The Secret of Monkey Island
What do we think about the game?
rnlfKeymasterPodcasterApril 8, 2017 at 2:42 pm #248
I raced all the tracks and I think I’ve played enough to have made up my mind about the game.
The game is fun to play, especially competitively like we do in the scoreboard. It also feels old though. The physics model is a crude approximation of a physics model. You do get some feedback before the car is going to break out, but more often than not it’s hard to tell when you’re overdoing it. And there is no way to rescue yourself from spinning out once it starts. Comparing that to a modern game, where drifting is a possibility, this feels really old.
Another thing is the damage model: Hit another car a tiny bit and you’re out. It’s also hard to tell how close you actually are to the other car. Overtaking is basically impossible.
The PC speaker sound is a bit monotonous and seems to hit some resonant frequency on my 486 somewhere when maxing out the Ferrari’s speed: A high pitched, horrible noise appears in that case.
The game does not innovate a lot, compared to older games like Test Drive, it even loses some interesting aspects like refueling (even if that was a joke in Test Drive, too ;-)).
The tires tend to get dirty when driving over grass, but that doesn’t seem to change the physics of the car at all. But as soon as the use meter in the cockpit hits the right side, you’re out.
I think they should have been able to make a few more interesting things back in the day.
All in all, I would say the game is mainly interesting for nostalgic and competitive gaming reasons. I don’t think I would play a whole lot of it if it wasn’t for DGC.
TijnKeymasterPodcasterApril 16, 2017 at 9:34 pm #305
As for me, the game is pretty much how I remember it from back when I played it as a kid. The game is rather basic, but offers just enough variety to keep you busy for a while. Main difference between now and back then, is that I always used to play on the easiest difficulty, where as now it’s quite the opposite and I’m always playing on level 5. I suppose these 25 years weren’t for nothing, as I’ve acquired some racing skills which I was lacking back then, hehe 😛
At first I was enjoying doing championships quite a bit. It’s not that easy to get yourself through qualifying and a race without hurting yourself, so that’s a nice challenge. Winning a championship doesn’t mean you have to win all races. In fact, you don’t have to win any races, as long as you score more points than anyone else in the end. Combined with the save/load feature, it’s quite doable, even though it can be quite challenging at first to make sure you don’t crash out, because a single contact with another car will mean the end of the race.
After a while, you start to notice however that the AI isn’t actually that good. Once you know a track by heart, it’s not that hard to get a pole position. And once you start on the first row of the grid, a race win is almost guaranteed. So after a while, racing the AI gets old and loses its appeal, because the fun (at least to me) is mostly in overtaking, which doesn’t happen if you’re at the front 😀
I feel the scoreboard does give the game a lot of extra replayability though, because now you’re not competing against dumb AIs, but against real humans. There aren’t a lot of things I enjoy as much in gaming as it is racing against other people. Even though we are only doing time trials (sadly GPC has no multiplayer racing features), beating someone’s time still feels much more exciting to me than winning from any AI.
My main complaint now is that I wish the game would give me better access to the built-in scoreboard. It only seems to appear after a session, but there’s no way to access it directly?
Otherwise GPC seems to be a pretty solid racer, especially for the time. Of course the format has since been massively improved upon, and I must say I enjoy some other racing games from that era such as Test Drive II quite a bit more, but still. To me, the few things that GPC offers are well done and still quite enjoyable.
TijnKeymasterPodcasterApril 23, 2017 at 9:06 pm #314
I just realised the other day that the spinning out mechanic of GPC is one of the things that makes this game kinda cool. I understand the feedback isn’t really there, so you can’t tell when it will happen, which doesn’t make it a great simulation game. But it does provide a nice upper limit to prevent going max speed into a corner. It is precisely because it’s kind of hard to predict, that it makes the game quite exciting.
Especially in the McLaren, if you’re pushing for good lap times, over trying to overtake another car before a corner, being scared of spinning out is what provides the thrill, I feel 😀
toastyParticipantPodcasterApril 28, 2017 at 8:20 am #319
I figure it’s about time I posted something about the game 🙂
I’ve enjoyed it a *lot* more than I expected. I found the race mode a bit weak and clunky (as mentioned, judging distances between cars is incredibly hard, and the damage incurred isn’t very realistic), but the multiplayer aspect has been really entertaining (thanks for the scoreboard, Tijn)!
The simulation may not be completely realistic but had enough subtleties that I was frequently realizing new tricks and strategies for various tracks. I even learned a lot about real racing! The cars also offer sufficient variation to suit several different racing styles, and on some tracks (say, Brazil, Monaco, Japan, Detroit) I think any of them could come out on top.
The graphics are quite basic (which is fine in general, IMO), but can be slightly disorientating at lower speeds. The rendering seems to change once you hit higher speeds, which has less of a nauseating effect and is good motivation to keep the speed up 😀
rnlfKeymasterPodcasterApril 28, 2017 at 8:56 am #320
Toasty, that’s mostly because they slow down the engine at lower speeds. We assume it has to do with how they implement the fixed point math, but so far I’ve been unable to find a confirmation about that.
AndriesWParticipantPodcasterMay 1, 2017 at 12:12 am #334
In some manual of the game it says: “Damage to your car – tire wear, chassis abuse – affects your braking and handling ability.”
But it doesn’t.
AndriesWParticipantPodcasterMay 1, 2017 at 12:21 am #335
There is a way to check the built-in scoreboard without having to drive for it. Push the key C when you have selected a circuit in the Track Selection Screen.
To see your fastest laps be sure that you have selected Practice. When your selection was Single Race the scoreboard will show your best average lap times in races.
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