TOKYO EXTREME RACER ZERO: GETTING STARTED GUIDE By Wolf Feather/Jamie Stafford FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM Initial Version Completed: December 15, 2002 Version 2.0 Completed: December 25, 2002 ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== CONTENTS Spacing and Length Permissions Introduction The Initial Car Rivals Courses BOLO General Tips Input from Others Drivetrains Braking Cornering Tuning Diagrams Contact ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== SPACING AND LENGTH For optimum readability, this driving guide should be viewed/printed using a monowidth font, such as Courier. Check for appropriate font setting by making sure the numbers and letters below line up: 1234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012 ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz This guide is approximately 31 pages long in the Macintosh version of Microsoft Word 98 using single-spaced Courier 12 font. ==================================== PERMISSIONS This guide may ONLY be posted on FeatherGuides, GameFAQs.com, PSXCodez.com, Cheatcc.com, Absolute-PlayStation.com, gamesover.com, InsidePS2Games.com, RedCoupe, CheatPlanet.com, The Cheat Empire, a2zweblinks.com, Gameguru, Games Domain, GameReactors.com, cheatingplanet.com, vgstrategies.com, CheatHeaven, IGN, ps2fantasy.com, and RobsGaming.com, neoseeker.com. Permission is granted to download and print one copy for personal use. ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== INTRODUCTION Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero is an intriguing game - similar to the PlayStation game Tokyo Highway Battle, but far more developed and with much more highway to explore. Also, the CPU-controlled Rivals are far more challenging and varied, employing a wider array of tactics in their own attempts to win each battle. One of the most interesting aspects of the game (to me) is that it shows the complexity of the highway system of a major urban area. The initial course is especially intriguing in this respect, and it is rather interesting to compare the game version of the highway to a map of Tokyo. Something that may take many players by surprise is that the Japanese road and highway system is designed to drive on the left-hand side of the roadway/highway. In Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero, this never comes directly into play. And, only in rather rare cases can the player even SEE the opposite direction of the highways (which amazingly NEVER has any traffic). This guide is intended to help those just beginning with Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero. Granted, I wrote a guide on the game in Fall 2001 (Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero: Game Guide), but this guide will also include information related to the questions I have received most often in e-mails from readers of my Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero: Game Guide. Some information in this guide comes from my Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero: Game Guide and from my General Racing/Driving Guide, both available at GameFAQs (http://www.GameFAQs.com/). ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== THE INITIAL CAR After enjoying the opening movie of the game, players are forced to purchase a car. The initial car choice is important, as it should be a vehicle with which a player will feel very comfortable immediately. Specifically, the player should choose a car type with which she or he is already familiar from other driving games. In my case, I am rather adept with 4WD vehicles in the Gran Turismo series, so my first cars were 4WD vehicles (TYPE-CE9A and TYPE-CP9A6M). Car choice in a game like this flows into two schools of thought. Since the player begins the game with a given amount of cash ($15,000), the player can either: A.) buy the most expensive car the player can afford, or B.) buy a less expensive car and start making upgrades to the car immediately. This choice is really based upon personal preference. Fortunately, most Class A cars available at the start of the game can easily defeat the first 5-10 Rivals the player encounters, so since initial income flow is practically 'guaranteed,' it really does make sense to start with the most expensive Class A car that a player can afford (the TYPE-CE9A, costing $14,750 and meaning that the player will not be able to buy any upgraded parts); this will be a powerful car initially, and the player will still attain money to make some nice upgrades to the vehicle. If a player follows the second school of thought concerning initial car selection, the first parts the player should buy are tires. The player should ALWAYS buy the best possible tires affordable at a given time. Better tires mean more traction, which means both less wheel spin (resulting in better acceleration) and better cornering at high speeds. Even if racing a higher-power car, if a player' car has better tires, the player can take advantage of corners to catch up and pass the Rival. As the player progresses through the game, if new sets of tires are made available (by beating certain Rivals), it is important to buy them immediately!!! Once the player has bought a car and made any initial upgrades in the Parts Shop, the player should go to the Settings screen and make any adjustments necessary, then leave Quest mode (saving game progress) and go to Free Run. Here, the player should learn the initial course in both directions, so that there will not be any surprises upon return to Quest mode to begin challenging other drivers. Using Free Run, the player will also be able to discern if the Settings need to be adjusted, and the player may also begin to notice which new parts to buy next once enough money has been acquired to do so. However, Free Run does not include ANY traffic on the highway, so if the player needs to make adjustments to the car, it is important to consider how the changes will affect car handling when weaving in and out of traffic. When ready, the player should then go to Time Attack and complete a few rounds there on each course. While the player may not necessarily be driving at top speed in Free Run, this WILL occur in Time Attack - after all, that IS the point of Time Attack. This will allow the player to set a few records to start with, and will also give an idea of how the car handles at top speed. it is especially important to note how to best use the car in cornering. If the player wants to tune the car (especially gear ratios, if applicable), this is perhaps the best place to do it. Now the player is ready to go back to Quest mode and take on a few Rivals!!! In Quest mode, the player can return to the Garage when necessary to add parts and change settings. Also, periodically (perhaps every 20-30 minutes), the player should save game progress (System menu), just in case the electricity goes out, little siblings squirt the console with a water gun, etc. ==================================== RIVALS The premise of Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero is rather simple: The player must locate, challenge, and defeat all illegal highway racers in Tokyo. Of course, this is easier said than done. Obviously, this will be easier at the beginning of the game, and more difficult as the game progresses. Rivals fall into various categories. The largest category is that of Gang Member. Many illegal highway racers are part of a racing gang (think of the motorcycle gang rivalry in the Akira manga and anime). Gang Members will ALWAYS accept a player's challenge (by flashing the high beam headlights when directly tailing the Rival). Should the player defeat a Gang Member, the player will be rewarded with a meager amount of money, but certainly not much. However, defeating all the members of a given gang will collectively amount to a nice sum of money overall. Note that each Gang Member bears the emblem of the gang on the car; this emblem is also shown underneath the Rival name in a battle/race. Next above the Gang Members is the Gang Leader, who bears the emblem of the gang as well. Once all the regular Gang Members of a gang have been defeated, the Gang Leader will suddenly appear behind the player (flashing the high beam headlights in the traditional challenge signal) and the battle will shortly commence. Gang Leaders award more money than Gang Members when defeated. The next category is that of the Wanderers. These are essentially ronin, lone illegal highway racers with no gang affiliations or allegiances. Most Wanderers have specific requirements that a player must first meet before they will accept a player's challenge to battle; this can range from a minimum number of miles on the player's car to racing on a particular day number (such as every eleven days) to a particular type of car. Each Wanderer has her or his own emblem. When defeated, Wanderers pay more than Gang Leaders. Above the Wanders are the Boss Gang Members. These Rivals suddenly appear behind the player (using the appropriate challenge signal) at pre-determined times throughout the game; this generally coincides with the number of Rivals the player has defeated overall to that point in the game. Boss Gang Members bear the emblem of their gangs, also pay nicely when defeated. Finally, once all regular Boss Gang Members have been defeated, the Boss Gang Leader will suddenly appear behind the player to make a challenge. Boss Gang Leaders pay VERY handsomely when defeated, but are also often extremely tricky to defeat. Note that defeating certain Rivals in the game will unlock new levels of parts in the Parts Shop. Also, defeating certain Rivals will unlock those vehicles in the Car Shop. Finally, it is possible for the player to be challenged by several Rivals in a row. After defeating the last regular Gang Member of a gang, the Gang Leader may appear. If the Gang Leader is defeated on the first attempt, a Boss Gang Member may appear. If that Rival is defeated on the first attempt, the Boss Gang Leader may appear. Working swiftly through this barrage of Rivals will result in the player receiving a MASSIVE amount of money in little time :-) ==================================== COURSES There are three 'courses' in Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero. These are not three separate courses; rather, the second course is added onto the first, and the third course is added onto the second. The initial course is essentially a circle, with a tricky alternate route along its southern edge. This initial course is comprised primarily of twists and turns, and is almost exclusively in the tunnels along its northern edge. The main part of the course along the southern edge contains two places in each direction where bridge pillars bisect the two- lane highway, so the player must memorize the location of these two pillars and be ready to take evasive actions to avoid them - however, forcing a Rival into one of these two bridge support pillars is an excellent tactic to practically guarantee winning a battle :-) The initial course's southern alternate route runs through an area known as Yaesu. This has two sections: the lower eastern section through the tunnels, and the higher western section in the open air twisting between the skyscrapers. The tunnel section is relatively high-speed, whereas the open-air section is VERY twisty and difficult for passing, which makes it a great place to maintain a lead but a TERRIBLE place to try playing catch-up. When running clockwise on the initial course, it is possible to bypass the tunnel section and gain access to the open-air section; when running counterclockwise, it is possible to again bypass the tunnel section and drop from the open-air section back to the main course. After the player has defeated three members of the Thirteen Devils Gang, the second course will be made available. However, this is not done 'directly' in the game itself. Defeating the third of the Thirteen Devils will force the player to return to the garage; the next time the player returns to the highways, the second course will then be made available. The second course is essentially a southern addition to the initial course. Much of the second course is also twisty, but its southernmost section is primarily a high-speed straight run. After the player has defeated nine members of the Thirteen Devils Gang, the third course will be made available. Again, this is not done 'directly' in the game itself. Defeating the ninth of the Thirteen Devils will force the player to return to the garage; the next time the player returns to the highways, the third and final course will then be made available. The third and final course is essentially an eastern addition to the other courses, connecting the southwestern point of the initial course with the southwestern point of the second course. The third course, is LONG, running out toward Yokohama. The northern and western lines of the third course is primarily composed of curves, whereas the southern line of the third course is mostly straight and high-speed; the northern and southern lines alternate between tunnel sections and open-air sections, and each contains one area of toll booths which can be difficult to navigate and avoid at high speeds (especially along the southern line). Because most of the highway sections in Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero feature many corners connected by rather brief straightaways, the player should probably use medium-high or high downforce, strong acceleration and braking, the highest level of tires the player can afford, and low gear ratios (which provides faster acceleration). However, for the straight, high-speed sections, longer gear ratios (providing higher top-end speed), the lowest-possible downforce, strong acceleration, and the highest level of tires the player can afford. ==================================== BOLO Be On the LookOut for the following: Vehicles with yellow flashing lights: These vehicles generally indicate that a larger vehicle ahead (generally a semi truck) is moving slowly and/or is oversized. These vehicles trail the slower/oversized vehicles by a good distance, so switch to another lane and stay there until the slow/oversized vehicle has been safely passed. Flares: One the second course opens, there will be times when flares appear on the highway. These indicate that there could be a stationary vehicle ahead in the lane where the flares are located. Note that often, there IS a stationary vehicle ahead, but if the vehicle has already been removed, the flares may still be active for a short period of time. There are no consequences for driving over the flares, but the player should be ready to take quick evasive actions in case there IS a stationary vehicle ahead in that lane. Police: Unfortunately, the police never truly appear and chase speeders. However, once the third course opens, there are several locations where police are most likely to 'appear' (by blaring the siren and flashing the lights; the monetary speed penalties are then subtracted from that night's earnings the next time the player returns to the garage). Vehicles switching lanes: In most cases, a non-participant vehicle will switch lanes in order to pass a slower vehicle in front of it. Make note of these lane switches and be prepared to make a high-speed maneuver between the lane-switching vehicle and the slower vehicle. Painted lane 'extensions:' Some of the sharper corners on the highways have painted lane 'extensions,' where the highway barrier gives way but the extra space is painted in a diagonal stripe pattern to try to keep vehicles in the main lanes. During a battle, this can be a prime place to make a pass of either a Rival or a non participant vehicle. Also, Rivals generally do not make use of the painted lane 'extensions,' so knowing where these are located on the three courses can greatly help in setting up a pass. Highway lighting: The distant lights along the highway are rather blurry and can easily trick the player when racing along at top speed, especially in the long, straight sections of highway out west. It does help a little to look as far ahead as possible and note the upcoming corners by the positioning of the streetlamps, but the red taillights are often too blurry until the player is practically IN another vehicle's back bumper. Rival locations: Once the second course opens, there will occasionally be a rival sitting stationary at a highway on-ramp near the beginning of Yaesu pointing in a counter- clockwise position. The player should continually check the map for the stationary blue dot at this location once the second course has been unlocked. ==================================== GENERAL TIPS First, most CPU-controlled Rivals have trouble cornering. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to tune a car for quick acceleration and to have the best possible tires. This also means that a car tuned in this manner will do fairly well on the initial course, but - unless the player has a car with a MASSIVE horsepower output - very poorly on long, straight stretches of highway. To the extent possible, strategically pick the starting point for each battle, even if it means tailing a Rival for several kilometers until the player reaches a section with many corners (such as the northern tunnels of the initial course). If necessary, the player can return to garage, then re-enter the competition in or just before an area with a lot of curves. In a battle, the car in the lead dictates the direction of the battle; if the player is trailing and takes a different route than the leader at a fork in the highway, the battle ends in an instant draw. Very rarely has a CPU-controlled Rival taken a different route than I took when I was in the lead, so this can be used to the player's advantage when in the lead. Best of all, if one of the forks leads to an area of the course which the player personally prefers due to better performance AND the player is in the lead, he or she should definitely take it!!! However, if the player is trailing the Rival by such a distance that the player cannot see the Rival, the player should NOT go into Yaesu; only on extremely RARE occasions will Rivals go into Yaesu if they are in the lead in a battle. Rivals DO occasionally make mistakes: ramming other vehicles, overcorrecting, hitting toll booth barriers, etc. the player must be constantly aware, and be ready to take advantage of such situations if trailing the Rival. Especially if the player is approaching the toll booths, the player should NOT tail the Rival too closely - or try to give as wide a berth as possible - in case the Rival suddenly rams a toll booth barrier and bounces backward; the same applies for the concrete lane barriers underneath the bridges in the initial course. The player should not be afraid to use 'dirty tactics' (blocking, sideswiping an opponent into a barrier or the back of another vehicle) to win. In many cases, the Rivals will use dirty tactics to stay ahead of the player. In progressing through the game, the player will NEED to use dirty tactics to gain and/or retain the lead. Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero is very richly done in terms of the visuals. It is quite easy to get lost in the realism of the game, from the traffic to the airplanes taking off and landing overhead. However, THE PLAYER MUST NOT TAKE THE EYES OFF THE ROAD, ESPECIALLY IN A BATTLE!!!!! The western highways are generally conducive to high-speed runs, due to long straightaways, multiple and wider lanes (especially in the tunnels), and generally thinner traffic. However, at the extremely high top-end speeds which are usually achieved in this area, even a light brushing with a barrier or another vehicle can reduce the player's speed just enough for to lose the lead and/or lose all chance of catching the opponent. There ARE cops in this game, located in eight different areas of the highway circuit (once all highways are opened). Never did I actually see the police car; I only heard the sirens as I sped by a highway on-ramp (where the police were probably hiding). A player will not actually get pulled over; instead, when the player returns to garage to end the night, she or he is presented with the 'Over Speed Penalty!!' screen, which lists the infractions and fines incurred in the session, and the appropriate amount is then deducted from the total remaining money. This is so impersonal, and I was REALLY hoping to be arrested by Miyuki and Natsumi!!!!! Periodically (perhaps every 20-30 minutes), the player should save game progress (System menu), just in case the electricity goes out, little siblings squirt the console with a water gun, etc. Also, in returning to the garage, the player should look to the top of the report screen to see if new parts or new levels of parts have been unlocked (by beating specific Rivals) and, if so, seriously consider acquiring some upgrades before returning to the highways. ==================================== MY CARS These are the cars and settings I have used in the game. My first car: TYPE-CE9A (Class A, 4WD, 2714lbs, 490HP, 1997cc)* Initial Cost: $14,750 Steer: +11 Acceleration: +12 Braking: +11 Brake Balance: +7 (biased to the rear) Ride Height: -15 front AND rear (lowest possible setting) Gear Ratio: Default, except Final set to 2.78 Spring Rate: -8 front and rear Damper: +4 front AND rear Turbo Boost: 1.40 (fairly high) My second car (Class A, acquired after opening the long western sections of highway): TYPE-CP9A6M (4WD, 2797lbs, 561HP, 1997cc)* Initial Cost: $28,480 Steer: +11 Acceleration: +12 Braking: +12 Brake Balance: +8 (biased to the rear) Ride Height: -15 front AND rear (lowest possible setting) Gear Ratio: Default Spring Rate: +5 front, +6 rear Damper: -7 front AND rear Turbo Boost: 1.39 (fairly high) My third car (Class A, acquired specifically to beat Speed King): TYPE-RPT7 (MR, 2764lbs, 446HP, 3560cc)** Initial Cost: $ Steer: +7 Acceleration: +12 Braking: +14 Brake Balance: +8 (biased to the rear) Ride Height: N/A Gear Ratio: 1st : 3.71 2nd : 2.61 3rd : 1.93 4th : 1.58 5th : 1.28 6th : 0.96 Final: 3.03 Spring Rate: N/A Damper: N/A Turbo Boost: N/A My current car (Class A, the Speed King car): TYPE-R34RKK (4WD, 3230lbs, 788HP, 2876cc)* Initial Cost: $525,500 Steer: +7 Acceleration: +12 Braking: +13 Brake Balance: +7 (biased to the rear) Ride Height: -15 front AND rear (lowest possible setting) Gear Ratio: 1st : 4.96 2nd : 3.29 3rd : 2.28 4th : 1.87 5th : 1.45 6th : 1.06 Final: 2.71 Spring Rate: +10 front, +11 rear Damper: -12 front AND rear Turbo Boost: 1.31 (fairly high) * Weight, horsepower, and cc based on highest possible levels of available parts (except mufflers, where highest possible horsepower muffler was selected). ** Weight, horsepower, and cc based on the following parts: Engine Level 5; Muffler and Air Cleaner Level 6; Transmission Level 3; Clutch and Differential Level 4; and Tires, Brakes, and Wheels Level 8. Also, after several days of frustration trying to beat Speed King with a number of other cars, I was successful beating Speed King the first time I tried with this car. ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== INPUT FROM OTHERS Concerning Wanderers, I have received A LOT of e-mails from many players. The following comes from J.D. (selsduk@aol.com), and is edited only for formatting purposes and minor language: From: SeLsDuk@aol.com Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2001 06:31:04 EDT Subject: ABOUT the WANDeRERS To: FEATHER7@ix.netcom.com Yeah I've been having a BIG <<>> PROB with that. I've been trying a lot of things but sometimes it'll work and sometimes it wont. Here are my suggestions: 1) Race a WANDERER with a STOCK CAR. Sometimes, they'll race you and keep on your pace. 2) Go in front of the WANDERER to see if they HIGHBEAM. If they don't sometimes it means that they don't wanna race you if you highbeam them. 3) Trial and Error. This is what me and probably anyone else who has been playing TOKYO RACER 2 (DC) or TOKYO RACER 0 (PS2). I raced a couple of KANJO-INNER WANDERERS with my PORSCHE 930 TURBO A CLASS CAR 2 951HP seeing that they dont wanna race my C CLASS 164 HP car. Its weird. I can definitely confirm J.D.'s second point, and his third point is what most players probably try by default... which makes them frustrated, and then they e-mail me!!! As for the first point concerning a stock car, how fast can the player accumulate A LOT of money for stock car and parts??? For specific information on the Wanderers, see 'Wanderer's Requirement(s) FAQ' - translated and written by HIKARU2001, Wataru, and Reiko - on GameFAQs (and probably also posted elsewhere). Also, some advice concerning the pressure-sensitive PS2 DualShock2 controller: From: 'Scott Edwards' To: FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM Subject: Your tokyo extreme racer FAQ Date: Thu, 05 Jul 2001 23:49:29 Because the X button on the PS2 controller is pressure sensitive, you can find yourself losing a lot of your acceleration and speed because you can't hold the button down that hard constantly. One option to fix this is to go into the settings in the garage and change the sensitivity of the accerlation. Alternatively, if you just use a PS1 controller without analog functions, you can effectively hold it down ALL THE WAY all the time. With appropriate modifications, Scott's tip may also be applicable to other games. Of course, the player may also wish to make use of the services of Chet (the slightly-insane gaming coach) from the 2001 Blockbuster Video advertising campaign, and specifically work on increasing thumb strength and endurance. Here is some information on a 'child-safety feature:' From: 'Kyle Morse' To: feather7@ix.netcom.com Subject: TXRZ Child Safety Feature Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 00:59:34 -0400 Tokyo Extreme Racer: Zero has a child safety feature. You know that little sibling, the one that watches you play. Well I'm sure you don't want him/her to play while you're temporarily gone. You know their going to play any way so i have found that if you pause the game in Quest mode, then press SELECT,SQUARE,TRIAGLE,AND CIRCLE at the same time. This causes the game to lock and the game is unable to to be messed with thru the controller. When you come back to unlock the game press and hold SELECT, THEN PRESS SQUARE, TRIANGLE, AND CIRCLE. Remember don't let the rugrats mess up the gig man! Also, concerning how muffler choice affects horsepower and torque, Jeremy Jones has made a rather interesting observation: Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 21:41:11 -0700 (PDT) From: Jeremy Jones Subject: About your FAQ To: FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM When I first upgraded the car, I thought it was odd how the horsepower goes down with certain higher mufflers. But I then noticed another thing, the number of engine upgrade corresponds to the number of the muffler. For example: Say I have a level 4 engine, well, the best bet would be to go with the level 4 muffler, not only is the horsepower the highest there, but so is the torque. And if I had a level 2 engine, I'd get a level 2 muffler. If you go over the number of your engine upgrade, you will (in most cases) lose horsepower and torque. Understand? I thought that was interesting that they chose to go that way. ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== DRIVETRAINS There are four common drivetrains for cars, plus the 'RR' drivetrain: 4WD: All four wheels are drive wheels. In many forms of auto racing, 4WD vehicles are banned due to the inherent advantage of using all four wheels as drive wheels (due to the added traction advantage). FF: The engine AND the drive wheels are at the front of the car. FF vehicles are fairly easy to drive, but do not generally handle high horsepower outputs very well. This type of vehicle tends to understeer. FR: The engine is in the front of the vehicle, but the rear wheels are the drive wheels. This type of car has a great tendency for oversteering, and throttle management is VERY important when exiting corners to try to prevent the oversteer condition. NASCAR uses FR vehicles. MR: The engine is located between the axles (usually just behind the driver), and the rear wheels are the drive wheels. This type of car can be a bit tricky to drive. Typical MR cars are those used in F1, CART, and IRL. In open-wheel cars (such as those in the aforementioned racing series), there is extremely little material to absorb the shock of a front-end collision in an accident, thus providing fairly little protection for the driver (especially the driver's legs); it is truly amazing that there are not more driver injuries in open-wheel cars with MR drivetrains due to this 'non-protection' issue. RR: Both the engine and the drive wheels are in the rear of the car. These cars are fairly rare. ==================================== BRAKING The first step in driving fast is knowing when, where, and how much to slow down (braking). In some games, a brake controller can be acquired or purchased, allowing the player to customize the brake strength by axle or by adjusting the bias of the brakes toward the front or the rear of the car. The use of a brake controller will affect the braking zone, as will other factors. Specifically, the car's speed on approaching a corner, the amount of fuel in the car at a given moment, the drivetrain of the car, the weight of the car, and even the car's center of gravity can all affect the braking zone. Similarly, the driving conditions - sunny, overcast, damp, wet, icy, snowy etc. - will affect the braking zone for each corner (as well as the car's ability to attain high speeds). Except for purely arcade-style games, the braking zone will differ somewhat for each car depending upon its strengths and weaknesses. It certainly helps for the player to try a Free Run or a Time Trial (if these modes exist in a given game) to learn the circuit(s) - including the braking zones. When looking for braking zones, try to find a particular stationary object near the entry of each corner; it helps tremendously if this object is far enough away from the circuit that it will not be knocked over during a race. To begin, try using the brakes when the front of the car is parallel with the chosen stationary object. If this does not slow the car enough before corner entry or if the car slows too much before reaching the corner, pick another stationary object on the following lap and try again. Whenever changes are made to the car - whether to the brake controller or to other aspects of tuning and/or parts - it would be a good idea to go back into Free Run mode and check that the braking zones still hold; if not, adjust as necessary using the method in the paragraph above. For those races which include fuel loads, the car will become progressively lighter during a race. The lesser weight can often mean a slightly shorter braking zone; however, if tire wear is excessive (especially if there have been numerous off-course excursions), that might dictate a longer braking zone. Cars with a higher horsepower output will inherently attain faster speeds, and will therefore require a longer braking zone than cars with a lower horsepower output. Try a Volkswagon New Beetle, a Mini Cooper, a Dodge Viper, a Panoz Esperante GT-1, a Corvette C5R, and an F-2002 (all in stock/base configuration) along the same area of a circuit and note how their braking zones differ. A final note on braking: To the extent possible, ALWAYS brake in a straight line. If braking only occurs when cornering, the car will likely be carrying too much speed for the corner, resulting in the car sliding, spinning, and/or flipping. (Some games purposely do not permit the car to flip, but a slide or spin can still mean the difference between winning and ending up in last position at the end of a race.) If nothing else, players should strive to become of the 'breakers' they possibly can. This will essentially force a player to become a better racer/driver in general once the player has overcome the urge to constantly run at top speed at all times with no regard for damages to self or others. Also, slowing the car appropriately will make other aspects of racing/driving easier, especially in J-turns, hairpin corners, and chicanes. ==================================== CORNERING Ideally, the best way to approach a corner is from the outside of the turn, braking well before entering the corner. At the apex (the midpoint of the corner), the car should be right up against the edge of the pavement. On corner exit, the car drifts back to the outside of the pavement and speeds off down the straightaway. So, for a right-hand turn of about ninety degrees, enter the corner from the left, come to the right to hit the apex, and drift back to the left on corner exit. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample standard corner. For corners that are less than ninety degrees, it may be possible to just barely tap the brakes - if at all - and be able to clear such corners successfully. However, the same principles of cornering apply: approach from the outside of the turn, hit the apex, and drift back outside on corner exit. For corners more than ninety degrees but well less than 180 degrees, braking will certainly be required. However, for these 'J-turns,' the apex of the corner is not the midpoint, but a point approximately two-thirds of the way around the corner. J-turns require great familiarity to know when to begin diving toward the inside of the corner and when to power to the outside on corner exit. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample J-turn. Hairpin corners are turns of approximately 180 degrees. Braking is certainly required before corner entry, and the cornering process is the same as for standard corners: Approach from the outside, drift inside to hit the apex (located at halfway around the corner, or after turning ninety degrees), and drifting back to the outside on corner exit. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample hairpin corner. If there are two corners of approximately ninety degrees each AND both corners turn in the same direction AND there is only a VERY brief straightaway between the two corners, they may be able to be treated like an extended hairpin corner. Sometimes, however, these 'U-turns' have a straightaway between the corners that is long enough to prohibit a hairpin-like treatment; in this case, drifting to the outside on exiting the first of the two corners will automatically set up the approach to the next turn. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample U-turn. FIA (the governing body of F1 racing, World Rally Championship, and other forms of international motorsport) seems to love chicanes. One common type of chicane is essentially a 'quick-flick,' where the circuit quickly edges off in one direction then realigns itself in a path parallel to the original stretch of pavement, as in the examples in the Diagrams section at the end of this guide. Here, the object is to approach the first corner from the outside, hit BOTH apexes, and drift to the outside of the second turn. FIA also seems to like the 'Bus Stop' chicane, which is essentially just a pair of quick-flicks, with the second forming the mirror image of the first, as shown in the Diagrams section at the end of this guide. Perhaps the most famous Bus Stop chicane is the chicane (which is actually called the 'Bus Stop Chicane') at Pit Entry at Spa- Francorchamps, the home of the annual Grand Prix of Belgium (F1 racing) and the host of The 24 Hours of Spa (for endurance racing). Virtually every other type of corner or corner combination encountered in racing (primarily in road racing) combines elements of the corners presented above. These complex corners and chicanes can be challenging, such as the Ascari chicane at Monza. See the Diagrams section for an idea of the formation of Ascari. However, in illegal street/highway racing, the positioning of traffic can 'create' the various corners and corner combinations mentioned here. For example, weaving in and out of traffic creates a virtual bus stop chicane (see the Diagrams section at the end of this guide). Slowing may be necessary - it often is - depending on the distance between the vehicles. See the Sample Circuit Using Some of the Above Corner Types Combines in the Diagrams section at the end of this guide; note that this is a diagram for a very technical circuit. At some race venues, 'artificial chicanes' may be created by placing cones and/or (concrete) barriers in the middle of a straightaway. One such game which used this type of chicane is the original Formula1 by Psygnosis, an F1-based PlayStation game from 1995, which used this at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve along Casino Straight (shortly after passing the final grandstands at the exit of Casino Hairpin). One thing which can change the approach to cornering is the available vision. Blind and semi-blind corners require ABSOLUTE knowledge of such corners. Here is where gamers have an advantage over real-world drivers: Gamers can (usually) change their viewpoint (camera position), which can sometimes provide a wider, clearer view of the circuit, which can be especially important when approaching semi-blind corners; real-world drivers are obviously inhibited by the design of their cars and racing helmets. Great examples of real-world blind and semi-blind corners would be Mulsanne Hump at Le Mans, Turns 14 and 15 at Albert Park, and each of the first three corners at A1-Ring. Also important to cornering - especially with long, extended corners - is the corner's radius. Most corners use an identical radius throughout their length. However, some are increasing-radius corners or decreasing-radius corners. These corners may require shifting the apex point of a corner, and almost always result in a change of speed. Decreasing-radius corners are perhaps the trickiest, because the angle of the corner becomes sharper, thus generally requiring more braking as well as more turning of the steering wheel. Increasing-radius corners are corners for which the angle becomes more and more gentle as the corner progresses; this means that drivers will generally accelerate more, harder, or faster, but such an extra burst of speed can backfire and require more braking. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for sample images of a decreasing- radius corner and an increasing-radius corner. For traditional road racing circuits, increasing-radius and decreasing-radius corners may not be too much of a problem; after several laps around one of these circuits, a driver will know where the braking and acceleration points are as well as the shifted apex point (should a shift be required). However, for stage-based rally racing, where the roads are virtually unknown and the driver knows what is ahead only because of the navigator's instructions (which - based upon notes - may or may not be absolutely correct), the unknown can cause drivers to brake more often and/or more heavily. For rally-based games, such as the Need for Speed: V-Rally series (PlayStation/PSOne) or for World Rally Championship (PlayStation2), there is often specialized vocabulary used: 'tightens' generally designates that a corner has a decreasing radius, whereas 'widens' or 'opens' indicates that a corner has an increasing radius. This need for 'extra' braking is also tempered by the fact that in much of rally racing, corners are either blind or semi-blind, due to trees, buildings, cliffs, embankments, and other obstacles to clear vision all the way around a corner. One particularly interesting aspect of cornering is one which I honestly do not know if it works in reality (I am not a real-world racer, although I would certainly LOVE the chance to attend a racing school!!!), but which works in numerous racing/driving games I have played over the years. This aspect is to use the accelerator to help with quickly and safely navigating sharp corners. This works by first BRAKING AS USUAL IN ADVANCE OF THE CORNER, then - once in the corner itself - rapidly pumping the brakes for the duration of the corner (or at least until well past the apex of the corner). The action of rapidly pumping the accelerator appears to cause the drive wheels to catch the pavement just enough to help stop or slow a sliding car, causing the non-drive wheels to continue slipping and the entire car to turn just a little faster. Using this rapid-pumping technique with the accelerator does take a little practice initially, and seems to work best with FR cars; however, once perfected, this technique can pay dividends, especially with REALLY sharp hairpin corners, such as at Sebring International Raceway. ==================================== TUNING Many racing games (primarily arcade-heavy games such as CART Fury, or arcade favorites such as Pole Position and Pole Position II, and Outrun and Turbo Outrun) can be played with absolutely no concerns about car set-ups; other racing games (such as Le Mans 24 Hours or Sports Car GT) have so few set- up options that changing anything really does not have much effect, especially at lower levels of difficulty. However, games such as F1 2002 and Gran Turismo 3 present a number of set-up options, and the novice can easily become lost in trying to discern how to change the set-up options to induce or correct certain handling characteristics of a given car. While I am certainly NOT a car expert (in a real car, I can just barely find the accelerator and the radio buttons), I can present some of the basics of various parts to help tuning novices. Note that often, when one part's setting has been changed, at least one other part's setting will also need to be changed to maintain some semblance of handling. For example, if the gearbox is changed to use long gear ratios, the aerodynamics settings will likely need to be lowered to make use of the long gear ratios (otherwise, the car will have difficulty climbing into its highest gear at the appropriate speed). For another example, if the tire pressure is increased, the car will likely require soft tires to help to keep the car on the pavement when cornering (especially at high speeds). Aerodynamics (Wings) The wings are important for downforce, the use of airflow over the front and rear of the car to keep cars from taking off like an airplane and doing a backflip like the Mazda at Le Mans. A low downforce/wing setting can produce faster speeds but decreases cornering ability, while a high setting will help tremendously with cornering at the sacrifice of straight-line speed. Brakes Brake Bias Brake bias controls the percentage of braking power going toward the front and rear of the car. A setting of 50 will provide equal braking power to the front and rear of the vehicle. A setting lower than 50 will progressively favor the front of the car in braking ability; a setting higher than 50 will progressively favor the rear of the car in braking ability. In general, brake bias should be kept within the range of 40-60. Brake Controller Unlike brake bias, the brake controller will allow for the customization of brake strength by axle. If a brake controller is available, then brake bias and brake strength are not needed. Brake Strength Independent of brake bias, brake strength controls the response of the brakes relative to the amount of pressure applied to the brake button. A low setting produces little (slow) response, while a high setting produces great (fast) response. Therefore, assuming that equal pressure is always applied to the brake button, a low setting requires that braking begin earlier than the same car and corner using a high setting in the exact same racing conditions. Gearbox Some games allow players to customize gear settings, or they provide three preset gear ratios: short, medium, and long. A short gear ratio provides impressive acceleration while sacrificing top-end speed. A long gear ratio provides excellent top-end speed (especially in a straight line), but far slower acceleration. A medium gear ratio provides the best of both extremes. Note that for racing games with a standing start, a short gear ratio will allow a car to get off the line very quickly, allowing for the player to immediately gain one or more race positions. Conversely, a high gear ratio will almost certainly cause the player to lose one or more positions at the start of a race due to the slow acceleration inherent to long gear ratios. Suspension Ride Height Like aerodynamics, ride height can help or hinder a car's performance through airflow. A low ride height setting allows less air underneath the vehicle, resulting in less aerodynamic friction to slow the car. Conversely, a high ride height setting allows more air to pass underneath the car, thus increasing air friction and slowing the car (which assists in cornering). However, car performance is NOT the only consideration when setting ride height. If ride height is set too low, the car may bottom out, especially at the top or bottom of hills or when rolling over rumble strips. For short races (4-8 laps), bottoming out may not be a significant concern. However, in longer races (especially at 32+ laps), bottoming out the car could cause mechanical problems. Bump Stop The bump stop indicates the point at which the suspension will stop its vertical travel as the car speeds around the circuit. Rumble strips, debris, and generally bumpy sections of pavement will inherently cause the car's suspension to move as the vehicle passes across non-even surfaces and obstructions. If bump stop settings are identical, the car will have no vertical movement of the suspension, meaning that any required vertical movement for different surfaces will cause the entire car to rise as the tires pass over the obstruction(s). Spring Rate A high spring rate setting will make the springs stiffer, assisting in cornering; however, if set too high, the car is likely to jump when running over rumble strips. A lower setting will keep the car from jumping, but the vehicle will have trouble when cornering. Anti-roll Bar The anti-roll bar can be stiffened to keep the car from flipping, but this will make cornering more difficult. The setting can be lowered to accommodate cornering ability, but the car will then be easier to flip in an accident. Tires Type See the Tires section above for specific information on the types and compounds of tires often seen in racing/driving games. Pressure High tire pressures result in more- rounded tires, meaning that less tire surface will actually be touching the pavement, thus inherently reducing the amount of available pavement grip (regardless of the type or compound of tire used) and producing a slightly faster car due to less friction. Low tire pressures create 'flattened' tires, putting more rubber on the pavement and creating far more friction to slow the car and assist in cornering. ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== DIAGRAMS This section contains the diagrams referred to earlier in the guide. Ascari Chicane (at Monza): * * * * * *** * ***************** Bus Stop Chicane (Variant I - Wide Chicane): ******************* ******************* * * ********* Bus Stop Chicane (Variant II - Narrow Chicane): ******************* ******************* *********** Decreasing-radius Corner: ->******************* * * * * * * <-************************* Hairpin Corner: ->***************** * <-***************** Increasing-radius Corner: ->********************** * * * * * <-******************* J-turn ******************* * * * * Quick-flicks (Variant I - Wide Chicane): ************* * ************* Quick-flicks (Variant II - Narrow Chicane): ************* ************** Sample Circuit Using Some of the Above Corner Types Combined: ******|****** ***** * |-> * * * * ** *** * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * ******** * ** * * * * * ************ ******* * ******* Standard Corner: ******************* * * * * * * * * U-turn: ->***************** * * * <-***************** Virtual Bus Stop Chicane: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Car #1 ->->->->->-> Car #3 Player Path: ->->->->->->-> Car #2 ->->->->->->-> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== CONTACT For rants, raves, etc., contact me at FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM; also, if you have enjoyed this guide and feel that it has been helpful to you, I would certainly appreciate a small donation via PayPal (http://www.paypal.com/) using the above e-mail address. To find the latest version of this and all my other PSX/PS2/DC/Mac game guides, visit FeatherGuides at http://feathersites.angelcities.com/ ==================================== ======================================================================= Wolf Feather Jamie Stafford ======================================================================= Just as there are many parts needed to make a human a human, there's a remarkable number of things needed to make an individual what they are. - Major Kusanagi, _Ghost in the Shell_ ======================================================================= What isn't remembered never happened. - _Serial Experiments Lain_ =======================================================================