Test Drive 5

Test Drive 5 has the longer pedigree and so it has less of an excuse for being so banal. It’s clear how cheesy the game will be from the opening cinematic. Beware of any game that begins with a music video of a generic grunge band. It’s refreshing to see some older classic and muscle cars mixed in with the usual suspects: a Viper, Corvette, Jag, Mustang, and an obligatory Nissan. Civilian traffic during street races is a nice touch, but it’s not dense enough to make a difference.

13Some first person shooters are restricted to boxy interiors and are dubbed “corridor shooters.” Test Drive 5 is a perfect example of a “corridor racer” where you’re not so much driving on a track as you are a ribbon with walls on either side. Weather and nighttime effects are workaday, although it’s entertaining to see the beaded rain-on-the-windshield effect stuck on your external views: this is probably from the same school of thought that brought us lens flare. Visually the game has been upgraded, but not by much.

Your car’s relationship to the ground is tentative at best, so there’s no telling when you’ll lose grip and careen into the walls at 150mph to no ill effect. Slight bumps will send you aloft in Carmageddon-sized jumps. Odd bugs will sometimes shoot you into orbit where you’ll get a perfect view of the entire corridor, err, track.

Buggy LAN games in Test Drive 5 feature disappearing opponents, but this puts all players in first place so they can feel good about themselves. While consulting the manual about this phenomenon (which is not mentioned), you’ll find a reference to “beating the pants off grandma.” That’s a visual you probably didn’t need. Likewise, this is a game you probably don’t need.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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