Many different licensed cars
Game continues to be developed
Lots of menus to navigate
There are quite a few open source racing projects being developed. The problem with most of these is that it takes a lot of time and effort to really put in a good amount of work and to ensure that many features are present in this type of game. What we have with TORCS is an open source racing game which has managed to pull this off and has done so very solidly. The game, which is complete but is continually being updated with new features, is already showing itself to be one of the best open source racing games available right now. TORCS has a great number of top-quality features, including licensed cars of various types from NASCAR to Formula 1 and normal sports cars. There are many different tracks, many different options to choose from and even the ability to make your own cars and tracks. There are so many features that it will take you some time to see them all - TORCS certainly delivers on this front.
When you first load up the game, you are presented with a number of choices. You can choose if you want to practice, maybe start racing away in a tournament and many more. You can also pick the type of car you want to race with. Be it a sports car, Formula One, NASCAR or one of the other types, these are all based on the licensed vehicles, and you have a total of 42 different ones to try your luck with. In addition, you race against your computer-controlled opponents on 30 tracks. Controls for the game are easy to set up through the configure players option area's controls offering.
As has been mentioned, there are many options in TORCS, not just from the amount of tracks and different cars. What makes this game unique is you can choose different AI bots. Each bot has a number, but what makes these AI bots different from other racing games is that they have been programmed a certain way by different individuals. So all the bots act differently when driving and each therefore has their own strengths and weaknesses. You can also make your own bots using C or C++ - a tutorial covering the process is available at this site.
Graphically, the game looks good overall. The environments themselves can be hit or miss at times but generally the cars themselves and most of the environments look good. It also features some nice lighting effects, smoke, skid marks, car damage and some more - you can see it all if you set it up in the options menu.
There are numerous different cars to experience, and each one has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. You will usually face drivers of the same type of car you choose, but not always, so sometimes you can find yourself driving a Formula One vehicle against some Mercedes, which is interesting to see. What was good to see in TORCS is the fact that if you hit another car, the opponent's car will spin out! That's right, no more Gran Turismo-style hitting a car at 200 km/h and nothing happening business; there's a refreshing level of realism in comparison with some other titles in the genre.
The only real disappointment for me was the lack of music. Granted, it is not essential, but I like to listen to some type of music when racing. Thankfully you can run your own media player with ease outside the game so that's still good to provide some soundtrack. Also, the menu navigation is a bit confusing at first, and there's lots to look through but you will quickly get the hang of it.
In conclusion, this is probably one of the best racing games out there right now, and if you're a fan of the genre I highly recommend you check this one out. Even if you are not a hardcore racing fan, this game has many different things to experience and see, so check out TORCS and race on.
Review by: DeathDude
Safe for all ages
Windows 98/2000/XP, FreeBSD
Minimum: 550MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, OpenGL 1.3 compatible graphics card with 32 MB RAM.
Recommended: 800MHz CPU, 256MB RAM, OpenGL 1.3 compatible graphics card with 64 MB RAM.