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Monday, September 16, 2013

Enthusia Professional Racing

John B. Marine | 7:22 PM | |
Enthusia Professional Racing was never a direct threat to Gran Turismo. What this game was, however, was a surprising racing game that has its fair share of positives despite some lofty negatives. Many people severely overlooked this game while most sim racing fans appreciated the level of driving realism this game provides. This may be one of the most underrated racing games of all time. This was only available for the PlayStation 2, meaning its primary rival was Gran Turismo 4. I'm going to offer my own review of this game and my own personal feelings about this game. This will launch a new blog label- Enthusia Professional Racing.

What game? Here's the box art:

Enthusia Professional Racing
^ from: - Enthusia Professional Racing, exclusively for the PlayStation 2.


This blog post was initially created on my main blog- John's Blog Space- on April 4, 2010. It has been extensively edited to suit this blog.

About the Label: "Enthusia"

Enthusia Professional Racing will be shortened to "Enthusia." Each post under this label features either resources or commentary regarding EPR. I want to try to offer as many different resources and other material regarding Enthusia under this label.

--- "Enthusia Professional Racing" at a Glance ---

While Enthusia looks nowhere as pretty as Gran Turismo, and while it doesn't have damage, Enthusia is fairly solid for a racing game. Enthusia is more along the lines of a solid driving experience than even Gran Turismo provides. The game features a very interesting driving system. There are a nice variety of cars, more than 200. These consist of everything from mini cars to vans to sports cars. Some race cars are also available. Every track is fictional except Tsukuba and the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Speediapolis Ring is obviously the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in configuration, only that this track has scenery MUCH different from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The racing is all about solid driving.

--- Complaints About Enthusia ---

Everyone had a bone to pick with Enthusia Professional Racing. Here are some of many complaints:

• "The cars handle like they're on ice."
• "The game is ugly-looking."
• "The game has an ugly menu."
• "Leveling up cars is (homosexual slur)."
• "Attack of the Minivans!"

Then came something that got me really upset about what two people said about this game. Victor Lucas and Tommy Tallarico, hosts of former G4TV show (back when G4 was more about video games than trying to be Spike TV Jr.), "Judgment Day," compared Gran Turismo 4 to Enthusia Professional Racing. This was the verdict these two guys rendered on Enthusia vs. Gran Turismo 4:

(indirect quote)
"Both games are disappointing, but Gran Turismo 4 is less disappointing."
-Victor Lucas and Tommy Tallarico, on one episode of "Judgment Day"

It infuriated me once I think more about this game because this game wasn't as disappointing as people say it is. More people cared about games like the Burnout games. But hell, at least Enthusia and GT were about RACING and not about persistent crashing like the Burnout games.

My Responses to Common Complaints.

Each complaint is in bold so you remember what I am counterattacking with. So here you go:

• "The cars handle like they're on ice."
When it comes to cars "handling like they are on ice," don't worry. There's a track called Wintertraum which will make you eat your words when you say these cars handle like they're on ice. Enthusia's driving model is actually much better for drifting than Gran Turismo games. I sometimes wish I had better control of my drifts in Enthusia, but some would say that Gran Turismo gives you too much control.

• "The game is ugly-looking."
Enthusia is not Gran Turismo 4, and I get so sick of people talking about Gran Turismo games like they're all show and no go. Okay, we get it. Enthusia is not beautiful-looking. Let me tell you why you're wrong, though. Enthusia has some beautiful graphical touches. Maybe the loveliest is when you race Marco Strada at night. You can see visible rain drops falling from the sky onto the road. You see lots of light sparkles on the metallic items. It's really a beautiful sight. A lot of the graphical effects are beautiful. Not even Gran Turismo 4 could match some of the nice visual touches in Enthusia.

• "The game has an ugly menu."
Enthusia's menus aren't all that ugly. If you want something ugly, go try selecting a mode in the very first GTR.

• "Leveling up cars is (homosexual slur)."
The "homosexual slur" is "gay." I didn't want to use "gay" in that section because I hate using that word to mean something bad. I also don't want to offend my gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered/intersexed audience. I'll get to more detail about what the leveling up of cars is all about later in this blog entry. I do think the level up process lacks any serious purpose, but it's not that bad.

• "Attack of the Minivans!"
See,this is what happens when people look at one aspect of the game that doesn't mean anything significant to the overall game. It's like when I've had to debate with people on GTPlanet about how people couldn't stand being "forced to race" kei cars and vans and stuff. There are no Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, or any real big name car companies, but the game is just fine without the presence of those makes.

Now you know how I feel about some of the various complaints people have had about this game.

--- More About Enthusia Professional Racing ---

Enthusia Professional Racing tries to offer its own formula to Gran Turismo-style games.


Among the many different things, it has its own Career Mode, called "Enthusia Life." This is where you are involved in a ranking system. Going up in the ranks is achieved by winning races. Doing things like changing cars, losing races, and taking a weekend off to rest can hurt you in the rankings. The "Enthu Points" is more like your HP. Enthu Points go down when you go off-course or hit something (walls or cars). If you run out of Enthu Points after a race, you will not be able to compete in next week's events. You will have to Rest to make ready for the next week of racing action. A variety of races will be available to you. Select an event, then select a car as a favorite to win or place very well (even if you choose yourself). The real key is to be among the top 6 racers in the RS series of races to compete in the King of the Year Grand Prix at the end of the year. The odds system can be very confusing, so I will not go too much further with this.

Driving Revolution is like a different approach to License Tests. There are no license tests whatsoever, but these Driving Revolution exercises are there to test your abilities to drive a car properly around a set course. It functions a bit like another Konami title- Dance Dance Revolution. You run through these markers scattered around the track. These markers have horizontal bars that go up and down. If the horizontal bar goes up, you are going too fast. Conversely, if the horizontal bar goes down, you are going too slow. The way to score the best possible score is to clear every marker with a Perfect score. Missing markers and hitting the wall result in penalties. If you fail a test, you will get some advice to help you when doing your next run.

Free Run allows you to simply do a race around any course in the game. This will give you a chance to engage in racing action. You can unlock new tracks and cars to race in Free Run with. You can even freely set a track to race and opposition to choose to race against. If you want to get more tracks, you'll need to have great performances in Enthusia Life. If you want to earn more cars to race with in Free Run, here is what you need to do. You need to race at Normal Difficulty (or higher), run the default number of laps (three laps or more), and win the race without hitting anything (cars or walls) or going off course. If you do unlock more cars, you can only unlock the cars you raced against in an event. So if you need certain cars missing in your collection, you'll need to win the race against cars not in your collection. If you change your car's settings or modify the grid (including placing your car some place other than 6th for circuit races or 1st for rally courses), you will not get to earn any more tracks or cars until you win a race at Normal Difficulty at three or more laps.

• Practice your driving skills by going solo in Time Trial mode. This is where you can choose from a variety of options including practicing a certain section of a track.

Library allows you to look at replays and read more about every car company featured in the game.

Modes for options and Versus speak for themselves.


Most of the tracks in this game are fictional. Most of them are city street and country road courses. Some real cities are featured in this game. Those cities include London, Paris, Venice, and San Francisco among others. This game even has a desert track and a touge course. The desert course, called Mirage Crossing, mimics the Dakar Rally. The route will change depending on what course you're given when you race it. If you travel outside the boundaries of the course, your car will be stuck in the sand, forcing you to retire. The touge course is called Dragon Range. Dragon Range is essentially a tarmac mountain road. You can race it downhill or uphill. It is a great track to test your drifting skills.

The most exciting course in the game is Löwenseering. This track is Enthusia's answer to Gran Turismo's Grand Valley Speedway. Löwenseering is an exciting course that looks like a lion and features a little of everything. The most treacherous track is Wintertraum. Wintertraum is the only icy venue in Enthusia. You will have a tough time trying to maintain grip on the icy and snowy roads. And of course, no course is more treacherous than the Nürburgring Nordschleife.


Cars are divided into multiple classes and categories. The "E" class features the slowest and least powerful cars. The highest class of road-going car is the "A" class. There is also the "R" class reserved for race cars. Car types are divided nicely. You have classes like Realsports, Multipurpose, Premium Sedan, Compact, and Competition among others.

The best aspect of this game is that this game has a quite realistic transmission model. Cars can come in Automatic, Semi-Automatic, Shift Assist, and Manual/Standard. The cars have interesting handling models. The most notorious aspect of this game is how rear-wheel drive is featured in this game.

--- Enthusia Life ---

Enthusia Life is the career mode of Enthusia Professional Racing. It is here where you go from zero to hero. Progress in this mode will help you to add cars to your garage that you can race. Each month consists of four races for you to take part in. You shouldn't worry about these specific races until you reach the RS class.

You begin racing in the RN class. You go from this class to the RS class. Your ranking determines your class. You can be promoted to higher classes with greater progress, and demoted if your ranking is low. You earn ranking points that help you to move up in the rankings. A race win grants the most points. You can choose whatever race you want to enter. If you want to have a chance to earn the most points, choose the event in the far left. They are the most difficult, but yield the most points.

When you reach the ranking of 50 or more in your Enthusia Life career, you are invited to the RS class. Don't worry about the Calendar feature until you reach the RS class. RS features all the events for each month. Some months may have different focal points. For example, there may be a month where you will only be allowed to race rear-wheel drive cars. You will need to change cars to fit the specifications of cars for that month. Remember that changing cars or resting COULD impact your overall ranking.

With the points you earn, your car levels up as well as you leveling up, improving the performance characteristics of your car. Leveling up yourself in the game allows you to have more Enthu Points available and improve your recovery time between races.

In the various classes, various races are set up for you rather than to have you race in a specific championship. It isn't like Gran Turismo or Forza where the races you should run are right there in front of you to race. Instead, random races come your way based on what car you're using. For example, you may races based on car type, car displacement, car nationality, and things like that.

Enthusia Life has no true garage. You can somewhat tune cars based on certain settings. There are no exact settings for cars. All you have are sliders to adjust for every car. You can set certain aspects that determine how the cars handle. You can also test the car at various courses on your own.

--- Enthusia Professional Racing vs. Gran Turismo 4 ---

Gran Turismo 4 is a much better game overall. However, Enthusia Professional Racing has a number of features and aspects which make this game much better than what people say it is. People have given up on this game and considered it an also-ran. It's probably the reason why this game will never have a sequel any time soon.


The biggest problem I have in Enthusia Professional Racing is that you just can't have as much fun as you like. You can't do any aggressive racing or go off-course. Even running out of bounds on a street course leads to penalties. This game is just too much of a pro-minded game to where you can't really enjoy driving as you could in Gran Turismo games. It's also too complicated a game to understand right away. You really need to be patient and get a pretty good understanding of the game to grasp all the nuances of this title. This game doesn't have any real personality, though it has a LOT more personality than the Sega GT games. There's only one other thing I'm disappointed about with this game- not a lot of race cars. For a game that prides itself so much on "re-creation of real physics," I wish more race cars were in the game. I'd really be happy to see something like a formula racing car (Indy car, F1, etc.). I do also wish there were some more interesting cars to race with.

Besides this, I recommend you get Enthusia Professional Racing if you are any kind of racing game fan. Don't let its misses draw you away from playing this title. Don't let its budget-like price tell you it is a boring or uninteresting game. You're in the right place regarding racing games- add this to your collection if you haven't already.

Overall, I love Gran Turismo 4, but there are a lot of features which makes Enthusia Professional Racing MUCH better than what people say it is. Give it some time and effort, and it will reward you with a solid racing experience. Want to give this game a try? You can purchase this game through Amazon by clicking on the graphic below. I think you really need to play this game if you love simulation-type racing games.

You may purchase Enthusia Professional Racing from Amazon. And here it is below:

And here is a strategy guide for this game, if you need more help:

I hope this blog post has been of help to you. I also hope to possibly offer more resources to all of you in regards to Enthusia Professional Racing. Thank you for reading!

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