I ended my first shot at this game saying - "Whoa! This game is kewl", and, every time I played it I liked it even more.
Turbo Spirit XT is a really simple racing game, and, just like any other, you race to the finish line and placed 1st, if you have all the others behind you have successfully beaten the clock to the checkpoint.
The first time I headed over to the game's URL, I was expecting something a lot different. I think that I formed this opinion because the loader gave me such an impression. The bike graphic on the loader looked like I was going to be playing one of those old 8-bit DOS games.
[SCREENSHOT : 1 - The Loader]
Well, the loader didn’t last too long. Then came...
[SCREENSHOT : 2 - Splash Screen and Menu]
..and I thought - "This is getting interesting now!"
I played it online the first two times and then decided to download the Trial version, for this review, but, by the time things got finalized, I got my hands on the full version. So, this review is based on the full version.
THE FIRST TIME:
As soon as I installed it, I left the game to launch. There were a lot of flickers - resolution resetting and then the starting screens came up. The screen kept flickering every now and then shifting between the normal view and a tiny window to the top left of my screen. I thought it would stop flickering and changing screen sizes, but, this went on throughout the game play.
I found a solution to this soon enough - you will need to change the screen resolution of the game to 800X600X32. The options to change the screen settings, sound and display the “About” box can be found at the bottom left of the main screen [SCREENSHOT : 2 above].
Click the START button, you come to the screen to pick a league. You can choose between Bronze, Silver and Golden. The Trial version and the online version have just the Bronze league enabled. Selecting the other two would give you the "Buy now" screen. The difference between the leagues is explained in the selection window. Basically, the difference is in the number of tracks, the maximum speed and the seconds per checkpoint.
The game works in a progression, so you will have to complete the Bronze league successfully to unlock the other tracks. You can select between 3 tracks in the Bronze league - France, Germany and Japan. Being an F1 fanatic, I expected to see Magny-cours, Hockenheim and Suzuka. The track description doesnt let out any track techicalities (like the number of curves etc..), it tells you about the picturesque landscape and a fact or two about it.
[SCREENSHOT : 3 - SELECT A TRACK]
The Graphics are simple and clean, making the game play “hitch-free”. The Sound and music are quite loud, but, the music is kinda peppy and easy-listening, so its nice to leave it on at a comfortable volume. However, once you've played the game about 10 times, you will prefer having the sound off, 'coz, by then, it'll be the music that keeps playing over and over in your ears as you go about your day!
[SCREENSHOT : 4 - THE GAME SCREEN]
The game play instructions are very clear:
Use mouse to steer left and right.
Click and hold left mouse button to accelerate.
Release left mouse button to brake.
Alternative keyboard controls can be activated in the "select next race" screen under "CONTROLS".
Use ARROW LEFT & ARROW RIGHT to steer
Use ARROW UP to accelerate
Use ARROW DOWN to brake
I wasn't a big fan of using the mouse to race till a few years ago. This game blew even the traces of these opinions away. The bike responds really well to the mouse interaction. It got me addicted almost instantly! Riding the bike doesn’t need any special skills. It is very easy to keep the bike on the road, even at greater speeds of the Silver and Goldern Leagues. As one can expect, the road does switch between narrow and broad quite a few times. It is a bit hard to keep the bike on road when the road gets narrow through some of the sweeping long turns, especially in Poland.
The game doesn’t rely too much on mechanics and physics. You accelerate when you hold down the mouse left key/ UP arrow of your keyboard and decelerate when you let go of the mouse key/UP arrow key...just as any other game. Oh yeah and when you go off the track you slow down quite a bit.
The game lacks a lot of punch,when, it comes to the "other bikers' AI". They dont make any attempt to make overtaking difficult. Its very easy to overtake the whole pack and move on about your race. Once you race into the distance, you may not find your opponents trying to catch you, even when you've hit the kitty-litter a number of times. The only way I could get them to catch me was, if I parked my bike and waited for them to come along. But, then, you'd lose a lot of time and end up not making it to the checkpoint within the stipulated time.
COLLISION AND CRASH:
Umm..I was expecting to fall when I hit a tree, but, didn’t, the bike just gets stuck for a while there till you decide to turn it away. I also played around a while bumping into other bikers and got almost the same kind of result.. No accidents!
Like I said earlier, its a very simple, non-technical game. I would say its one of those games that you'd love to play after a hard day's work and want to keep winning easily, without having to think much. For a person like me, who, loves his racing, you always have statistics to beat!