Windows - 2000
Also available on: Mac
Description of 4x4 Evo Windows
Terminal Reality brought the seriously fun and successful Monster Truck Madness to 4-wheeling enthusiasts via Microsoft. Since then, Terminal Reality has moseyed over to GOD Games. It only makes sense then that Terminal Reality would follow up one successful title with an ambitious project of similar design. They almost pulled it off. In many ways 4x4 Evo breaks new ground in off-road racing - especially compared with the competition (Accolade's Test Drive: Off-Road series ranks among the worst series of games ever).
Technically, 4x4 Evo delivers a one-two-three punch of outstanding graphics, integrated online play and complex career-mode elements. With the visual detail turned to maximum (in my case, 1600x1200, 32-bit color with Mip-mapping) the game delivers visual richness far exceeding today's standards. The SUVs, trucks and other vehicles reek of detail and color while the terrain rolls and buckles with realistic earth tones. Visual minutiae add character and life to the standard fare of ovals and large figure-8 tracks. Still, the designers left out the option of driver's side view with steering wheel, A-beam, instruments and most importantly, a rear-view mirror (essential for online play).
Interactive elements, such as earth-moving bulldozers, heavy lifting cranes and fast-moving trains add variety and random hazards during each race. The skies above the race flaunt (quite needlessly) airborne hang-gliders, airplanes and birds. This is a nice touch but entirely unnecessary. Still, the richness of each track conveys a feel and flavor unique to each track. There will be no mistaking one track for another.
4x4 Evo boasts one the most complex career modes available. Though Ford, GM, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Lexus and Nissan are represented, the foolhardy claim of "over 70+ vehicles" doesn't hold water. In truth, there is little difference between the Ford Explorer Sport and the Ford Explorer Limited. Hell, why not include the "Ford Explorer Sport - Blue" and the "Ford Explorer Sport - Red" as "unique models"? Ford certainly doesn't claim to offer 20 SUVs, so why should Terminal Reality make that claim? Probably because 70+ sounds a lot better than telling the truth and saying 28 (that's not nearly as impressive when you consider the GMC Jimmy/Chevy Blazer-type siblings which brings the total down to 22.)
Through the career mode players earn money to add enhancements to their truck. Players win cash by winning races, which allows them to purchase upgrades and new vehicles, which allows them to win more races. Thankfully players won't have to wade through days and weeks of races to unlock the cars. As with the tracks, every vehicle is available from the get-go. Upgrades, however, must be earned. A critical feature of career mode has been left out, however. Though drivers are free to drive head-on into thousand-ton rocks at 60 mph, the trucks back away undamaged. Terminal Reality failed (or was denied by the vehicle manufacturers) to allow any vehicle damage no matter how much punishment they take.
No CB Radio Required
Online play is managed through a built-in interface to GameSpy. Matchmaking is a breeze though a bit confusing because players can join a game in progress but can't actually join the race - leaving players standing around in the game room not knowing when the game will end. This caused no small amount of confusion with most players. Many players jump in and out of games, leaving when they found the game they joined was already in progress. Still, the in-game play features smooth driving without the jerks and warps of most online games.
Though the game sports elements of realism in the driving model, it also begins to fall apart here. Most developers wisely choose a very realistic game or a completely arcade-style gameplay environment. Few games can actually pull off the melding of the two genres without creating a wishy-washy Al Gore feeling. Is it an arcade game? "Well, that depends on how you define the word 'is'." Actually, this game defies classification. Though the handling feels close to real at times, with body roll, bouncing and 4-wheel grip, these effects have been toned down when stretched to their limits.
The body rolls alright, but not quite enough to roll the entire vehicle (no doubt the manufacturers want do downplay the remote possibility that one of their high center of gravity vehicles might be unsafe for soccer moms!) The SUVs also have a tendency to bounce and dolphin. Combine the two together and the resulting feeling leaves the driver not quite in control or entirely aware of when the wheels are in fact on the ground (and the body is bouncing) or the wheels have left the ground (and the entire truck is bouncing). It makes a difference. If the wheels maintain contact with the ground you can still steer - otherwise you drifting in some unwanted direction completely out of control. With so much bouncing going on, oversteer becomes a fact of life, not an option.
Stuck in the Mud
Despite the learning curve, driving one of these beasts gets easier with practice. Still it doesn't quite matter. It's one thing to take a Jeep (woops! There aren't any Jeeps in this game) off-road and sling mud, it's quite another to drive around a course and through checkpoints only two car-widths wide at full throttle while bouncing. The game utilizes the familiar checkpoint theme that requires drivers to navigate a course laced with checkpoints. The track designers were kind enough to use completely immovable objects, such as 3" diameter pipe, folding plastic signs and large rocks as markers. These objects stop a truck dead in its tracks. No glancing blows. None of this "well, he got most of his truck through the gate" business. Nope. Either in or out and don't even think about trying to pass through the gate from the wrong direction.
How annoying. There is nothing worse than leading the race until the 8th lap only to be bumped (by AI drivers that show a remarkable ability to hold their line) into some puny little rock and come to a screeching halt and lose the race. Is the game about accurate driving or seat-of-your-pants driving? If the game is designed for the former then the trucks should be a bit less bouncy and more controllable. If the game is about the latter then why punish drivers for being perhaps 2" off the mark? It just doesn't make sense. On one hand players can freely drive anywhere they darn well please - and this includes shortcuts and off the map bypasses. On the other hand artificial constraints and unrealistic accuracy forces the player to reign in their wild desires and "get with the program recruit!"
Half the Game It Should Be x 2
4x4 Evo just doesn't make sense. Terminal Realityshould have developed the "ultimate 4x4 driving simulation" or "the most radical woo-hoo 4x4 mud in your fingernails arcade game ever!". Instead they have produced "a semi-realistic game that takes you right to the edge of fun and then backs away." It is a game that feels constrained and contained and never fires on all cylinders. Perhaps the blame lies in the mixed nature of its design. 4x4 Evo was built simultaneously for the PC, Mac and *Sega****Dreamcast***. As you might expect from a game designed for three platforms, the game lacks a single unifying design and feels out of place and in between.
I have read several reviews of this game trying to convince myself that I should enjoy this game. I looked for words of praise from sites that donated high scores to this game. I tried to find elements of gameplay that I had missed or nuances that I simply overlooked. In the end I returned to my gut feeling that I simply don't like 4x4 Evolution.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
mcfc4heatons 2020-01-16 0 point Windows version
anyone got a portable version of or 32bit installer?
rd 2019-02-05 2 points
Cheap laptop with celeron and intel hd 500, windows 10 in xp compat mode, runs well.
Your Dad's Bellybutton 2018-08-06 1 point
i used to play this game alot. i'ts really good. got it at my local used games store and played it on my dreamcast.
JellyBread 2018-08-06 0 point Windows version
This game's super nostalgic, played it on my PlayStation 2. Defiantly the most underrated game of all time.
Gjammer 2018-04-03 2 points Windows version
Works well on Windows 7. I set compatibility mode to XP and ran as administrator. It works beautifully with a GTX 960 2GB. It even recognized my Thrustmaster T.16000M joystick, which I use mostly for flight sims.
GeForceMX200Gamer101 2017-08-30 0 point Windows version
I installed this on my PC with a nVidia RIVA TNT2 card. It ran horrible. I sold that machine, and build a custom '99 gaming PC, and it had a GeForce 2MX 200, and an AWE64. Game runs great!
PowerPCUK 2017-04-14 -2 points
Where has the Mac version gone to download? and will it work on the PowerPC?
ShadowPrincess 2017-02-19 0 point
Memories again... I remember back in 2007 hosting a tournament with an add-on track called The River Runs Through It. What a blast! So many great tracks both add-on and otherwise.
Tom 2017-02-04 3 points
I LOVED this game! I used to race against my PC buddy with his version, we had so much fun.
Brunauss 2016-08-22 2 points
This was the original cross platform multiplayer game, long before Microsoft Xbox started puffing up and pounding on their chest about doing it first.
DaJeepster 2015-06-04 1 point Mac version
This game is the reason I keep my old MAC. This will run on OS X.6.8 at the newest. Bought this in 2000 and I still use this game and love it.
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