Screamer 2

3_1As a game series that can trace its origins back to the coin-op arcade, Screamer 2 is noteworthy for having raised the bar as far as graphical detail. Four visually intense courses are included — England, Colombia, Egypt, and California — with beautiful touches everywhere; from a flock of birds taking off as your car rounds a bend in a quaint European village, to bowling over crates and barrels while driving through Cairo. The level of graphical detail almost makes you forgive the fact that there are so few tracks.

Fortunately, Screamer 2 is not just mere eye candy. Borrowing heavily from the gameplay of Sega Rally, to win you’ll need to master “Power Slides,” a technique practiced by pro racers as you round the corners on this backroad selection of courses. To power slide, brake sharply while turning into a curve, and then whack the gas pedal to recover from the resulting skid. This takes a good bit of experimentation, but works beautifully once you’ve got it down and can pull it off on a regular basis. You’ll need this particular skill when competing against the relentless computer challengers (they drive exceptionally well, even on the easy level), and you may get left in the dust if you make a mistake in your steering.

Of course, if you’re sick of continually getting your ass kicked by the computer, you have ample opportunity to practice by using the “Time Attack” or “Free Run” modes that eliminate direct competition as you race solo against the clock. And you always have the chance to beat up on an equally pathetic friend, using the built-in multi-player support for a modem or local area network.

Screamer 2 includes four racing teams with four cars each. Unfortunately, these cars are identical across teams, and a little more variety in vehicles types would have been appreciated. Gearheads will get to tinker with these default vehicles by using the “Garage” screen where you can modify handling, tire pressure, and other customizations, but a wider range of pre-built cars should’ve been provided.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, DOS

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