Hands-on: Sega GT

We've got our hands-on impressions of Sega GT: Homologation Special for the Dreamcast.

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Sega's Gran Turismo "killer," Sega GT, is out in Japan as of tomorrow, February 17. However, we have it now and have had a chance to take it for a road test to see what Sega's killer weapon is all about. From the get-go, it seems as if the cars in Sega GT are easier to control than in Gran Turismo, although the steering and braking aren't nearly as arcade-like as the Ridge Racer series. Still, unlike the early build of Square's own Driving Emotion Type-S, you don't spend your entire race spinning around in uncontrollable circles either. The game, which, according to various online reports, has questionable control, actually handles well. The game isn't exactly a pick-up-and-play racer, as it requires more finesse than, say, Need for Speed, but patient gamers will be well rewarded by the control.

Essentially a driving game (as opposed to a "racing game") simulation, Sega GT runs at a smooth 30 frames per second. While Dreamcast owners may scream at the thought of any game running at anything but 60fps, the visual effect is excellent, unlike the herky-jerky Sega Rally 2.Visually, the game is a subtle delight. Whereas Gran Turismo 2 was a gratuitously shiny parade of specular highlighting effects, Sega keeps it realistic with graphics that, like real, are alternately underwhelming and spectacular. Car models look great and the environments are all well modeled. The only niggling details are in the front end of the game, where, for example, when picking a car, you select the car name and then press the button and then wait as the car's picture loads up. It would have been much nicer to see the car pop up as you select the make and model. From the two extensive manuals that came packed in with the game, you'll soon find that Sega GT offers a boatload of customizing and tuning options. Grease monkeys who really enjoy tinkering with car settings to get the feel "just right" will dig what Sega's put into the game. While we haven't really played it enough to see if it equals GT2's extensive customization options, Dreamcast owners won't be feeling shortchanged anytime soon.

We'll have a full review of Sega's late, great, touring car hope, but in the meantime, check out the screens of the game in action.

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