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4X4 Evolution 2

Score: 50%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Gathering
Developer: Terminal Reality
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

4X4 Evolution 2's graphics aren't a great leap above anything else out there on the market. In fact, they're more like a few steps back. The major problem is variety. The levels are rather bland, and don't look very different from start to end. Though they're not the sharpest of graphics, if they had thrown in a few more colors, it would have spruced the place up a bit, and not made the terrain so much of an eyesore.

To be blunt, the music is awful. It falls somewhere between hard rock and elevator music: not a pretty combination. It wouldn't have been so bad if it had only played during the beginning and menu screens, but it plays all the time, making the experience very uncomfortable for the ears. The sound effects are there, however few. Mostly, the bad music will be accompanied by engine noises and the sound of you bumping off of things. Apart from that, you'll sometimes hear wheels grinding up the dirt. Not quite a roller coaster ride of audio pleasure, but more like a dunking booth of audio torture.


4X4 Evolution 2 suffers from a very constricting identity crisis. It thinks that it is the offroad version of Gran Turismo 2, when it should have tried to do something new. Too many options and not enough gameplay beat this game into an unentertaining mass that could have been a lot better.

The core of 4X4 Evo 2 is the Career Mode. Here you get to race for money, which is later to be spent on new vehicles and parts for them. The vehicles range from Jeeps to SUV's, and from companies like Dodge to Lexus. What should have been a simple and fun part to an off-roading game turned out to be an overwhelming burden on the player. There isn't a vast difference between the vehicles, besides how they look, and the millions of parts don't seem important enough to bother figuring out what they do. In Career mode, you can either race or go on missions. There could have been a lot more missions, but they do detract from the sameness of the rest of the game. They're a bit like Smuggler's Run missions, but I wouldn't substitute this game for that one.

Apart from the Career Mode is Free Roam and Quick Race. If 4X4 Evo 2 wasn't so boring, these might have been worthwhile. Instead, they are too little, and too late to do this game any good. The races are basically 'go from point A to point B', with one or two measly shortcuts in between them. All the levels are basically the same, and soon you'll turn back to the missions for a little variety.


Without a wheel, this game is a total pain to play. It won't matter how difficult the game is, because you won't really be able to race. However, using a wheel will open up all sorts of new challenges for you. The computer AI is limited to them trying to run you off the road, but if you fall behind they usually just stay in a pack until you catch up. There isn't a difficulty setting, instead the races begin easy and progressively get harder. Not a very hard game if you actually have the patience to play through it.

Game Mechanics:

Imagine driving on the moon, and you'll get a feel for how this game controls. It seems that whatever the developers were trying to go for, they got it all backwards. The physics are messed up beyond belief. You can drive under water just fine, but getting up a hill will take you the better part of an hour. If you get sidetracked off the course, it's better to just start over, as trying to get back will be utterly futile.

Without a wheel, players are forced to use the arrow keys to drive around the levels. I don't recommend this at all, as it is neither fun nor practical. I used the Saitek R80 wheel, and while not the best controller out there, it was light-years ahead of the keyboard. I don't recommend buying this game without the investment of some sort of alternate controlling device.

4X4 Evolution 2 is a bad egg from the start. What could, and should have been a good game turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. It focuses too much on things that aren't important, and not enough on the crucial matters. Wherever it was that the developers went wrong, they took a turn for the utter worst and never quite got back on track.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/Me/2K, 400MHz processor, 16 MB video card, sound card, 8X CD-ROM, 16MB RAM, 56K+ Internet connection

Test System:

Windows 98, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows Larry Ragland 4X4 Challenge Windows Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated