previews\ Sep 5, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Dirt Track Racing 2 - PC - Preview

Slipping, sliding, then gunning the engine in an attempt to hold the track ­ those are some of the elements that come into play in Dirt Track Racing 2.

The preview seen by GameZone of the PC game comes from Ratbag and Infogrames. Sporting excellent graphics, and solid race dynamics, this is a game that will challenge and delight race fans.

The game also has a terrific options package. Powered by Ratbag’s Difference Engine, you can play the game in arcade mode, or take the challenge of managing almost every aspect of the racing season in the career mode. Should you choose the latter, you can purchase new vehicles and modify them for racing by adjusting springs, shocks, tire pressure, and other aspects of the vehicle’s performance.

Other game features include 14 different tracks, lighting and particle debris effects, force feedback to feel the crunch of metal on metal (or retaining wall), three classes of cars (pro stock, late models and modifieds), DirectSound support so you can hear everything associated with this style of racing plus reactive race commentary, and interactive environments (the track will actually develop grooves).

Graphically, this game is very good. The dynamic lighting really helps the feel of the game, and the way the track reacts will challenge any race fan. There is a bit of a problem with the way the car responds, one that has fed over from other similar games. The engine, after coming off a corner and putting the pedal to the metal has a tendency to burp or sputter, and shoot flames out the tailpipes of the dual exhaust. You won’t see that very often in the real dirt track racing world.

The game supports a variety of controls, and this is one of those games where if you have a wheel, you will want to use it. If you don’t have a wheel, you may consider buying one. The racetracks themselves are all dirt surface and are ovals, D-ovals, tri-ovals, egg-shaped and figure 8 (with the possibility of terrific collisions).

This game will allow multiplayer options over the Internet or LAN.

Dirt Track Racing 2 is solid and enjoyable racing action that looks good and plays well. This is a game that will appeal to anyone who likes driving programs that require a certain amount of skill. And even if you don’t know a lot about car set-ups, the game will ease you through that aspect of the program.

The game’s challenges are inherent in the nature of the sport. Sliding around corners while maintaining your race position is tough, but then if it was a piece of cake, anyone could do it. That’s why the sport features pros ­ although, just for a moment, and thanks to games like this, it is fun to sit behind the wheel and give it a shot.

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