Test Drive Unlimited Review

Aside from Pole Position, the Test Drive series is one of the first driving games created.  Created in 1987, it originally premiered on the Atari ST, PC, and Commodore 64, with versions for the Apple II and Amiga computer systems a year later.  Since then the Test Drive series has endured for almost 20 years, for better and for worse.

While the Test Drive series’ roots are firmly planted in the PC, it expanded to the console realm on the SNES and Genesis.  Test Drive branched out to the PlayStation and Dreamcast, and then finally the PlayStation2 and Xbox.  Test Drive was largely a single-player game, with only split-screen play available on the console versions.  With Test Drive Unlimited (TRU), Atari attempts to revamp the Test Drive series with a new emphasis on the multiplayer aspect of the game.  Test Drive Unlimited has been dubbed M.O.O.R. or Massively Open Online Racing.  Does Atari race to the finish line with this approach, or do they end up stuck on blocks in the garage?

The environments in TDU look great.  You couldn

TDU features a large number of vehicles, and different vehicles have different sounds to them.  Some vehicles have a lower rumble to them, while others have a higher hum.  When a vehicle is revving into gear, you can hear the vehicle’s engine really struggle to go to the next gear.

There aren

TDU follows a control scheme similar to other racers but includes some distinct differences.  Steering is controlled with the left analog stick, while the right analog stick looks to the sides and honks the car horn when pushed down.  The A button flashes the headlights or starts a challenge when stopped.  The B button shifts up while the Y button shifts down.  The X button uses the hand brake.  The right trigger accelerates the vehicle while the left trigger brakes.  The left bumper gives you a rear view, while the right bumper changes your driving view.

The D-pad is used for a number of car gadgets.  Pushing right brings up the map of Oahu.  From here you can see the different challenges and races.  Pressing up opens and closes the windows.  Pushing down zooms in and out of the GPS.  Pressing left brings up an auxiliary menu that includes items like the radio and the level of assisted driving you use.

At first, the controls take some getting used to.  TDU isn

TDU takes place on the island of Oahu, and Eden Games has done their homework.  When looking at the map of the island, it looks like something taken from a satellite photo instead of a generic landscape.  This map is an integral part of the game, as the map is used for more than just showing off the island.  The maps show the locations you have driven on, where challenges are, where you can purchase cars, and where your house is.  Also, if you have traveled to a specific place and need to go there again, you just have to point your cursor to that area and then you are instantly transported there.  You do want to explore the roads on the island, but if you want to get to a challenge quickly, this is a great way to get there.

Once you have an avatar, a car, and a place to live, you start driving.  In fact, if all you wanted to do was drive around on the island, you could do that.  It truly feels like Oahu has been completely recreated to scale.  However, the game wouldn

I haven

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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