Ocean's Multi-Racing Championship was a complete disappointment. Dull, lifeless, and slow as hell, it took the racing out of racing. Ocean has learned from some of its mistakes, and the result is GT 64. It isn't exactly dull or lifeless, but it's no F-1 World Grand Prix either.
With nothing lacking in the options department, GT 64 features all the tweaks we've come to expect from next-generation racing. Decrease tire hardness for extra grip at the expense of durability. Change gear ratios and front and rear spoilers. Set front and rear suspension from loose, for better traction, to tight, for better acceleration. Game options include six tracks (actually three with a long and short version of each) and three modes of play: time trial, championship, and battle mode - but don't get your hopes up, that's just a fancy name for a one-on-one race.
Control lands GT 64 somewhere between the racing sims and arcade racers of the world. Not the most realistic, yet no Automobili Lamborghini either, GT 64 is difficult to master. Control is loose, and oversteering is the rule of the day. In fact, one has to wonder why Infogrames built all the usual car setup tweaks into the game, because when all is said and done, power sliding is the only way most players are ever going to get around those corners without slowing to a crawl. And power sliding is, again, incredibly tough to master. Is it really worth all the work?
Graphically, GT 64 is pretty average. Though it doesn't slow down as severely as Automobili Lamborghini, it also has none of that game's visual smoothness. Unlike many of its N64 peers, GT 64 doesn't bury pop-up problems with heaps of superfluous fog effects, but it isn't the crispest looking racer either. Courses are short on details. Distant objects - including important ones, like approaching curves - tend to be more vague than actually out of focus but are nonetheless difficult to discern. As a result, you've either got to memorize each track or keep one eye glued to the onscreen map, or you're just going to miss those turns. The bottom line is that the game just doesn't feel fast. Neither the track - whose surface isn't particularly familiar looking, let alone blistering or blindingly fast - nor the surrounding objects create anything close to an illusion of real speed. For what it's worth, the backs of the cars look great.
GT 64 is by no means a bad racing game. It offers challenging racing with all the usual options over a fair number of tracks. It looks all right, and it's tough enough to master that even the most jaded of veterans won't get bored too fast. Unfortunately it offers nothing that hasn't been covered before, making it more worthy of a rental than a purchase. With competition like F-1 World Grand Prix and innovative new genre hybrids like Grand Theft Auto for the PlayStation, games like GT 64 feel like anachronisms.