Mercedes-Benz Truck Racing
Designed by SYNETIC
Platform: PC CDROM
Price £29.99 Released: Out Now
64MB of RAM
16MB Direct 3D graphics/video card
I can honestly
say that I think that Mercedes-Benz Truck Racing is the first truck racing game
ever on the PC. Originality is always welcome in gaming circles and if you thought
it would be just the same as playing a car driving game then you are in for
a surprise. The handling feels heavier, the vehicles slower and getting past
the other trucks is no easy matter.
The game contains the usual collection of options. A Championship, a single race, a practice mode with the option of a ghost truck in front to slowly guide you around the track (believe me you'll need it) and a time trial mode. All the vehicle setup options are here and you can tweak the truck's setup until your heart's content. The graphic setup options are to be applauded. If you set all the detail as high as the sky then you're going to need a 1GHz processor or above with a high end graphics card but if your system is less meaty turning down some of the detail will let the game fly on a PC with only a 400MHz system with a Voodoo 3 or similar graphics card. The real beauty of this is that the game retains a lot of its good looks at lower details and doesn't punish you for not having a NASA specification PC.
The difficulty of the opponents can be changed by means of altering the percentage of ability. I found by lowering the ability of the opponents to less than 30% (I am ashamed) I could overtake and catch up on the other trucks should I come off the track. However if the difficulty is at 50% or over then you're in for a real battle. This wide range of difficulty is a good thing and I believe it would take a good racer months to be able to win races at 90% and above whilst still allowing beginners the chance to not get too frustrated by playing at a difficulty below 50%. Another feature that will allow beginners to learn is the directional pointer that is on screen during a race. The pointer not only points the direction of the next bend but also changes colour according to your speed. A green pointer indicates that your not going too fast for the next bend whilst a red pointer indicates that there's no way you'll stop on the track. The pointer can also be a colour inbetween such as yellow and gives you the chance to reduce your speed so as to not come off the track.
There are 11 tracks in all and they range from the A1-Ring to Donington. They have all been created well and they all feel different which is good. You can have wet races as well which really changes the nature of the race and makes braking a nightmare. The AI of the drivers seems quite good and it was pleasing to see that a truck I had knocked off the track returned the favour five laps later.
There is verbal radio feedback in the game but it wasn't necessary for the gameplay. Comments such as 'someone's caused a yellow flag' was a little redundant when a picture of a yellow flag was waving on the right side of the screen. All the flag communication was displayed in this way so deaf racers are informed of the situation at all times. If you're not sure of the flags' meaning, then take a look at pages 24 and 25 of the manual to explain all 8 different flags.
All in all I would recommend Mercedes-Benz Truck Racing to every race fan. Sure the action feels slower than a car racing game (I suppose it would in real life though with being higher off the ground) and the handling does take some getting used to but it feels original and is genuinely challenging without being frustrating.
Click on the thumbnails to see the big picture.
Overall Game Rating: 8/10 If you like racing games then Mercedes-Benz Truck Racing is well worth your money.
Quality of text: Not rated as it isn't really applicable in a racing game.
Graphics: 8/10 Good graphics with a wide range of detail customization.
Interface: 8/10 Straightforward and generally pleasing.
Gameplay: 8/10 Enjoyable, the crashes are fantastic.