First of all the game is called Hardcore 4×4 and its a PS1 racing game created by Gremlin Interactive where you drive Trucks around various offroad tracks.
I decided to review this game in particular when i stumbled upon it while looking at all the PS1 games i have. I don’t usually jump to review something but the absolutely huge case it came in struck me as unique (and rather stupid) so i decided to play it on my PC via emulators (keep this in mind when i mention controls).
After the Obligatory PS1 and Developer (aka Gremlin) Logo’s as well as a simple Language Select you find yourself on the main menu and are instantly greeted with a slightly cool Guitar tune (which sadly is quite short like most PS1 era tunes. By accidentally staying on this menu for a little too long i triggered a game demo which showed something rather disturbing. The AI driver in the demo couldn’t drive without bumping into walls and even outright crashes at some point (note that the driver was on their own too). It was definitely not what you’d want to get your first impression from.
In the Options there are the usual things like Volume, Controller config and language select as well as stuff related to this kind of game like Steering Strength and Commentary toggle. I personally think being able to change the buttons around is always a nice addition to a game (even if emulators make it kinda pointless). There was also a credits option there which is something i don’t really get since there was plenty of room on the main menu for it.
As soon as you press start to play the actual game you are met with a large menu with quite a variety of customisation options from Race type, Truck, Track, Class (difficulty), Weather and Transmission. There were also options for memory cards which was something else that probably could’ve of went on the main menu.
As a start i decided to keep the default things (Truck: Bush Master, Track: Dynamite Pass, Novice Class and Good Daytime Weather) while setting the Race type to Time Trial so i didn’t have the horrible looking AI from earlier. When clicking Start Race with Time Trial selected you are taken to a seperate screen with even more options for you to choose like how many other drivers you want. You can also rename the drivers which i had a little bit too much fun with (lets just say everyone was defeated by a mysterious person who goes by the completely random name of ‘I ♥ Cats’).
Ingame i found that although the road was bumpy like you’d expect in an offroad racer it tended to cause the controls to be slightly harder and sometimes causing you to veer sharply into a wall which is obviously annoying. The surprisngly small width of the first track didn’t help either. Also the commentator, who i thought was a cool addition at first, quickly became annoying as he tended to repeat things alot of the time.
I decided that the second race that i’d write about in this review should be quite different from the first so i changed most of the settings to a Single Race in Ground Zero Gulch at Night during Severe Weather using the Side Winder Truck. Two things i noticed straight away was the fact that the map was larger and while the rain was ok i was hit with the disappointing fact the games idea of ‘severe’ weather was simply rain with no thunder or lightning at all. The AI also ended up as horrible as i first suspected. I know it was set to Novice and all (which is this game’s normal) but they were just a joke only having the slightest chance of passing you if you manage to have a massive crash (smaller crashes are totally fine). In fact, even when they pass you they actually manage to crash themselves letting you easily take 1st place back (if you ever manage to lose it). I could of kept going until i unlocked the next class but it wasn’t worth it.
Visuals: Obviously being from PS1 era they look quite horrible but i’d say they were ok for the time this game was made.
Sound: The music was ok but for some reason either by Game Design or Glitch there was no music in the actual races leaving you solely with Generic Truck noises, The Repetitive Commentator (if on) and rain (if ‘severe’ weather is selected).
Interface: The interface for the selection screen is actually great if you ignore the absolutely horrible color scheme they chose. The other menu’s are rather basic and not worth mentioning.
Lasting Appeal: Considering you get tired of the announcer in one race and the AI is incredibly stupid the game doesn’t even appeal to me long enough to unlock the next class and i probably won’t go back to it either.
This game like alot of others in the PS1 era is another product of practically everything trying to make a game. Its just so generic and this review will probably be the only reminder of its rather pointless existence as i’ll probably forget about it in a few days.