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SuperCar Challenge - hands-on

Tight on the tires of Ferrari Challenge comes this latest effort from Eutechnyx, and it’s a serious crack at addressing some of the complaints leveled at the single-make game. Ferrari Challenge was a solid, technically impressive game which was great for hardcore Ferrari fans – especially those not in a position to buy a real one.

This time around there are Supercars – over 40 of them – with nearly all the heavyweights included. Joining some of the finer Maranello motors from Ferrari Challenge are beasts from the likes of Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati and Corvette – and of course, the monstrous Ferrari FXX makes it back in for the seriously unhinged. The prospect of getting behind the virtual wheel of the Bugatti Veyron is gloriously terrifying.

We had a crack at getting round Silverstone in an Aston Martin DBR9 in the new Arcade mode. There are three new difficulty levels: Arcade, Assist Mode and Simulation. Arcade mode offers the same undiluted speed and power, but much more forgiving handling. Still, there was a frustrating tendency to fishtail far too easily, with just the slightest pressure too early on the accelerator kicking your back end out and forcing you off the track.

Assist Mode, meanwhile, whacks all the driver aids right up to full so you don’t even have to bother about braking. This allows you to learn the layout of a track without the fear of destroying your car. Simulation Mode is one for nutters, though there is the option to alter each setting. AI can also be altered to either be consistent, doing its thing regardless, or to react to how you’re getting on in the race – a kind of ‘rubber banding’ that enables you to stay in touch with the leaders, within reason.

Cars roar out of corners like they do in Ferrari Challenge. Twitchiness and weightiness make you feel that you’re behind the wheel of an expensive Supercar, and mastering it is a satisfying task.

There’s no better feeling. The Career mode from Ferrari Challenge has been overhauled to provide more excitement. It’s set-up to play more like the Career modes seen in the TOCA racing games, rather than a simplistic succession of races you’ll manage your driver. If this can provide a bit of cohesion to the already solid racing, then Supercar Challenge will be a decent alternative while we await GT5.

Mar 2, 2009