Welcome to 1nsane, a great off-road game developed by Invictus and published by the race-crazed company, Codemasters. 1nsane’s career mode is based on unlocking championships based on the points you get from the races. It features themed maps from a lot of countries, several enviroments like forests, deserts, islands, different car classes, different game modes and so on.
Gameplay and Features
The game contains 3 main modes of playing: Career, Quick Race and Practice which lets you free roam on a map of your choice. The main great thing about this game is that the maps are built in a way that it’s end is also it’s beginning, pretty much like a circle.
The career mode is split into 5 groups, each group containing a number of maps that have a number of different gamemodes. From the classical off-road race to fun modes like King of the Hill, Capture the Flag, Gate Hunt and so on.
The cars have realistic damage, repairing them cause a 5 second freeze before the car is completely fixed. When you flip them, the freeze is only 3 seconds, still enough to make you lose some of the advantage.
In 1nsane, the AI is quite unbalanced. It has no handicap whatsoever when the race is happening during the night, leaving you kissing the trees while the opponents just race like they wear nightvision goggles. The car’s headlights aren’t in any way efficient, it’s mostly just there to make the game look pretty, the only solution left to remove the handicap is to raise the videocard’s gamma value.
Cars and Tracks
The cars are categorized in this game by their type: SUVs, Buggies, Utility Trucks, 6 and 8-wheelers and so on. 1nsane allows some fine tuning to the vehicle of choice before starting the race and a miniature customization in the form of choosing a paintjob.
Maps are based on countries from the entire world, with themes specific to them. For example, in Great Britain you get rain, and lots of puddles; Hawaii has little islands all over and a few volcanoes, Egypt contains pyramids and tons of dessert.
Though it’s not as huge in custom content as Re-volt is, 1nsane allows more detailed modding, like changing the HUD, the flag and adding new cars and maps, though, for the last 2 items, you will not be allowed to use them in the career since they appear in the bonus section of the vehicles.
– Vehicle class variety
– Map variety
– The maps are in a loop, causing them to never end.
– Engine and handling customization
– Damage system
– Poorly built AI
Release Date: Q4 2000
Developer: Invictus Games
Steam Store Page: N/A
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5th: Star Wars: Episode 1 – Racer
Finally, leaving our galaxy, not just the Earth, we venture to the fantasy science realms of Star Wars, where the racing part of the first Episode of the series has been transformed into a whole game. Of course, the star of the whole game is none other than the famous Anakin Skywalker. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick any of the underdogs.
Gameplay and Features
Until now we’ve had wheels to spin in order to move, this time turbines connected through an ion beam do the work. The controls are a bit related to the controls of an airplane: Apart from the classic controls of WASD, there’s also the height controls and knife-edge positions (Although the height controls only work in the antigravity tubes, the rest of the time allows for Turbo fire-up and slowing your descent).
The Turbo system can be activated by pressing the Up Arrow (Default Key) followed by the LShift button. Turbo is some sort of nitrous system that allows the vehicle to exceed it’s normal top speed for a brief time. Keeping the turbo button activated for too long will cause the turbines to catch on fire, repairing being required, thus slowing down and losing the advantage you might have gained.
The reward system is split into 3 types: Fair – where Pos 1 through 4 receive money according to their finishing place; Top 3 – Where, as the name says it, it’s split between first 3 places. And at the end, the winner takes it all where winning the first place becomes quite the objective to upgrade your pod racer as fast as possible.
The game contains 2 shops: the main one that contains multiple upgradeable parts for the same engine and the junkyard where you find only 1 upgradeable (or downgradeable) for each system. In the junkyard, the prices are lower than in the main shop but it also requires some luck to find good pieces.
In Episode 1: Racer, while racing, crashing your pod has 2 big disadvantages: 1. You lose precious time and the opponents can overtake your position and 2. Your pod suffers permanent performance loss meaning you’ll have to spend money again to get your pod back to pre-race performance. One way to diminish the damage penalty is to purchase droids ( max of 4 ) which will decrease the severity of the damage received after the crash, but it won’t stop it altogether.
Also, if you have a warrior spirit inside you, you can show off your magnificience by insulting, with the press of a key, the other participants making them not give a damn about you, just like they did before you pressed the e-peen key.
Pods and Maps
Each pod racer has different advantages and disadvantages, from speed over handling to viceversa, to acceleration over brakes and so on. Also, the size of the pod can play a huge part over maneuverability. Myself, I preferring to go for small and short (best option being Neva Kee which can be unlocked somewhere after the second championship, since the turbines and cockpit are one system) to ensure maximum maneuvering ability. Most of the pods in-game are accurate representations of those seen in the movie with a few new ones.
The maps are based on various planets seen in the movies, including the famous Naboo, in which the initial race takes place. The enviroments have extreme ranges, from natural places to completely technological areas. Jumps, stunts, obstacles, and shortcuts are also there to spice up the competition. Unfortunately, the AI can’t, for some reason, follow most of the shortcuts. The game includes bonus maps which are unlocked after completing the championships, each map granting a high reward for completion.
– Lots of maps and map variety
– Lots of pods fitting everyone’s tastes
– Engine upgrades
– Crashing leaves permanent damage on the pod
– Due to it being a really old game, the game only functions on up to Windows XP systems.
– There are a few sound bugs.
Release Date: Windows/Dreamcast – April 1999, Nintendo 64 – May 1999, MacIntosh/GameBoy Color – December 1999
Genre: Science-Fiction Racing
Steam Store Page: N/A
Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRXQbLI06lo (The gameplay has been recorded a long time ago, when I still used Windows XP):
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4th: Need For Speed 5: Porsche 2000
Back with the wheels on our Mother Earth, we return in time by over a decade to the first racing simulator produced by EA in the Need For Speed series: Porsche 2000. As guessed, this game contains only Porsche manufactured cars, starting with the 356 1100 model up to the Porsche 911 Turbo (996) and GT1.
Gameplay and Features
The game contains several modes for you, going from the classic single races to the training stages and the evolution mode (which will be covered a tad later.) In the single race mode, you can choose between a normal race and 2 knockout types of racing: The quick one, which happens on a single track – the last one on each lap is disqualified, and the long one – where the last one on each track gets disqualified, much like every Need for Speed game did before.
Following the single race mode is the ‘Factory Driver’ where you test Porsche cars and complete rather simple objectives given by other Porsche test drivers, like go in a slalom around the cones or pull a 360. In the end earning the possibility to win 3 cars with unique ‘Factory Driver’ liveries.
In the last spot, and the longest one, is the Evolution mode which acts pretty much like a Career mode: You start with a slow car, do races and tournaments, get money to buy better cars and customize the ones you own with new parts, colors and decals. You can also sell the vehicles at auction and buy damaged vehicles for cheaper, though sometimes the repair cost might exceed the new-car price. The only thing different in Evolution from a normal Career mode is the fact that the game takes the player through the whole progress of Porsche cars, starting with the ‘50s 356 and ending up, after a long walk, with the mighty 911 Turbo.
One of the other things I appreciate a lot in this game, is the realistic (at least for it’s year) damage system which can cause a lot of grief if you play in the evolution mode. Much like the newer racing games, you can fail the race altogether if you crash the car too many times, though I never achieved such a feat… I think.
Another great feature in this game, that is extremely rarely seen in other games, is the possibility to customize the HUD to suit every taste. You can change the car damage chart from graphic to percentage one, analog or digital speedometer, in mph or kmh, and so on.
Cars and Tracks
As already stated, by the above description and the name of the game, the game focuses on the Porsche cars so there is nothing else to detail about it.
As for the tracks, the game focuses more on the wild side of the world, with tracks through woods, and mountains with some rural places and a few urban maps like Zone Industrielle and Monte Carlo. You get the chance to explore the Coast of Azur, the Pyrinees Mountains, see the golden wheat and their farms from Normandy or race through snow in the Alps.
– A decent number of maps and cars
– High amount of types of environment
– Multiple gameplay modes
– Highly customizable HUD
– Some of the Factory Driver challenges take more luck than skill to complete
Release Date: PlayStation – Feb 2000, GameBoy Advance/PC – March 2000
Developer: Eden Studios (PS), EA Canada (PC), Pocketeers (GBA)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Steam Store Page: N/A
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