So, Thursday officially kicked off the 2010 Paris Auto Show, but the night before really started the weekend off with a bang. Jaguar unveiled one of the most nonsensical (but awesome) cars I’ve ever seen, the C-X75 concept, a hybrid powered supercar that would make a Tesla Roadster relieve itself in fear.
And you’re probably wondering, “Why are you rambling about real cars? We want virtual ones instead! The only Jaguars we want are by Atari!”, right? Well, when I heard about this car on Thursday morning, I was deep in thought about what to do this week’s game on. And then it hit me, like a ton of British Racing Green bricks. When I was doing research the Lotus game from a couple weeks back, I remembered reading something about a similar game with a Jaguar license, with the company’s most recent and easily most famous production supercar, the XJ220.
So let’s celebrate the unveiling of the XJ220’s eco-friendly child by going back and looking at that game based on the father, after the jump.
So, if the Lotus games were the Gran Turismo of the 16 bit era, I guess you could consider this its respective Forza-esque rival. Developed by Core in 1993 in an attempt to take the Amiga market from Gremlin’s popular series, as well as a market it didn’t hit in the Sega CD (obviously the version I’m covering), XJ220 tried to improve on the Lotus series’ winning formula with some tweaked gameplay, a more prestigious license, and by adding in damage and pit stops.
Well, ok, let’s be honest. Aside from the different car, changed track editor (which is more of a builder instead of a generator), and brighter graphics, it’s pretty much the same game as Lotus II, right down to the pre-race CD player. I honestly had to double check to make sure that it was a different company that developed the thing. Maybe a more fitting comparison would be to call it the Call of Duty to Lotus’ Medal of Honor? (Except without five different releases in the span of three weeks.)
But even if it is a blatant ripoff, we should still see how it stacks up, right?
So, graphically… Am I wrong for saying it KINDA reminds me of Outrun? Like, just replace the red Ferrari with a silver Jag, and turn it into a basic lap-racer instead of a checkpoint racer, and I dunno, I think you could almost interchange the two. And while this wouldn’t be a bad thing, since Outrun still looks pretty great, and while it does edge out Lotus thanks to having more detail in the cars, I dunno, 1993? With the (minimal but still somewhat better) graphical capabilities it has over the Genesis? I kinda expected more, if I’m honest. But looking past that, aside from the somewhat jarring color decisions, it looks decent enough.
Sound… Well, I can’t say very much for it. The version of the game I played did NOT come with the music (I think we all know I used an emulator for this already), so I can’t speak on that. I have heard it’s very good, though, so I’LL TAKE THE INTERWEBS’ WORD FOR IT. But just like the Lotus game, the in-game engines and such are very uninspired, and in the case of the engine, when you’re going full tilt down a straightaway, you WILL be annoyed by it. It ranks up there with the danger sound from the Pokémon and Kingdom Hearts games and the random player chatter in football games (“WE DON’T MAKE A PLAY! WE WON’T! WIN!” Uh, yeah, thanks Captain Obvious.) as one of the most annoying sounds in gaming that I’ve ever heard.
And as for the gameplay… Well, to be blunt, it controls just about the same as Lotus II. The fuel addition didn’t really play a role in shorter races, and I can’t say I played the game long enough to really do a race longer than 3 laps. The damage was really only a reason for the in-game currency to exist, at least from what I saw. I smashed up the front of my car really bad once as a test, but I was still able to attain 213 down the straightaway of the first track, and it didn’t seem to show up on the in-game model either. Again, I might be completely wrong and/or didn’t smash the car up enough to make a difference, so do correct me if I am. But, aside from that, really just a clone of Lotus in terms of control. I’m not complaining too much, since it does play well, but there’s nothing that really sets it apart aside from only having one car, and just different track layouts. (Speaking of tracks, I did NOT get to try the track editor in this one, since I needed to get the article done! Sorry!)
As for final thoughts… Well, it’s a decent little game, and with the not-so-wide selection of racers on the SCD, I can definitely recommend it. But the thing is… I expected more from this game. Other reviews and writeups I’ve seen on the game praised it heavily, and even called it better than the Lotus series. And in some ways, hey, I can agree. But to me, it just feels like a clone to capitalize on another game’s popularity and make a quick buck, and that kinda reinforces my tongue-in-cheek Call of Duty reference earlier.
But, again, it’s enjoyable for what it is, and if you’re gonna clone something, you couldn’t really go wrong with Lotus’ formula back then. In that regard, thumbs up for it.
And there ya go. Sorry for this one going out a day late, folks. I’ve been rather under the weather since Sunday, and (pardon the pun) I haven’t had the drive to really do much of anything. But there was no way I was gonna take another week off. I’ve done that one too many times already! So, yeah, better late than never, right? I just hope it was worth the wait. As always, I welcome and completely encourage any feedback or requests for games to be featured in future editions. (Next week’s game is already picked out, but still send in stuff for future weeks!) Just leave it here, or post it in the forum thread. I’ll see you all back here regular time next week, hopefully. Thanks for reading!