July 19, 2000

Spirit of Speed - Review

Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating RRP
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Think about the Dreamcast. Think of the first racing game on the system, Sega Rally. No wait. Think about the Playstation's first game, Ridge Racer. No that's not right. Go back to the Megadrive and Monaco GP2. Ahh now thats a game that Spirit Of Speed may be better then, graphically at least. To put it bluntly Spirit of Speed 1937 is the worst game on the Dreamcast and one of the worst racing games for years.

Spirit of Speed 1937 is a racing game set, not surprisingly, in 1937. The cars are all reminiscent of the era and include such classics as Alfa Romeo P3, 12C, Bimotore and Bugatti35B and 59. The game also include 9 different racing circuits including the legendary Donnington in England and Monza in Italy. Of course being a racing game in this era means that the cars travel a lot slower and the tracks represent this.

Unfortunately, somebody forgot to tell LJN that the main aim of video games is to entertain people when they are bored. What you may not realise is that unless you live on your own, you may upset the other family members. You see, Spirit of Speed 1937 is a single player game. That's right there is no 2 player option at all. To add insult to injury the load times in this game horrible with pauses of over 30 seconds between menus and races. Obviously the developers haven't spent any time optimising the files on the CD to reduce load times.

The only thing that can be said about this game graphically is that it's crap. You can count the number of frames per second on your hands. The backgrounds are jerky and the surroundings are poorly drawn sprites. Even though your cars are travelling at around 120mph (200km/h), the game is so sluggish and slow that the sense of speed is dissolved into almost nothing. Steering the cars is nearly impossible and while it may represent the difficulty of the real cars it usually results in you heading straight into barriers or spinning uncontrollably on almost every corner.

Sound in Spirit of Speed 1937 can only be described as poor. The music is average in the intro, but seems to get worse throughout the game. Sound effects are inconsistant and have little relevance to the real world. Did the developers of this title even go outside?

The review to this point has been a little short from glowing but surprisingly there are a couple of redeeming features. The number of options is adequate. Spirit of Speed 1937 has several game modes including Quick Race, Single Race, Championship and Scenarios. The game includes 9 different tracks from around the world and fairly decent replications of the cars. The other major plus is that there aren't many racing games set in the pioneering days.

Still, this game would make a great present for your worst enemy, or a great drink coaster. A game like this is inexcusable and just why it even passed Sega's internal testing is beyond comprehension. If you are looking for a solid racing game you can't go wrong with the awesome Ferarri F355 Challenge which is due out in a month or the awesome Speed Devils. Steer well clear of this one.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall