Test Drive 4

Test Drive 4 PS1 review

Test Drive 4 – What I believe to be one of the cheapest race games I’ve ever played. It is not cheap because it’s bad as I still have had a lot of fun with it. All the elements are fundamentally good; a brilliant line up of fast cars, good looking graphics for a PlayStation game and enough tracks and unlockables to keep it in the disc drive for a while.

I had this game when I was younger and remember it being insanely hard. However, I just put that down to myself being rubbish at games. I was wearing my rose-tinted nostalgia glasses recently and so looked for it on eBay and got it for the very reasonable price of £1.48 delivered. After our video review, I now see that it’s just a very, very hard game.

Is Test Drive 4 still good today?

All older racers have no choice but to have a limited draw distance and this can lead to some surprisingly unexpected corners, braking far too late and multiple head-on collisions. But with the crossroads on some of the tracks on Test Drive 4, you have zero input on whether you’re going to crash or not. You might as well flip a coin before the race to see if you’re going to smash into anything. And if you do, that’s it – you’ll be out of time; you could be in 1st place and still run out of time.

With the play time I’ve had with it over a weekend, there’s no doubt it is still a fun game but most of the fun comes from the punishment you’ll be receiving. Age has shown up the most creaking design flaw in Test Drive 4 – the rubber band AI. Thankfully that is now a ghost of gaming past. With that the best I’ve ever finished in Test Drive 4 is second last. In doing some research on YouTube, I saw a PC player showing a tool-assisted run, with no faults and perfect lines and he still finished second. Second!

Summary

In the video below, I asked Matty to play the first level to see how he would get on – just as he would if he saw it on the shelf and bought the game new – and I wanted his snap judgement. He was not impressed. My updated judgement- real cars and real locations are great to get a players enthusiasm up, but realism doesn’t have to mean “the hardest f***ing thing… in the world” and “basically, impossible”.

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