Review by KasketDarkfyre

"The next-generation of the Off-Road series."

Off-Road Challenge follows in the same footsteps as the rest of the Off-Road series that you might have played years ago. Now, instead of an overhead view of the action, you’re in a behind the truck view that gives you new meaning to the word off-road racing. Though this game doesn’t have quite the action factor that Off-Road Thunder does, it still is worthy of spending a couple of bucks on. While the game play has pretty much remained the same since the days of the overhead Off-Road games, you’ll find that the challenge has been increased for much more difficult game!

-The Game Play-

From the starting screen, you have your choice of several different styles of trucks, each with their own set of attributes and otherwise. Though the trucks themselves really don’t look at that different, you’ll find that they do tend to have widely different styles of driving attached to them. Where you would pick a truck with a slow acceleration speed, it is one of the fastest, yet easier trucks to push over. A lighter truck zooms through the courses, but is easy to roll over and cost you position spots in the race, resulting in a selection of tough and delicate all over again!

The courses themselves are not predetermined, but rather set up to where you can select just where you want to be and where you want to go. Though these tracks really don’t have much in the ways of shortcuts or massive jumps, you’ll still find that some of the game play functions that were in the original Off-Road apply here. In order to get upgrades on your truck, you have to collect different items on the tracks and the Nitro bottles are scattered throughout that give you a boost for your nitro meter.

Control really isn’t that hard to work with as long as you know just what truck it is that you’re working with during the game. Where some of the trucks are quick to turn, they are also hard to control when you come around the corner onto a straightaway. Other trucks are slow to turn, but have the best straightening ability, leading to another instance of tough and delicate. The nitro button is located on the dashboard, and the gear function is located for your right hand, making it easier to switch gears and hit the nitro button all at the same time!

-The Visuals-

Visually, Off-Road Challenge is a good-looking game that has plenty going for it in the backgrounds and during the race. Dirt sprays up around the tires and back behind your truck at every turn. Though you really won’t see any true speed effects, the scaling that you find when you’ve been passed, or are in the middle of passing an opponent are pretty impressive. One of the best features about the visuals though is that you can change your view of the race to either a far-chase view, a behind the car view or the ever popular in the drivers seat view, all of which give a different effect to the game and how it is played!

-The Audio-

The audio is upbeat for the most part and you’ll have a couple of different music selections that you can listen to while you’re racing through the various tracks. Though you really don’t have too much of a selection on what you listen to, all of the tracks that you do have allow you to keep in the theme and fast paced mood that the game is trying to portray. The sound effects are top notch, complete with horns blowing, trucks crashing into each other and the squeaking of shocks when you take a particularly huge hill and come crashing down to the sand below.

-The Verdict-

Off-Road Challenge is a fun game for those who like to play the off-road racing style games without having to get too technical. The visuals, while not the best on the market, are still sufficient enough to make you feel as though you’re a part of the action. The audio and the control are above average, giving you both challenge in how you have to race and a small variety of what to listen to while you’re doing it. The game play though, is the shining feature of the game that retains the original theme of the older Off-Road games while giving you some new challenge with the different style trucks and a tough to beat computer opposition.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/06/02, Updated 08/06/02

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