June 26, 1999
Yet another racing game for the Dreamcast. Does it ever stop? Well probably not, but this game stands out from the rest for a couple of reasons. Firstly the game has some stunning visuals. Reproducing a race that lasts for 24 hours means that the races take place during day and night and usually include the varying weather conditions during an entire day. The other interesting fact is that this game has been developed by Melbourne House, one of Australia’s biggest and most respected developers, and it's their first game on Dreamcast.
LeMans 24 Hours is the officially licensed game of the 24 Heures du Mans which includes the world-famous LeMans circuit as well as 9 other ACO approved tracks. The developers have included 40 incredibly detailed cars with up to 24 on the track during each race. The developers have included 2 competition classes: GT and Prototype. Le Mans also includes 5 different game modes such as Time Trial, Quick Race, Le Mans, Championship and Multiplayer for 4 players simultaneously.
But how do you simulate a 24 hour race in a game? Almost no one would sit in a chair for 24 hours to complete the game so the developers have included a compressed time option so the game lasts only a fraction of the real event, but during the game you still get the 24 hours experience of daylight, night-time, and daylight driving as well as variable weather conditions.
With reports of the game throwing around some 5 million polygons per second and 20 cars on screen at once there were some doubt that LeMans could hold a steady frame rate. But it's not the case. The game runs at a rock solid 30fps and has more graphical effects then most other racing games put together. This is no small accomplishment and Melbourne House can hold their heads high with the resulting game. As expected LeMans includes many graphical effects such as reflections off the cars, smoke, tire tracks, and even flying grass should cars stray off course.
Those who doubt the amount of game development talent here in Australia need look no further then LeMans. Not only is it one of the most visually impressive games on the Dreamcast, but it maintains a rock solid frame rate and has enough gameplay to keep you satisfied for days, if not weeks. Melbourne House have continued their gaming tradition in fine style with LeMans 24 Hours and hopefully their other Christmas 2000 release, Looney Tunes Space Race is equally impressive. I beg you to check this game out immediatly, especially with Ferrari F355 Challenge now on permanent hold in Australia.