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TOCA 2 (PSX) Review

Background Info

Screens (6)
TOCA 2 feels like a game striving to combine the best elements of Gran Turismo and Destruction Derby into one game. Unfortunately, the result is a bit of a shallow game, offering neither the depth of Gran Turismo nor the fun of Destruction Derby.

Presentation/Graphics : 84
The graphics for TOCA 2 are fairly impressive as far as PSX graphics are concerned. The cars are detailed and the in-car view is especially nice.

The various courses look good, but suffer from a lack of scenery. Outside of the actual road and guardrails, there is little other eye candy.

Presentation/Audio : 70
The audio for the menu screens is done well, with a few catchy beats playing from screen to screen. The game begins to suffer when the actual racing begins, though, as there is no in-game music. All you are left with is the sound of the car's engine and those of your driver's. It's a sort of eerie silence that takes some of the adrenaline out of the race.

Interface/Options : 73
The menu layout is simple and intuitive, and won't be hard for first-timers to navigate. I was a bit surprised to be asked which language I would like to run the game in, and it's a nice feature for those who speak Spanish or French fluently.

At the car setup screen, you can change the brake balance, the downforce, gears, and suspension. You can also save your settings and load them up again at a later time.

At the start of a race, you have several options open to you. You can race through a season, play an arcade-style race, play the Support Car Championship, a single race, time trial, link-up, and test track.

If you decide to race for an entire season, you will be able to unlock certain cheats and cars that you can use in the game. The season is split into 13 meetings, with 2 rounds per meeting, for a total of 26 races. You must finish with a certain amount of points in order to advance to the next meeting.

Gameplay : 74
Gameplay is where this game should have really centered all of its attention. It isn't bad, but it does have the potential to be much more fun.

The idea of deliberately smashing into someone else's car is one that can provide hours of fun for the whole family. But TOCA 2 pushes a little too much towards the simulation side of things, in turn taking away from the metal to metal action.

The "destruction derby" fun in this game lasts for only a few moments, before you realize that in order to win the race you'll have to rely much more on good driving than smashing your opponent. This really makes the game feel generic, giving the player that old "been there, done that" feeling.

The two player and link-up modes are a little more fun, as you and your friends can play bumper cars instead of simulation racing. The collision effects are about as good as one can hope for on a PlayStation. You see little polygon bits of your car fly off when you make contact, which is more than most racers will give you.

Replay Value : 70
Like I said, this game could've had more replay value had it geared more towards the arcade side, and stayed away from its shallow simulation aspect. With 16 cars and 18 tracks, you'll probably want to go through them all, and the season mode will allow you to do so.

Overall : 72
TOCA 2 feels like a game that tried to cram too much into one package. Unfortunately, it feels empty in several areas as a result, and falls short against the measuring stick that is Gran Turismo. Perhaps concentrating all efforts into one area of the game would have made it a better title. As it stands, TOCA 2 is a game fans will enjoy for a short time before moving on to something more fulfilling.

By: Adam Daehnke 3/14/00

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