January 11, 2001
Racing is a very tough market to break into on the Dreamcast. There is already almost two dozen racing games on the system and it really takes something very special to stand out from the crowd. Fortunately Vanishing Point may be on the right track. The game includes car manufacturers such as Lotus, Aston-Martin, BMW, Alfa-Romeo, Ford, Audi among others. Add in one of the most realistic physics engines ever and this is one game to take a serious look at.
Vanishing Point is a driving simulation at it's heart. The cars are all authentically represented and include some of the most realistic car models and track designs ever seen in a video game. They may not be as detailed as Metropolis: Street Racer but they aren't in the weaker pool of game graphics on the system. With varying weather conditions, special effects such as smoke and reflections and such a wide range of cars this game is a joy to watch.
One of the most impressive, and potentially time-consuming, areas of the game is the Stunt Challenge mode. This mode has you performing a series of stunts to complete tasks. With airborne acrobatics a plenty this should provide more then a few thrills and spills.
The developers, little known Clockwork Games, are boasting that the game includes a huge draw distance with no scenery pop-up at all. Apparently this is how they came up with the name Vanishing Point. Hopefully this promise turns out to be true as so many other developers have promised this but failed miserably in the final products. This game also incorporates an real-time particle system for sparks, smoke, and skid marks and everything is polished off with dynamic lighting.
After playing the woeful Spirit of Speed 1937 which was published by Acclaim (developed by LJN however) I can't help feeling a little wary about this game. But in speaking with people who have played early builds they have assured me that this is one game to keep an eye on, fortunately for all the right reasons. Expect an Australian release in early 2001.