sleek Ford Fiesta, and five hidden cars. The track design doesn't really bring much variety to the game, as TOCA 2 only has a total of ten raceways, most of which are extremely similar. You can change a few options, like the weather and the position of your rearview mirror, and TOCA 2 plays around with a few car-customizing options like tire type and car height, but don't expect anything anywhere near the number of tweakable options included in F1 or NASCAR racers.
The graphics are nice, as long as you're pretty close to whatever you're looking at. The car models are similar to those in Gran Turismo, except without nearly as much lighting effects. And unfortunately, once things are more than 30 feet away they blur into an ugly blob of pixels, making you wonder if you've suddenly gone nearsighted. Definitely the coolest feature of the game is the awesome in-car view, which, if you've knocked into something, will show your jagged and broken windshield. Unfortunately, this isn't all that realistic, as the safety glass used in all modern car applications doesn't shatter - instead, the windshield will crack and then pop out of the frame entirely, all in one piece.
There's not much to say about the audio in the game. The intro and menu music sounds like a 12" single of a techno-inspired lounge melody, and there's absolutely no ingame music. Instead, you get to hear the annoying whine of your engine and an unrealistic scratchy sound when you run off the track.
About the only thing that may save TOCA 2 from bargain bins is the gameplay. Fortunately, it's realistic enough on the track to keep the racing bearable. Your cars will corner fairly realistically, pitching to the side to show stress on tight turns, or leaning forward when the brakes are slammed. Crashes are somewhat random - most of the physics involved when you hit something are right on the money, but there are a few - like when your car spins in midair after a direct head-on - that make you wonder what's going on.
If you're looking to relive the fun of a Destruction Derby-style racing game with a bit more focus on the actual racing, or if you want to take the sporty Ford Fiesta for a few laps around the track, TOCA 2 is for you. Just don't expect a racer on the same level of the games that inspired it.