Test Drive II
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Average Rating: 4.0 (7 people have rated this item.)
RAM Requirement: 512k RAM
Control: Joystick or Keyboard
Release Status: Abandonware
Developers: Distinctive Software, Inc.
System 6 Compatible: No
Hard Drive Installable: Yes
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Test Drive II was the sequel to Accolade's popular driving sim game Test Drive, that game being available for the 8-bit Apple II. You wouldn't need to play Test Drive I if you have Testt Drive II in tandem with the Super Cars add-on anyway.
Test Drive was about getting the rush you'd get from the cars you'd never be able to afford. Or legally own. That pretty much sums the game up actually. Does it really matter if you avoid crashes and parking tickets? Not really, you still get to drive really fast!
Control can be from either the joystick or keypad, using "A" as shifting up a gear (if you've selected a manual car) and "Z" shifting down. Pressing "J" from the main menu will enable joystick control. "P" pauses the game, "M" for music on and off, "S" for sound on and off and escape takes you back to the main menu. To accelerate with the keypad, all you need to do is press forwards, "8" and "2" will brake. Diagonals can be used on the keypad for direction and acceleration. If you're using a manual car, you have to release a key first before you can change gears.
The most notable feature of Test Drive II was its ability to support add-on modules for additional cars or different scenery, it certainly provided for a bit more variety than just the Porsche and Ferrari and the dull desert landscapes. Add-ons can be used from either the scenery menu or the install menu. The install menu will allow certain configurations to be made on a master boot disk, in aid of minimising disk swapping. However for the game to be run under emulation, that shouldn't be a problem.
It's great to be able to emulate this game. It's not an exceptional game actually, but under emulation you do not have to endure the unbearable loading times. Not only did the game take eons to boot, but you had to wait unbearably long periods for interceding parts of the game to load as well.
The team responsible for this port, Unlimited Software, improved with their next effort, Grand Prix Circuit in that its loading time was considerably quicker and their next conversion, Ancient Land of Ys even loaded under System 6! What they didn't improve upon however, was the graphics. They obviously had the PC more in mind when it came to converting games, because the graphics are simply not representative of what the IIGS was capable. Why they used the graphics from the PC version is a damn shame - using the excellent graphics on the Amiga version could have been excellently executed using multiple colour palettes on the IIGS. Unlimited Software used the same musical instrument set throughout their conversions, however this was better than the EGA colour palette. All in all, and since there are a lack of other racing/driving games for the IIGS, Test Drive II isn't too bad a game.