|Thinking back to when the original Test Drive was released
brings back a rush of good memories. I was in elementary school when TD came out. I can
remember sitting in front of the television with my Commodore 64 by my side, playing the
original Test Drive for hours on end. Racing down long windy roads in my Porsche was just
the greatest feeling for me at that age (seeing that I really didnt own a car, let
alone a Porsche, or in fact didnt even have a drivers license). Fast, exotic
sports cars like Ferrari and Porsche were present in the game, and cops were also
incorporated in the original TD game to help stop speeding drivers and frustrate to
others. In fact, though most think that the Need for Speed series was the first racing
game to use cops and exotic sports cars, theyre wrong. Test Drive beat them out by
quite a few years
Test Drive 5s best feature is its graphics. It improves from the previous years version in many ways, from the new racing locales to the cars themselves. For example, reflections on the cars look very convincing--lights in tunnels reflect and bounce over every little bend and crease in the cars outlines, and sunlight shines and sparkles as well. Most objects in this game have very good detail, too. However, one thing that bothered me was the lack of detail in the traffic you encounter; these cars are blocky and have very little detail to them. If you view the replay after you finish a race, be prepared to laugh at how flat the cars look. It just doesnt have the graphic flair that Gran Turismos replay does. Other than that, the graphics are pretty good, and a major improvement over TD 4.
The sound department also shines in this game. Sound effects are done in your typical racing fashion. Striking a guard rail at over 100mph cause a distinctive metal to metal grinding sound. Engines rev and change tone in response to how much your finger is on the throttle. Sometimes, though, the sound effects cut out at the most inopportune time. For example, after big accidents engine noise sometimes just disappears. This causes trouble because you cant tell when to shift by listening to the sound of the engine, and must rely on your tachometer instead, which defeats the purpose of having engine sound anyway. Though the sound effects are good, there hasnt been much change in the sound since last years game. The music is also excellent for a racing game. It is fast and hard. Accolade hired some well known bands to play on this game, like Gravity Kills, KDFM, Pitchshifter.
TD 5 controls a little better than the earlier versions. The cars have a less floaty feel than TD 4 did, even though sometimes during a game youll think everything is going fine only to the next minute your car is out of control and facing in the opposite direction. You just have to be on your toes and be ready for anything weird to happen. And weird things do happen often. The computer controlled cars like to spin your car out any time they can. They also like to have accidents right in front of your car, often causing you to crash. These things happen all too often and can become frustrating. So if you dont like a little frustration in your life, I would say skip playing this game.
Overall, Test Drive 5 is a very good game. It plays fast and has a bunch of cool cars from yesteryear to choose from. Little things like sounds that stop working and a frustration level that keeps you on your toes do take away that perfect feel that this game could have had, but I highly recommend this game to anyone who loves racing and enjoys cool older cars.