posted 7/19/2004 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
The various tracks though are what make Trackmania so fun to play and there’s some really unique tracks that come with the game. Going through the racing portion, you won’t just go through straight point A to point B races as you’ll come across ones with multiple paths and there’s even one that’s built like a parking garage with multiple levels and large support poles that stand in your way. This race makes you control your speed more and is a little more intense as the tight spaces and tight corners always has you on your toes. Your car will also react differently on different track surfaces. For example, once you hit an ice patch, you’ll be going in the direction you hit it and will be at its mercy until you hit a drivable road. While there are only three environments, they do offer a little something different in each one.

Graphically, the game isn’t outstanding but does stand up well. The cars are modeled well and each track environment has some good looks. With the cars, you’ll see nice little touches such as doors flipping open on tight turns when you’ve banged your car up a bit. There’s no real physical damage modeled though and that’s a little disappointing. The loops and twists are impressive to see from a distance and make the tracks very impressive visually. Elaborate track designs will look stunning though and driving through you’ll be treated to some nice visuals. When you’re going top speed from a very high jump to an underground tunnel into a corkscrew, you’ll be thrilled at the quick changing track.

Trackmania’s editor isn’t bad but I would’ve liked to have seen a little more polished GUI. You can edit pre-built tracks or go out on your own and create some really crazy ones. With a little imagination, you can design some really outlandish tracks with the pieces available to you. Controls are pretty simple with point and click getting you by most of what you need to do. You’ll get around using a combination of keyboard and mouse controls. It’s not hard to create tracks and you can really get wild with what you want to put in there, but I still would’ve liked to seen the GUI be a little more user friendly.

Playing the game online, I found the action and driving to be very smooth and that’s playing with servers in England. When I was reviewing the game, I didn’t find any US servers to play on but a few servers overseas. The game’s very enjoyable online and I did like to race against other human opponents. Seeing four cars fly through the air ahead of you as each land in a different position is a pretty cool sight. I did experience some clipping issues such as a car being sunk into the track halfway while it's racing around though. It's a minor issue since there's no collision anyways, but can be visually annoying.

For a price of $30, this game’s a steal. It’s very fun to play and offers great online action along with plenty of tracks to play with in game or downloadable off the net. Several shortcomings like ghost only mode, no damage, and average graphical user interface keep this title from being an editor’s choice. There's also a lack of force feedback as my Logitech MOMO wheel didn't budge when hitting walls or landing from jumps. I couldn't see any option to turn this feature on in the game either. Even so, the game’s great for stunt car fans and you’ll get plenty of enjoyment for a very low price. And it’s worth every penny at such a low price.

A fun racing game that's nicely priced. A nice community is being built up offering leagues and tracks.

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