July 17, 2019
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Publisher: French Touch    Genre: Sports
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: G3 @ 266 MHz    Hard Disk: 100 MB    4x CD-ROM

June 21, 2001 | Christopher Morin

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"Wind in the Face"

Thatís what all good boat sales professionals sell. They do not sell the in-board or out-board motor so much as the thrill and enjoyment that comes from owning a boat. Sound good? Well, Iíve never sold or even owned a boat, so what do I know? Be that as it may, Water Race is another addition to the burgeoning list of Mac racing titles. French Touch Software worked long and hard on this boat racing game. Let us see if their hard work paid off in a form worthy of your cash.

Water Race simulates racing speedboats in varied settings. If you ever wondered what it would be like to race a boat through the canals of Venice or the sewers under New York City, you had better buy Water Race. I doubt the Chambers of Commerce in those locales will welcome you and your Formula racing boat. Besides, if you have the cash to purchase a cigarette boat, I doubt you will be reading this review. The sensation of speed in Water Race is not as pronounced as it is in, say, Star Wars Racer. That being said, the gameís creators did work to differentiate between the many boats available. Each boat has a different shape and boost engine. The red discs that add boost to your boat are almost essential in winning each race. I won a few races using only one or two boosts, but I also was jockeying for position with the boats right behind me the entire time I lead the pack. In this, Water Race excels as a racing game.

Another area of the game where a difference was attempted is in the area of how each watercraft handles. The larger boats handle differently than the smaller, lighter boats. My experience driving the boats in the game and driving one or two real boats leaves me with the conclusion that French Touch came pretty close to simulating the control of a boat. For anyone who has piloted a watercraft, you know that it is easy to overcompensate in a turn or in speed. One small error in judgment can send your boat in a different direction than you planned. It was also my experience in Water Race that the computer-controlled boats have much better handling than do the player-controlled crafts. The other boats seemingly have an affinity for the shortest path around the course. Of course, this difference is made up by the fact that there are more turbo boosts available to the player than there are to the computer. The control of the boats, with some small flaws, is one of the best aspects of the game.

Where Water Race falls short is in the physics involved with collisions. There are no occasions, I found, where the racing boats can be capsized during the race. When a whale surfaces right below the boat, the boat is lifted in the air for a bit, but it does not capsize. Similarly, running into obstacles, such as buoys, merely stops the boat dead in its tracks. At other times, the boat goes right through the apparent obstacle. Yet, there are times in a race where being able to flip opponent boats will allow the player to advance places in the race. Also, the computer-controlled craft never collide with any stationary obstacles.


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