Bring me to the main page   Bring me to the reviews index

Virtual Karting 1 logo  AGA

I have not been karting since a holiday to Blackpool as a 9-year old howls Steve Bradley.A chequered career, or a chequered flag for this kart-‘em-up?

A Virtual Karting 1 fter battling with these darned karts for a while now, I am still at a loss to understand why the programmer has not included the fire button as an option to use as an accelerator, instead preferring the game to struggle manfully with the forward position on the stick/pad, and why he has not bothered to proffer the keyboard as a control method?
Dropping in these two simple fellows would have improved the shebang considerably. They could still not, however, mask the fact that Virtual Karting is a game that the Amiga does not need.

Conveniently forgetting for the moment that there is a dearth of karting games on the market, I would suggest that any supporter of the racing genre will already have a game in their collection which is considerably better than this. The Lotus games, bless ‘em. Good ol’ F1GP. We won’t mention Micro Machines, or Super Skidmarks. There is many more.

Before we continue, do not go thinking that some of the screen shots that dot around the pages are representative of the game. Our picture grabber had all kinds of trouble with this game. No, Virtual Karting is prettier, much smoother looking and does not have all the dodgy lines across it. Our apologies. Virtual Karting is fully texture mapped and this, it seems, is its USP (that will be Unique Selling Point – and who left that damn marketing bible around).

"Oh my giddy Aunt," you exclaim upon discovering that the game runs between 25 and 50 frames per second, depending on whether your machine accelerates faster than one of these here karts. Virtual Karting seems to set great store by its technological ‘innovations’. Sadly, it really is not a wildly impressive visual experience. Hang it, I do not care a jot whether it is texture mapped or novamura-d (that bumpy wallpaper, you know). I want to get in a little buggy – one which I can safely negotiate around bends – and drive very quickly over a variety of courses.
But this game offers no real feeling of seed. You can watch a speedo in the bottom, left-hand corner of the screen and see that old KPH steadily rising, but back in the hotseat you still feel like a pedestrian.

Virtual Karting 1 There are two ways you can view the races in: 2D or 3D. The 2D option is a straight overhead perspective, while the 3D view has four slightly different angles. Overhead, the race seems slower, while the lower the 3D angle, the quicker the car seems to move – although when you are the lowest of the low, it is incredibly difficult to anticipate the bends.
So Virtual karting is best played in the highest of the 3D views, where you can get a reasonable sensation of speed while at the same time traverse the bends with as much confidence as the rather difficult to get the hang of control method allows.
In the 2D mode, you can play half screen and the actions are hot pace-wise, though a magnifying glass would be a bonus.

Back to the control method. Holding the joystick/pad forward and controlling the kart to any degree of accuracy is an awful task. You sway this way and that, oversteering and bumping off course on to the (texture mapped) grass which slows you to snails pace. It is not such a problem on the beginners course, but once you hop to the next two, it is terribly frustrating, particularly on the really tight horseshoe bends. Yes, I know practice makes perfect, but anyone who has played any racing game will know that using the fire button to accelerate is much more satisfying and a darn more concise. SO actually the mouse control is probably best.

If I was of London extraction, I would suggest: "OTM, SORT IT OOOOUUUUUT".
It is a shame really. The programmer, Fabio Bizzetti (possibly an Italian fellow) is obviously dedicated to the Amiga, and the work on the graphics and pre-race fly-bys is tremendous, but Virtual Karting is a triumph of design over content. Three courses and two cars (100cc and 125 cc) – with no championships or leagues to compete in.
But hey, the texture mapping, the frames per second. I almost feel apologetic – certainly the technical feats of the game are quite tremendous – if the Amiga had an ‘030 as standard this could have been developed into a much smarter, faster, more enjoyable game. But when the car is the very devil to control, when the sound effects are tinny and you feel like you are trundling along in a milk float, something has obviously gone wrong.

As an attempt at producing a ‘realistic’ karting simulation, this may well be visually excellent, but as exciting driving games go, it is certainly left in the lower rankings.

Amiga Format, Issue 78, December 1995, p.p.58-59



"You sway this way and that, oversteering and bumping off course on the grass."


VIRTUAL KARTING

Publisher
OTM

Price
£24.95

Versions
AGA

System requirements
A1200/A4000

Release date
Out Now

 
Graphics   7 out of 10
They are texture mapped, don’t you know. Anyway, not bad.

Sound   4 out of 10
Tinny, but then that is how karts sound, right?

Addiction   4 out of 10
Erm. No.

Playability   5 out of 10
Dreadful method of control – easily remedied.

Overall verdict
Virtual Karting should be virtually carted off for a quick gameplay fit.

62%



Virtual Karting 1 logo  AGA   A1200 Speziell

Bei OTM hat man die Zeichen der Zeit erkannt und flugs eine AGA-Flitzerei mit flinken Go-Karts und flotten Ideen an den Start geschoben. Doch dann lief leider alles falsch!

Virtual Karting 1 Michael Schumacher gelangte über die hier beteiligten Seifenkisten ja in die automobile Königsklasse, für das OTM-Team dürfte es dagegen kaum zu einem Platz in der Disk-Garage reichen. Dabei haben sie erstmals am Amiga eine Rennbahn entworfen, die komplett mit allen Straßen, Wiesen etc. aus einer einzigen, turboflott scrollenden 3D-Textur von riesigen Ausmaßen besteht – so was kannte man bis jetzt nur von den Ankündigungen zu UBI Softs „Street Racer“ oder auf Konsolen; etwa beim SNES-Hit „Super Mario Kart“!

In der Praxis zerplatzen bei Virtual Karting jedoch alle spielerischen und grafischen Blütenträume schon nach wenigen Sekunden, was nicht zuletzt am technischen Kniff liegt, mit dem die Coder hier Tempo machen wollten: Beim Berechnen der 3D-Optik wird nur jeder zweite Bildpunkt berücksichtigt, die dazwischenliegenden Pixel bleiben einfach schwarz. Das Ergebnis sieht am Monitor sehr grobkörnig aus, an einem Fernseher wirkt das Bild dann gänzlich unscharf und verwaschen. Auch die eigentlich schönen Justiermöglichkeiten für die Beobachtkamera werden damit sinnlos, denn aus der Fahrerperspektive ist der Straßenverlauf kaum zu erkennen, während der Pilot beim Blick direkt von oben auf den (dann um den Kart rotierenden) Beton jedes Gefühl für die Geschwindigkeit verliert.

Virtual Karting 1 Auf der Verliererstraße ist man meist auch gegen die fünf Computergegner, weil sie schon beim geringsten Rempler und nach dem verzeihlichsten Abstreifer in die Pampa geschlossen in weite Ferne enteilen – und an eine Aufholjagd ist bei einem bestenfalls zweiminütigen Rennverlauf (fünf Runden zu ca. 20 Sekunden) natürlich kaum zu denken. Da sich zudem nur drei Kurze und optisch sehr ähnliche Strecken auf den zwei Disketten befinden, ist es auch um die Dauernmotivation denkbar schlecht bestellt. Am unterhaltsamsten fanden wir daher noch das Kauderwelsch der Anleitung: Mit Bonmots wie „Dieses Spiel hat auch ruckwerdes zug von wind. Wird Ihren kart aerodynamisch, sie konnen besser vorbei gehen“ werden da z.B. die Vorteile des Fahrens im Windschatten umschrieben...

Tja, schade um die Wahlmöglichkeit zwischen 100c- und 125cc-Karts sowie die Unterstützung von Analog-Sticks und Maus; der extrem unglücklich gelöste Pad-Betrieb mit dem Steuerkreuz als Lenkrad und Gashebel/Bremse sei bloß der Vollständigkeit halber erwähnt. Da aber genreübliche Bonbons wie Duo- und WM-Modi oder Pistenkarten fehlen, sind derlei Features ohnehin nur Kosmetik. Doch soviel Schminke hat keine Avon-Beraterin, daß damit auch noch der nervige Kopierschutz, die unvollständige HD-Installationsroutine und die Abstürze auf getunter AGA-Hardware übertüncht werden könnten! (rl)

Amiga Joker, January 1996, p.36

VIRTUAL KARTING
(OTM)
3D - RASEREI
37%
"FEHLSTART"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
48%
52%
67%
63%
39%
26%
VARIABEL: 3 STUFEN
PREIS DM 59,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
2 MB
2/JA
AB 3 MB RAM VON HAND
NEIN
ANLEITUNG