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Sega Touring Car Championship (Saturn) artwork

Sega Touring Car Championship (Saturn) review


"The Saturn has been home to many a racing title, mostly created by Sega's own departments. They all tend to vary in quality, but regardless, each of those titles are memorable for something. Daytona USA, the big one, is a flawed port, but still enjoyable thanks to fun play mechanics, good track design, cool bonuses, and a great, cheesy soundtrack. Sega Rally Championship is known as a solid port, despite suffering from being too much of a straight one. Manx TT has sheep. You get the point. So wh..."



The Saturn has been home to many a racing title, mostly created by Sega's own departments. They all tend to vary in quality, but regardless, each of those titles are memorable for something. Daytona USA, the big one, is a flawed port, but still enjoyable thanks to fun play mechanics, good track design, cool bonuses, and a great, cheesy soundtrack. Sega Rally Championship is known as a solid port, despite suffering from being too much of a straight one. Manx TT has sheep. You get the point. So what about Sega Touring Car Championship? It has... hmm... it has cars. That can drive on courses. Horribly, I might add. It's hard finding any redeeming qualities in this racer, because it's really that unremarkable and bad, which hurts to say due to Sega's track record with the genre. Not even its generic dance soundtrack compares to the epicness of the B-Univ tunes. In fact, it's such a bad racer, that, people who've played and hated it, have a difficult time pinpointing why it sucks.

Here's the wrong reasons:

Inconsistent Framerate!

I've played STCC more times than I should have, yet, not once did I have an issue with the framerate. I've never seen it dip, and if players were having problems with the action suddenly picking up, well... that's just the cars going really, really fast.

Ugly Graphics Make Cornering Hard to See!

Yes, the game is butt-ugly in all its pixelated glory, thanks to the developers' insistence on plastering everything with an absurd amount of texture-mapping. Apparently, someone told Sega that a game had to be crammed with detailed mapped textures to look good. Don't let those condensed images fool you, too, the game is an eyesore to look at in motion. But, really, you're going to use your unfamiliarity of track layouts as an excuse? How many racing games have you played that were tough at first because you were on a course for the first time? Exactly. With a little bit of "practice" in STCC's time attack mode, you'll learn the layouts in no time.

Okay then, so what exactly makes STCC such a terrible release? Two things: controls and AI. And they work so well together in making this a torturous experience.

Fans of the game are quick to defend the controls, saying that you need to play with the 3D Control Pad in place of the normal controller to appreciate the racing. Let me just say this: if a standard video game can't be controlled properly on the system's default pad, there's already something wrong with it. Now, with that "suggestion" in mind, I used the 3D Control Pad when I played for the first time. I was having all sorts of driving problems with it, crashing every two seconds. It got so bad, that, I thought I had nothing to lose by switching over to the D-Pad controls. Slightly different steering, yes, but with the same issues. The 3D Control Pad argument is full of crap.

If STCC had a lax difficulty curve, then things would have been at least.... slightly below average. But it's not. What makes the game so grueling is that it expects you to be absolutely flawless, as is evident with the strict AI drivers. Make one small mistake with that fancy 3D pad, and it's guaranteed you'll place in last. I mean, the kind of mistakes where you drive on the grass for a second, or slow down too much, i.e., not much. That bad. Attaining victory is made even more problematic with the sensitive handling of your car. When you want to make a careful, light turn, there's a 50% chance you'll swing violently into a wall. Even with tons of practice, and I mean tons, under my belt, perfecting the handling was a pipe dream. Shoot, even on the Grand Prix mode, where I was tasked with driving on courses for 20 laps each, I couldn't place higher than 7th place. Out of 8! And this was in a race where I was channeling my Super Ultimate Zen Powers, avoiding as many accidents as possible. To add further insult, the vehicle in first place was right behind me, passing me again, in mid-race. Then it eventually disappeared from my sights... again.

That's crazy.

All wasn't lost, however! I had an instance of brief domination in one championship, placing first at the very end. Interestingly, this seems to be the secret to victory: drive like an idiot. I somehow kept crashing into my opponents in this particular race, which helped me climb the ranks in each course. Shockingly, I managed to reach the final course for the first time using this accidental tactic. I figured I was going to fail, since I didn't know the layout, but the darnedest thing happened. It was so insane, I had to record it:



Maybe this is the memorable aspect of Sega Touring Car Championship?

Rating: 1/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (January 30, 2011)

Out of context, PickHut admits the cutscene video in his Starship Damrey review looks neat, but within the setting of the game, it's just embarrassing.

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