TrackMania is a new type of racing game, in which players created their own ludicrously dizzying courses quickly and easily using a bank of over 300 different construction blocks. These courses - which can be built in one of three breathtaking themes - the form the basis for races the likes of which you will have never seen before.
Huge loop-the-loops, jumps and ramps; banked corners nudging vertical - there's no way these courses could exist in real life. Which is what makes racing round them at breakneck speeds such an exhilarating joy.
Single-player challenges allow players to compete solo in order to build up vital race experience. 50 individual tests will test all areas of a driver's repertoire, from simple tests of speed to more challenging tasks such as death-defying leaps over varying distances. These single-player challenges require cerebral dexterity by introducing track-building puzzle elements designed to test the player's spatial awareness as well as driving proficiency.
Best of all, players can trade courses via e-mail - advanced compression techniques mean that the attachments are nothing more than a few kilobytes - and compete head-to-head to determine who's the most mental behind the wheel.
The variety in course design is literally endless. From simple bowl tracks to the mad designs that make Stunt Car Racer look like a Sunday afternoon drive; Track Mania is a racing game with options far beyond any other. Three separate options of races are available to cater to all speed junkies: rally, speed and stunt. Each offers a unique style of driving, under one central premise: your heart will be firmly in your mouth.
Multiplayer set-up is ridiculously easy - available in-game at the click of a mouse - and even lowly dial-up users, who are often overlooked by data-hungry multiplayer games, can compete without the stutter and frame drops that plague the 56k scene.
The package is wrapped off in some of the fastest and finest visuals seen in such an ambitious racing game. Indeed, nVidia has selected TrackMania as one of its prestigious 'The Way It's Meant To Be Played' games, endorsing the game's ability to make use of top-of-the-range hardware. Of course, the graphics are fully-scaleable, so those without the latest graphics technology will still be treated to a smooth, fast ride.
TrackMania is a breath of fresh air in a genre stagnated and obsessed by realism. With infinite replay value and the emphasis firmly on fun, it's sure to prove a shot in the arm for PC speed junkies.
TrackMania will be released on November 28th 2003 by Digital Jesters for PC CD-ROM, price £29.99.
Easy-to-use track editor
300 different race construction blocks
Three racing environments; American Desert, Countryside and Winter Landscape
Three different race modes; Rally, Stunt and Speed
50 single-player challenges
Multiple multiplayer modes
Easy Internet network feature; broadband or dial-up
Scaleable graphics technology accommodates most system specifications
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