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Review by: Emil Pagliarulo
Published: August 23, 1997
As a rule, I’m not usually too keen on racing games. The monotony of driving around, and around, and around a track is usually the last way I want to spend my gaming hours. If there’s not a rocket launcher strapped to the hood, why even bother? It was with this attitude I began playing Bethesda’s XCar: Experimental Racing, a game I was sure I would dislike, and found myself playing for 3 hours straight.
XCar is the next generation of racing sims in the truest sense. Rather than focusing on a particular racing league, like most games of its type, XCar instead is a simulation of the future of automobile technology. Everyone who goes to an auto show marvels at the futuristic concept cars, those vehicles that seem more at home in a sci-fi flick than on the highways and byways of America. Owning one of these beauties is an obvious impossibility. But what if, just for a day, you were able to drive one of these mean machines? If this is a fantasy that has ever entered your mind, then boy are you in luck. XCar is a simulation of these “sports prototype” cars, and presents the player with a dizzying amount of racing and design options.
As soon as XCar boots up, you can pretty much go anywhere or do anything you want. The main menu lists all of the game’s main features: Select Car, Modify Car, Preseason, Quick Race, Race, VCR, and Options. It’s very easy to get lost in all of XCar’s secondary options before you even take to the road, because the game allows for complete (and I mean complete) customization.
The Select Car screen is where all of the action begins, and the player selects the vehicle of his or her choice. There are several base models available, and each has its own design and corporate sponsor, complete with custom paint job. Some of the more recognizable ones are Spam, Kenwood, and Armor All. Although each car is unique, they all basically perform equally when using their default setups.
For those players who really take this racing stuff seriously, the Modify Car screen will make your jaw drop. This is where all of XCar’s magic really happens; it is, in essence, a full blown automotive engineering laboratory. Trust me — this screen is for serious racers only. There are more options and factors than Mechwarrior 2′s Mech Lab could ever dream of having, and a gamer with enough gumption could spend hours creating the ultimate driving machine.
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