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Whatever happened to normal cars?

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Sega's big Xbox 360 hope Full Auto also thinks so. This takes the city-street racing blueprint and adds not just enormous guns but a Prince of Persia-style time-rewind function. Again, the result is more about decking out your ride outrageously, going wild and exploding than it is about avoiding tyre wear in the car your gran drives.

Atari's ambitious PC spank-'em-up Crashday is another vote for silliness. Though doing incredible justice to authentic-looking cars - everything from Hummers to Lamborghinis - with its beautiful visuals, the game is festooned with corkscrew ramps, bolt-on weaponry and heavy damage.

And even TOCA Race Driver 3 thinks a little wild fun is worth more than a lot of realism. Having evolved from its simulation roots to the extent of dumping all the boring front-wheel drive cars - a group which includes the TOCA cars of the title - it's now adding monster trucks, big air-grabbing buggies, NASCAR, karts and even lawnmowers to (mostly) high-speed, impact-heavy racing.

With no confirmed release date for Gran Turismo on PSP - let alone the next-gen 'Vision GT' game for PS3 - the competition has plenty of time to establish and perfect its mad, mad worlds. Based on its impeccable history, any new Gran Turismo is certain to look and feel stunning while you're in control of a powerful car. It's just that, these days, gamers may well be more interested in what happens once you've lost control.

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