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TOCA 2 (PS1)

TOCA 2: Touring Car Challenge, TOCA 2 Touring Cars PSX
Genre: Racing / driving, Simulation
Perspective: 1st-person, 3rd-person
Vehicular: Automobile, Track racing, Vehicle simulator
Published by: Codemasters Software Company Limited
Developed by: Codemasters Software Company Limited
Released: 1999
Platform: PlayStation (PSX, PS1)

The first version of this game only in Europe was sold in a huge circulation - more than 1,000,000 copies. This game was in third place after the famous FIFA game: Roard To World Cup 98 and Tomb Rider 2, with the tireless Lara Croft. By the way, TOCA remained at the top of the bestseller list for a very long time. Moreover, as if the title of bestseller was not enough, TOCA soon won the title of the best racing game for the PlayStation, as well as the sympathy prize in Europe. Everyone will agree that games of this class do not roll on the road. TOCA 2 is a sports racing in GT cars. In contrast to the sterile world of Formula 1, where cutting off the enemy is either not sporting, or even punishable, in TOCA, cutting, blocking and pushing the cars of other pilots is as valuable as taking turns clearly and rushing at full speed in straight lines. ... Instead of rushing in a straight line at full speed, like a Formula 1 car, which consists only of wings and an engine, or in cars like Indykar, in a rally car you can ride such "normal" cars as a Ford Mondeo or Opel Vectra. Do you think the game is too homely? Not at all! Under the skin of your car, a powerful engine nests, which is capable of throwing the car forward, as if it were a rocket, showing extremely high speeds on the track. And do not forget that such things as hard bumpers, collisions, cars overturned on the roof, pilots flew off the track - all this is the most common occurrence. For those who are not yet familiar with this sport, I will explain that the race here is held according to slightly different rules than Formula 1. Cars pass qualification, after which those who got the best time take places in front and ahead, and twice. One of the races is a sprint, and the other is longer. In each of them, the winner will receive fifteen points, while the tenth place will be awarded one point, in addition, the pilot who qualifies first will receive another additional point. Despite the fact that the Championship consists of thirteen stages (that is, a total of twenty-six races, a pair at each stage), there are only eight tracks. This means that tracks such as Brede Hatch and Silverstone are repeated later in the season.

Considering that the sport itself is not very popular, the success of the first version of the TOCA game seemed random and unusual to many, but the success of TOCA 2 was quite predictable. A lot of all sorts of clever tricks and innovations, which are very rich in the game, among which not the least is the wonderful high resolution mode, which provides an excellent picture on the screen, all the details of which look much more convincing and realistic. The visual acuity has improved dramatically compared to the first version of the game, which only had a resolution of 240x320, whereas now the 512x240 mode became possible. In high-resolution mode, the processor of the set-top box has to withstand only a slightly higher load than when working at normal resolution, the main problem is in the RAM, which is usually not enough to load good graphics. All this becomes especially relevant if you provide parallel display of images of sixteen completely different machines. At the same time, the experience of the artists during the creation of the first TOCA allowed them to use textures more economically, thereby freeing up a certain amount of vital space. The high resolution mode is seen as something absolutely necessary, as the extra detail allows you to see the trail much better and further. Thus, you manage to follow the cars and the turns that await you ahead without any problems, much better than in the first version of the game. The additional increase in screen resolution also highlights very well the complex system of real-time lights, special effects, and the interior of the car, everything inside looks much more distinct. In addition, it was also possible to slightly increase the frame rate to the screen - now TOCA produces at least 30 frames per second and a staggering 60 frames per second in qualification. Compare this with the first TOCA, in which the speed rarely reached 30 frames, and sometimes even dropped to 10. Unlike the PC in the PlayStation, everything is done tightly, the graphics card, cache and other delights are fixed - no one is engaged in the upgrade. This means that developers manage to make more and more perfect games only due to the fact that the code is made more economical, all the code must fit into the cache, all textures into the graphics cache, static variables into their own memory area, etc. So, for example, earlier the drawing driver and the code of the improved physics of the machine when displayed on the screen took one and a half frames. By using more efficient methods, it was possible to compress and cache the code in such a way that it now takes no more than half a frame. The new graphics mode and improved system of updating the image on the screen give the game every right to feel like an unrivaled hit. It can be called the absolute standard of the quality of the racing games of the season - the reward for this record popularity of the game on New Year's Eve. After marveling at the fine finish of the cars, the perfect background rendering, soon your attention will be drawn to the tiny pilot sitting in the cockpit. You will be able to enjoy the view of the dashboard, steering wheel and its little hands, and if you look at the car from the outside, you can see the little guy you are driving - note that the windows of the cars are now transparent and breakable. When you rush along the tracks, you can see how this guy desperately twists the steering wheel on tight turns, how he is thrown out of the car in an accident, or how he is thrown around the cabin at the moment of a collision. Sometimes he even shakes his fist at his rivals when they manage to cut and overtake him. This is perhaps the most remarkable trait of his character.

TOCA is a very tough sport, the cars in the game are made in such a way that they can be visibly damaged, so that they can get holes and dents. The collision system of the first game, in which all cars at the finish line were intact, was completely changed. Bumpers, fenders and other parts of the body can now fly off as a result of collisions, and it looks pretty funny, your torn off bumper flies past you in the air and crashes into the windshield of the car behind. In addition, now the driving characteristics of the car depend on the damage you have received - you must agree that a battered car should not rush at the same speed as a new one, rolled off the assembly line, whose aerodynamics have not yet been changed. Now you realize how many problems can be dealt with with the help of a gearbox - but if your engine is damaged and the gearbox does not work, you will have to accelerate in a completely unnatural way. Moreover, the artificial intelligence of computer pilots has also been changed in a very serious way, in order to give you a more interesting and equal competition, so that you no longer feel like miserable beginners or relaxed old people are opposing you. However, the original artificial intelligence was not bad, but there is no limit to perfection. The developers of TOCA 2 really wanted the cars in this game to act more intelligently, so that they do not crash into you so often. Greater selectivity has been added, so that now computer cars are scurrying all over the track, trying to find a hole that will allow them to slip past other cars and come forward. In addition, when you overtake someone in a circle, then he gives you the way, obeying sports ethics, instead of slowing you down.

Strategy will now play a much greater role in the game, since computer players have already learned how to choose the most reasonable moment in order to enter the pit stop, they will figure out what kind of tires to put on the race, how to repair their car, etc. You can also please with the fact that cars in TOCA 2 will drive in a more extended group, so you will have someone to overtake at any time. An even more significant improvement has been made in the area of ​​audio. Whereas in the first TOCA there was only one braking sound, as well as one surface slip sound, for each car, now there is a sound for each wheel, moreover, the computer can mix the sound from all wheels and output it through four channels, grinding and shaking turn out to be very convincing. You can have even more tire fun if you tackle independent car suspension, and then learn that the weather during the race can change, so in the middle of the race you will get rain and clouds instead of the shining sun and you will definitely need to change tires at the first pit stop. According to the developers, in order to gradually change the weather during the race, you just need to change the background illumination so that noon turns into a sunset. As for the pit stops themselves, in order to pass them in real time - that is, in less than 10 seconds, you will need to learn how to cope with several buttons by sitting inside the car and choosing the combinations of tires, fuel and repairs you need. ... If you hesitate with a choice, you will lose precious seconds before you have time to get back on the track.

In the previous version of the game, players had to suffer with a clearly regulated scheme, any deviations from which were considered sedition. Championship means Championship, which means that you fall into a very tight framework. Now you are given much more choice. All cars and all tracks are at your disposal, for this you just need to open the menus, which give the game a lot of opportunities. Once you start playing, you have a wealth of things like Dual Shock and analog controls. It should also be noted that the game is somewhat better if you use the digital directions panel, which allows you to accurately determine the angle of rotation that you need at a given speed - then the turns are more realistic. In fact, driving cars is not as easy as it used to be - this is largely due to the fact that the cars are now mostly front-wheel drive. In addition, cars will now be much less likely to go into the famous TOCA style rotation, as they often did before. If you can sharply twist the steering wheel at the right moment, you will be able to return your bad motor to its place.

The game features all eight tracks on which the championship is actually held - Thruxton, Silverstone, Donington Park, Brand Hatch, Alton Park, Croft, Snetterton, Knockhill. Everything is the same as last year, isn't it, though the order of the stages has changed somewhat. Fortunately, the limited number of real tracks is more than compensated for by the addition of eight fantastic tracks, designed by cunning designers who have strained their imaginations and made very good races. These tracks will surely inspire those who find it hard to run on the same track every day, or who have become too familiar with the tracks of the real Championship since the last time. The developers mention Lavaland, an additional track that was included in the first version of the game literally at the last minute. It looked pretty cute, but it was difficult to drive on it. This time, all the additional tracks in the game have been designed very carefully, so that now every player on each track will have a unique path, unlike anything seen before. You can ride through the Scottish forest, where there are many options for movement, but if you prefer civilized places, then at your service is an American city, which has absolutely everything from a shopping center to a gas station. You can even find the French Alps on the map, ride on the German Autobahns or an equally attractive Bavarian town. There is also an additional track in the form of a test track, which allows beginners to learn how to choose their configuration. The test track includes eight different sections for the player to choose. There you can practice your cornering, braking skills, test your suspension, acceleration, etc. The main idea was to give the player as many tracks as possible to try out different driving styles. All sections of the training track are in themselves quite worthy separate stages that can give you a lot of pleasure. All this will give you a very good supply of vivacity and fun - such is the glorious combination of excellent races with excellent tracks and drivers. So all fans of the first version of the game will simply fall from what they get their hands on. TOCA 2 is not just a second TOCA - it is TOCA times two.