Test Drive: Off-Road 2
Windows - 1998
Description of Test Drive: Off-Road 2
Accolade, following on the success of the Test Drive and Test Drive: Off-Road names delivers an uninspired, unimaginative, and ultimately, unsuccessful follow-up to the franchise - Test Drive: Off-Road 2. As if we didn't need another average driving game, Test Drive: Off-Road 2 takes mediocrity to a new level. Most games include a standout feature that distinguishes the game from the rest***. Test Drive: Off-Road 2***attempts to deliver this "hook" with off-road racing and vehicles found only in this game.
Test Drive: Off-Road 2 is the only game featuring the AM General Hummer, made popular in Operation Desert Storm. Other licensed vehicles include the Dodge Ram, Ford Explorer, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, Land Rover Discovery, Ford F-150, Chenowth DR2, and other variants of the aforementioned vehicles such as the Saleen Explorer, and military-package Hummer.
Bad Track Record
The game includes two types of races: a single race and a World Tour. Single races allow players to race any track that has been unlocked - meaning out of the box the game offers only four tracks. The player is also limited to the vehicles he has "unlocked" - these usually representing the more pedestrian of choices such as the Ford Explorer or F-150. World Tour takes the player through a series of races, allowing the player to accumulate points and cash to upgrade his vehicle. The tour requires the player to win a series of 5 races in each category: Hummer, Military, Truck, Safari, SUV and Open. Each type of tour must be completed with a vehicle in that category, e.g. Ford F-150 for the Truck tour.
The game includes 6 tracks. Because most mathematicians would count "6" tracks as "6" tracks, I shall refuse to call it "12" tracks (asAccolade prefers because each track can be raced in reverse). A better description would be "6 tracks and with 2-way traffic" rather than "12 tracks." The distinction is necessary (but more on this later).
After completing a tour the player will "unlock" a track and win money. Cash is limited at the start so a player must win a tour in order to get the cash to race with the better vehicles. Thus, a player must win the SUV tour with a modest vehicle such as the Ford Explorer so that they may eventually complete the Hummer Tour with the Military Hummer instead of the commercial Hummer. The player can buy and sell vehicles along the way to help them win the big races.
New tracks unlock as the tour progresses, allegedly to add variety to this messy ordeal. Players will start the tour with four tracks. But if a new track is unlocked with each race and each tour includes 5 races and we only have six tracks, doesn't that mean we're racing the same tracks over and over? Yes! I raced the Morocco track forwards and backwards at least 6 times (once for each tour plus a few tours where I raced the track in reverse) meaning I became very familiar with that track - and I hated it! Instead of looking forward to each new race and each new tour I became depressed with the inevitability of racing the same tracks over and over and over until I hated the game.
Department of Redundancy Department
The repetition in this game is obscene. Worse, each race takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. No big deal, right? Wrong. Each tour includes 5 races, so 5x5=25 minutes to complete a tour. Off-Road 2 has no Save Game feature (some dim bulb at Accolade decided that a "Save Game" feature should be included in Off-Road 3 so they can claim a new feature). This means you can't just get up and leave...you must languish in the punishing World Tour of Morocco going north, Morocco going south, Hawaii going north, Hawaii going south, and Santa Cruz (a slight exaggeration but you get the point).
I can imagine the promotional literature for this game if they only told the truth: Take the same truck you are probably driving today (Ford F-150), take it out to the country and race against other Ford trucks! Reach speeds up to 35 miles an hour! When you're finished, race the track backwards! All the while we'll be showing you really cool trucks such as the Dodge T-Rex but we won't allow anyone to drive them.
Driving the vehicles doesn't require much thought or skill. Set throttle to 100% and try to avoid running into the sheep and trees. It's not too hard when top speeds are below the legal speed limit of most highways. Want to try this game for real? Go drive in a school zone and feel the need for speed! Some portions of the game drag along between 11-16 miles per hour!!! In your dad's Ford Explorer!!! Cool!!! Navigating the course becomes labor instead of love. The courses are moderately well designed but aren't very fun in these all-too-realistic vehicles under all-too-boring circumstances.
The courses are not without their problems. Morocco, for example, has many barriers to navigate around, such as marble columns.Often I ran into an object even though no part of my vehicle was touching the object. Other times I would obviously drive through a portion of an object with no ill effects. This becomes very frustrating when you can't untangle your truck from an object that you are not touching. Other strange occurences include vehicles rolling and rolling and rolling on a flat surface and vehicles that stick like spiders to a sharp incline against negative g's in a turn.
No Need for Speed
But don't let the lack of speed bother you. Your vehicle still manages to get airtime as you bounce over hills and drop-offs. I found it difficult to accept that a car going 12 miles per hour could get 3 seconds of hang time - all while maintaining a sense of going 12 miles per hour. This might be a surprise to my parents, but as a kid I took my dad's truck off-roading at a lot more than 12 miles per hour and barely got airborne. But can I hold that against this game? It is, after all, an arcade racer, not a simulation. While we're on the subject of speed, does anyone know the formula for computing the "average speed" over a course? Simple: take the distance of the course and divide it by the time it took to complete the course. A 2.5 mile course completed in 5 minutes is 30 miles per hour. Strangely, I completed a race and came in second place but had a higher average speed than the winner.
The saying goes, the difference between a good game and a bad game is they've cut out all the boring parts in a good game. Off-Road 2 left nothing on the cutting-room floor. The boring parts comprise 90% of the game, and only after hours of monotony do players finally get to have fun. The fun comes when a player can finally afford one of the better vehicles - and I'm not talking about the simple upgrades; I mean the really good vehicles. Let me qualify that the only fun vehicle is the Military Chenowth buggy. Everything else pales in comparison. But by the time you've earned the money on the tour to drive the Military Chenowth, the game is pretty much over. Saving the best for last? Certainly.
Lights! Sound! Joystick?
Graphics: The graphics are, shall we say, pre-1997? Some games sacrifice eye-candy for frame rate or even gameplay. Not so with Off-Road 2. Even with my Voodoo2 I found the framerate somewhat jerky. It's not slow, but it's not silky-smooth as you would expect - given the horrible appearance of the game. The 3D geometry lacks lighting so every surface takes on the same brightness. Drive from bright sunshine into darkness and nothing changes (except your car's shadow is now brighter relative to the surface texture). This looked cool in Doom, but looks plastic compared to other games. The vehicles are low-polygon models so don't expect much detail. For that matter, don't expect anything visually pleasing from this game.
Sound: Sound and music is average to below average. If you like metal then you might like the sound track. If you don't (and I don't) then you'll play the game without background music. Fans of Sevendust, Gravity Kills and Fear Factory will probably find the soundtrack the best feature of the game. The sound effects consist entirely of engine noise and the creaks of your vehicle as you crawl across the terrain. Each vehicle uses the same creaking sound rather than its own unique sounds.
Control: I played the game using a joystick and an ACT Labs force feedback wheel. You might think that an off-road experience with a force feedback wheel would be fun, right? Surprisingly the force effects were quite subtle compared with road games. I've had more force feedback from a keyboard. Controller setup in the game is almost completely absent, allowing the players to choose "digital" or "analog" only. Yea!
Off Road? Out the Window!
The whole game left me with a constricting feeling of entrapment. I couldn't select the vehicle I really wanted to race because I didn't have enough money. I couldn't race the tracks I really wanted to race because I hadn't completed the necessary tours. This concept of "unlocking as a reward" is not new, so why complain about it here? Because the game isn't fun. Test Drive: Off-Road 2 is already at the bottom of my (I won't be playing this again) pile of games.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
Stinnger 2019-11-16 0 point
This game works Great with Nglide patch fix
Look at Test Drive OffRoad 2
to bad there is no easy cheat to unlock all cars or tracks but ps1 version has cheats
offRoad 3 pc and ps1 version has cheats that work`s :D
ai is hard and handling is hard but driving with Dodge-T Rex it becomes easy and funn atleast for me :D
Mrmack 2019-07-18 2 points
@Morgan TDOR 2 was absolutely panned by PCGamer at release getting special marks for horrible graphics, bad driving, and crashing all the time. You’re getting the authentic experience
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