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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Deep Forest Raceway

John Marine | 5:08 PM | | | | | | |
The challenge of Deep Forest is to "experience racing through a forest" (to quote Gran Turismo 1). Deep Forest has long been a formidable course combining both rhythm-based sections with a lovely forest setting. It has been featured in every Gran Turismo game including Tourist Trophy. This is one of many true original courses in Gran Turismo history. This blog post is about the unique racing challenge known as Deep Forest.

--- Deep Forest Raceway ---
Deep Forest
^ (picture from Gran Turismo 2)
"Experience racing through a forest." -Gran Turismo 1

Deep Forest Raceway had always been under sunset conditions. It used to be that Deep Forest was a romp through a forest. The track is not exactly about a thick and dense forest, but it certainly lives up to its billing as being a race track through a forest. High trees and a very natural landscape make this course quite the task to race. The undulations in the road will easily unnerve your car if set up poorly. The backstretch features a tunnel along with a nice little look at the My favorite part of Deep Forest is the final corner, which you could aggressively take at full speed if you got a good line set up. This track can be quite difficult to race on in a mid-engine car, so take this into consideration if racing this course in a mid-engine car.

You briefly head up a hill and come back down as you enter Turn 1. The first corner comes up quickly, but smoothens out as you go further into this left-hand corner. As you head up the hill, the many switchbacks and chicanes heading into the first tunnel will unnerve you and your car. A smooth right takes you into the second tunnel. Coming out of that second tunnel, you'll go downhill and face a left-hand corner followed by a smooth uphill right followed by a seemingly long left-hand corner. Then, another left follows that leads onto the backstretch. The backstretch features a gradual climb in elevation that goes back down as you enter the third tunnel, then slightly uphill heading into the fourth tunnel. After the fourth tunnel, light to moderate braking is needed. You don't need to do any more hard braking unless you have to. Go full speed down the following straight. Depending on your line and how well your car can take high-speed corners, you can let off the throttle a bit and take the final corner at high speed. Climb up the hill and back down, and you've completed a lap of Deep Forest!

Deep Forest: Gran Turismos 1 and 2.

If you go on Gran Turismo 2, Deep Forest is somehow a German race track. Both GT1 and GT2 have this track as a track at sunset with plenty of high trees.

Deep Forest: Gran Turismo 3.

Gran Turismo 3 still has a sunset race around Deep Forest, but only in the Reverse direction. GT3 signaled the current daytime races around Deep Forest. Part of me tends to miss racing this course at sunset. Also, the sunset is more like early evening than a true sunset race. The capabilities of the PS2 allows for some more dramatic elements. A nice touch is how the sun rays illuminate through the trees. You can see a lot more high hills and mountains with many trees on them in the distance. The third tunnel has some openings on the left side so you can have a small glimpse at the trees on the other side of the river or stream. The experience of Deep Forest is more natural and more beautiful than in GT1 or GT2.

Deep Forest: Gran Turismo 4.

Gran Turismo 4 was a huge makeover of Deep Forest. The bad news, however, is that a lot of the trees that gave Deep Forest its character were gone. A good deal of deforestation took form. In essence, the track was slowly starting to feel more like a proper racing facility rather than a fantasy masterpiece. GT3 was the last GT game to feature sunset settings around Deep Forest. In addition to a lot of missing trees, the lines on the road have mostly been removed, making Deep Forest look and feel even more like a proper road racing circuit. The same configuration could be raced in Gran Turismo PSP and Tourist Trophy.

Deep Forest: Gran Turismo 5 (on impressions).

I don't have a PS3 as of this blog post. It seems like Deep Forest in GT5 is mostly unchanged since GT4, only there seems to be even fewer trees at certain points. Is this a sign of the times that even the video game world has problems with the environment?

I think there are a lot of people who hate fantasy courses just because they seem too unreal or because a race track is too incredulous to be believable. Deep Forest is surely a race track that tests you, whether it's a real course or not. It is as much of a staple to Gran Turismo than almost any other course. Have to wonder what the future would hold for a future Gran Turismo with this track. There has NEVER been a Deep Forest endurance. Could it be possible to have maybe a six-hour race going from afternoon to the late evening around Deep Forest? Would Deep Forest actually retain its forest atmosphere, or is this track somehow losing its natural character to where there are more grandstands and fancy buildings than an actual forest? Could it be possible to race this course in wet conditions, or would wet racing be too much a nightmare around Deep Forest? Maybe could some night racing happen around this place (granted you will need a bunch of flood lights)? Either way, Deep Forest will surely challenge you. It has always challenged Gran Turismo racers and Tourist Trophy riders since the late 1990s.

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