Over the River and Through the Woods… Preview

Over the River and Through the Woods…

It’s time to put on your jeans and get dirty, cuz there’s a new off-road heavyweight

coming over the horizon. This new rough rider is hard on drivers and even harder

on the road. Lace up them boots, grab your chewing ‘tabacci’ and listen up so’s

you can soak up an ear-full of this preview for 4×4 Evolution from Terminal

Reality (remember Nocturne?).

4×4 Evolution is an arcade style off-road simulation for the PC, Mac

and Sega Dreamcast. Drivers can slide behind the wheel and take control of a

real life SUV or light truck. There are a whopping 50+ vehicles for you to choose

from.

This surplus of incredibly detailed road hogs can be raced across 16 gorgeous

environments. It’s obvious right from the start that a heck of a lot of sweat

and hard work went into getting the solar effect just right. You really get

the feeling you’re out on some hot desert road with the sun beating down on

you. Via a very ralistic lens flare, the sun can actually obscure your vision

if you drive directly towards it. Nice!

There’s plenty of distractions to keep you busy – low flying birds, hang-gliders,

helicopters and small personal airplanes liven things up. Throw in some course-specific

traffic like construction vehicles, big 16-wheel rigs & gas tankers (not unlike

Motocross Madness

2
), and you have your work cut out for you.

One of the really cool things about 4×4 Evolution is that you are not

confined to stay on the course. Again, like Motocross Madness 2, you

must make it through the checkpoints. However, how you get to each point is

purely up to you. You may want to tear through a construction site or cut across

a mountain. Remember that this is off-road driving and, boy, can you go off-road.

This game isn’t all reckless driving, though. You begin with a simple, base

truck and you compete in a series of off-road races to win money. This money

can be used to upgrade and customize your vehicle with an assortment of parts

such as appropriate tires, suspension upgrades, brush guards and performance

exhausts. Take it from someone who’s played the game – you’re gonna need those

enhancements.

The single most compelling and ambitious feature in 4×4 Evolution is

its multiplayer support. The game will utilize GameSpy’s “peer to peer” technology

to enable Internet multi-player support between Sega Dreamcast, Mac and PC.

This online technology allows players to compete head-to-head with one another

regardless of their platform. Can you imagine the level of competition this

could bring to the home?

PC gamers who look down on console gamers should beware. Those lowly “consolers”

might just rally together and run you clean off the road. For the first time

in the history of the consoles, players will be able to compete online with

up to four players. Slowly, Sega emerges from the dark, dank depths of split-screen

hell to offer real online competition.

The PC and Mac version will support up to eight players over the Internet or

a LAN. This is pretty standard fare, but welcomed nonetheless.

4×4 Evolution is set to be released this summer. Prepare to get to dirty…this

is definitely one to look for.