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Roadster's '98 Preview

Publisher - Titus
Developer - Titus
Platform - N64
Release Date - November 1998
Type - Racing

Judging from a 40% complete Roaders '98 we saw at E3 this year, development of Titus' next racing game is speeding along fine. The idea behind the title is simple: Give gamers a racer with everything they liked in Automobili Lamborghini and fix everything that they didn't like.

For starters, Roadsters '98 uses an improved 3D engine from its predecessor that makes the game look better, enables more cars on screen at the same time, and moves much faster. The version we saw was still a little bare and lacked roadside detail, but Titus ensures us that much of the graphics work is still ahead for the design team.

So how is Roadsters different from Lamborghini? Well, there is the first, obvious difference: Roadsters features more than 10 made-up roadsters that resemble such hip rides as the BMW Z3, Mazda Miata or Porsche Boxter -- but that's not all. Titus managed to radically increase the overall speed of the gameplay over the predecessor, giving players more of a feel what it's like to roar through Europe without having to care about speed limits. Ironic, considering that the Lamborghinis in the first game are actually much faster in real life than any of the roadsters...

Another improvement that was already visible in the unfinished game is the way the cars steer. Rather than sharing the same digital and over-sensitive feel of Lamborghini, the roadsters in the game swerve realistically and much smoother. Action racing fans will also be happy to hear that you can now powerslide around corners.

Unlike Ocean with GT 64, Titus is also expanding on the limited number of tracks of most next-generation racing games. A whopping 10 distinct tracks will be accessible off the bat, and there will even be changing times of day and weather conditions. On the effects side, you can expect the usual fare: Skid marks, smoke effects and lens flare galore.

Graphically, the current version of Roadsters still looks very similar to its predecessor, but there is no denying that the tracks are more diverse and the cars better looking with more details and specular highlighting. Taking a hint from Gran Turismo, Titus has also added a new replay mode with adjustable camera angles that makes it easy for players to determine their driving mistakes. Like in the PSX classic, the camera will push in to reveal the cars' improved detail and pan along for some exciting visuals.

Like Automobili Lamborghini, Roadsters '98 again offers a four-player split-screen vs. mode at smooth framerates, but Titus says it has yet another multiplayer mode up its sleeve that it is not yet unveiling to the public. Battle mode? Toss eggs at cars? Car wash death match? I guess we'll have to wait for the final word.

If Titus manages to pull off the same clean graphics of its first N64 racer while polishing the control and action factor, we're confident that Roadsters will be a force to be reckoned with when it's finished.