I decided i’d follow up my last Retro Review with another racing game and since almost everyone knows about the Gran Turismo series. For those who don’t know the first Gran Turismo game was created and published first in japan back in 1997 by Sony Computer Entertainment (although the games development group later established themselves as ‘Polyphony Digital’ the next year just before the western release). In fact its supposedly the best selling PS1 game of all time.
After the obligatory logos you are instantly treated to quite a nice opening video with a good tune which i watched, its not really that necessary in a game of this type but it was a nice addition. Even the Language select screen had a nice tune in the background however this made the lack of music in the main menu much more disappointing that it could of been. Before actually checking out the menu i decided to leave it for a while to see if t here was any demo play and to my enjoyment there was. That was when i first saw this games surprisingly good visuals for a PS1 game especially compared to the last game i had reviewed. The demo play even had music with vocals in the background which is always a cool thing to have in an old game (even if the quality wasn’t exactly that good because of the games age. It was definitely the kind of first impression i had hoped for in a game.
Looking at the menu itself I saw there were Quick Arcade, Replay Theatre, Gran Turismo and Options. At first i decided i’d ignore Quick Arcade as it was kind of obvious what it did and decided to do the obvious thing and check out what options were available first.
The options included a massive amount of customisability, it hadLaps, Tyre Damge, Handicap, Volume Control, Vibration, View Status options, control config, analog settings and even the ability to listen to any of the 10 music tracks that are in the game. Being quite a dumb person i left all of the options alone so i didn’t do anything stupid like making the game harder.
I then decided to go straight to Gran Turismo mode and what i saw actually surprised me quite alot (pictured above). Obviously the first thing i picked was the car wash but it didn’t let me wash my car… because i didn’t own one yet. Turned out the large amount of Car manufacturers on the map weren’t there for nothing but all are basically shops you can spend your credits in. Being an incredibly lazy person i just chose random stuff and ended up with a Used Mazda Savanna RX-7 GT-X (with the ‘Brave Blue Mica’ paint job). Considering some games force you to use a certain car at the start i found the choice rather amazing.
I then proceeded to try the license test which turns out to be a nicely structured tutorial with each part of the tutorial even having its own ranking system from Bronze to gold for the completionists out there. Unlike other racing games i decided to keep 1st person on considering the type of racing game it is. However it turns out that the tests are unbelievably difficult needing you to be almost perfect in order to pass them which caused me to finally give up after my billionth try but i wasn’t just going to stop playing the game then and decided i’d simply have a race with Quick Arcade instead.
After choosing a single race on easy as well as a random Track/Car i proceeded to do exactly what i thought i’d do; Lose Horribly (although it was still fun). It was also when i finally got to see this games Replay System and it is totally awesome:
It lets you choose what car you want the camera to focus on as well as if you want a 3rd person view (with detailed info on/off) or a 1st person mode. However i found the 3rd person mode much better than 1st person as you get different camera angles (seen above) that make watching the race almost as awesome as actually playing it.
Visuals: I’m no expert but i’m sure these graphics are highly impressive for a PS1.
Sound: The sound was quite good, the car was a little bit load at times but considering this game was made to be as realistic as possible you can ignore it.
Interface: Despite the massive amount of customisability i never felt confused about any of the menus at all.
Lasting Appeal: Despite the fact that there are tonnes of sequels you could play instead i wouldn’t mind going back to this one day and trying to beat those damn License tests.
If you’re a fan of Racing games/Retrogaming and you want to know why Gran Turismo got so damn popular i suggest you get your hands on this game and give it a try (even with emulators if you have to).
Emulator Keyboard config: |D-Pad to WASD| Select=Z|Start=X|X=Space|Square=LeftShift|Circle=F|Triangle=R|L1=Q|L2=1|R1=E|R2=4|
WASD is movement, Space and Left Shift are Accelerate and Brake while the other buttons aren’t actually that important.