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4x4 Evolution
September 19, 2000 | Michael Eilers

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There are few games as rare as the Mac racing game. The racing game has evolved rapidly on the PC, console and arcade platforms but rarely graced Mac hardware with its presence. Now a new racing title is coming to the Mac OS, and it is both unique and ambitious. Terminal Reality's 4x4 Evolution isn't just a down-and-dirty off-road racing title with spectacular graphics, it is also a revolution. It is the first title that offers cross-platform networking between Mac, PC and Dreamcast console platforms, transparently.

Terminal Reality, creators of the Fly! civilian flight sim, knows how to do a sim, and 4x4 Evo isn't their first racing game. As a result the accuracy and physics of this game are polished and even uncanny. However, make no mistake: 4x Evo is a fun arcade racer, not a hyper-accurate sim. The cars can't crash, axles don't break, you never run out of gas (there isn't even a gauge) and if you end up on your bonnet (upside down) an invisible hand rights your truck, dropping it from the heavens like a gift from the gods. The emphasis isn't on realism, it is focusd on heart-pounding thrashin' in the dirt, and 4x4 Evo delivers that in spades.

The game's advanced graphics engine renders smoothly-contoured multitextured landscapes with ease, giving you deep gullies to roar through, huge cliffs to fall off of, and even tunnels to explore. The engine is just as capable of rendering extremely accurate 3D models of over 60 real-world vehicles as well as hundreds of both static and moving obstacles that litter the rough-and-tumble 'tracks' you race upon. It is also one of the most aesthetically pleasing racers we've ever seen, with gorgeous scenery and skies, diverse locations and uncannily accurate vehicle reproductions.

The public beta release of the game is just a very small sample of what the full game will have to offer. With 18 tracks of varying sizes and difficulty, 67 base vehicles which you can modify to your heart's content, and a track editor so you can create your own courses, 4x4 Evo promises to be much more than a simple console-inspired racer.


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