Sunday, December 1, 2013

ToCA World Touring Cars

John Marine | 9:40 PM | |
The PlayStation 1's swan song of ToCA was done with a game called "ToCA World Touring cars." Or by its American name- "Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing." Gritty and intense racing were commonplace with this game. That gritty racing includes visual and physical damage. This was not your ordinary racing game. If anything, it was something to look forward to in the next generation of gaming consoles (at its time). This blog post is a look at ToCA World Touring Cars. Why should you care about this title? Or should you care about this game? I'll let you know in this blog post.

About the Label: "Codemasters Racing"

Racing games made by Codemasters are featured under the "Codemasters Racing" label. Even though Codemasters is known for their racing games, they've made other kinds of games. That's why I use "Codemasters Racing" for this label.





--- ToCA World Touring Cars ---

Before Codemasters set out to conquer multiple forms of racing in their ToCA Race Driver series of games, there was this game from 1999 game, perhaps the swan song for this series on the PlayStation 1. This game allows you to race in many fictional championships in races around the world. The racing teams are all fictional as well. Races take place on a variety of courses. Get ready for a worldwide thrill ride in the realm of take-no-prisoners touring car racing!


Why I HATE Using This Game's American Name.

I HATE its American name- "Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing." I'll tell you why right now. Why do I hate referring to it by "Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing?" Two reasons (one especially for this blog):

• The first reason is that I don't want people visiting this blog entry expecting to find something about the Jarretts and LaBontes in NASCAR, only to be disappointed. I always want people to visit my blog entries knowing that they want to find something about some topic and be able to have their questions answered.

• The second reason? How the hell can you draw a parallel between touring car racing and stock car racing? The "stock" cars that race in various stock car racing series aren't stock at all. "Stock" cars are purpose-built race cars that are nowhere close in performance and handling characteristics to their road-going counterparts. They are basically silhouette race cars that only resemble their road-going counterparts. Touring cars (traditional ones, anyways) are purpose-built race cars that actually resemble their road-going counterparts in almost every single aspect. So I become offended when someone draws a parallel between stock cars and touring cars because they are completely not alike.

Now on to my own overview of this game.



--- ToCA World Touring Cars at a Glance ---

Here is a general overview of ToCA World Touring Cars. I am going on the American version of this title as on the PlayStation 1.


Cars.

The list of cars include both racing cars and street cars. The many cars you choose from all come from various fictitious championships. The teams may not be real, but the cars definitely are. Various cars include the (this game is from 1999) Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Vauxhall Astra, Lincoln LS, Holden Commodore, and Ford Falcon among MANY others. There are also street cars you can race with, including everything from compacts to sports cars. You can even change the color of the street cars (and only the street cars) to whatever colors you choose. You can even put your name on the car. In the manner of FirstName LastName, It would be nice to go with F. LastName. What I put in as the name is "J. Marine." That name appears on the rear windshield of your car and maybe some other places.

If you want to earn more cars, you'll need to race in the Championship (more on that mode later). All the basic cars are available to you from the very start, but extra cars can be unlocked through the Championship mode.


Tracks.

North American, South American, European, Japanese, and Australian cars are featured in this game.
There are more than 20 tracks that comprise the list of tracks. The various tracks range from world-class permanent road courses and intense temporary courses. Race tracks consist of venues around North America, South America, European, Japan, and Australia. You can race on tracks such as Laguna Seca, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Silverstone, Monza, Suzuka, Bathurst, and Surfers Paradise among many other venues. You'll be racing on tough road courses and street circuits.


Quick Race.

Doing a quick race allows you to quickly compete on any of the 20+ tracks in the game. Each track comes with various weather settings you can set. You can do races in the daytime, at sunset, at night, and in three or so different rain conditions.


Time Trial.

The Time Trial mode is self-explanatory. Practice any course in the game with any cars in your collection. If you post a fastest time, you get a password that you can somehow use on Codemasters' website or something.


Championship.

The Championship mode has you competing in various series around the world. There are three levels of competition- National (regional racing), International (international region racing), and World (a World Championship of racing). You start on the National Level and have to work your way up to the International and World levels. When you start out, you just pick a team you want to race for and for a championship you want to race in. Some teams require you take a test drive, where you run one lap around a course to race for that team in the championship. You will join the team if you beat that lap time. For each team that you race for, they are certain small objectives you must clear. Clearing these challenges can unlock cheat codes for the game. For example, you may have an objective to win a certain number of races in the season, finish ahead of a rival team in the points, and things like that. Completing these tasks allows you to access some cheats in the game.

The American version has you picking between Jason Jarrett and Justin LaBonte- both who probably have absolutely no TOURING CAR experience whatsoever even to this day. Doesn't matter which one you choose. Just pick one and go through the Championship with winning intent. I picked Justin LaBonte since he- like myself, is from Texas. Hey... if Californians and New Yorkers can brag, so can I about Texas and us Texans.



--- Playing the Game ---

The game features some licensed music from artists. My favorite is "No Big Thing" by Lit. The music isn't really anything special to me. The graphics and gameplay are smooth and very nice. It's not Gran Turismo fast, but it's pretty fast for what it is. You can damage your car in this game. Windshields get busted out, bumpers drag on the ground, and you can even suffer great engine damage. In fact, in the American advertisements for "Jarrett and LaBonte Stock Car Racing," a BMW actually gets beaten up to show the impact of damage in the game. You can even hear the damage your engine takes. From the inside of the car, the driver view is amazing. You can actually see your driver's hands work the steering wheel and even shift up and down. If your driver gets hit or passed, the driver actually shakes his (or her) fist at whomever made the hit or pass. Windshield wipers even work when you race. There are about seven or eight camera views you can choose between.

In the Championship races, pay attention to whether or not the race requires pit stops. This is important because you MUST make a pit stop at some point of the race. If you don't make a pit stop, you'll finish dead last. A recommendation is to pit either when badly damaged or at some point midway in the race. You may even pit on the first lap or second lap just to get it out of the way. You still need to make a pit stop in races that require a pit stop. You'll even see a notice saying "You Must Pit This Lap," or something similar.

Races usually feature as many as 12 cars to a race.



--- ToCA World Touring Car: Final Thoughts ---

ToCA World Touring Cars is an outstanding racing game. It encompasses everything Codemasters incorporates into racing games to make them every bit as intense and as brutally real as possible. You can't say enough about what the ToCA series of games provides to the racing game realm. The only deterrent to this game- it's American name. I think this was a strategy by Codemasters to sell this game in a way that only use Americans can understand. I figured that if Codemasters used Steve Soper or somebody, no one here in the States would know who the bloody hell Steve Soper is. So they use two of the biggest family names in NASCAR to market a game about touring car racing. NASCAR Hall of Famer, Ned Jarrett, even supplements his voice for commentary. I'm pretty sure Ned Jarrett probably doesn't even know about big time touring car racing even if his life depended on it (and I have great respect for Ned Jarrett).

I say if you care anything about racing games and collecting racing games, go get this game. It's a must-own and a must-play.


Video Preview.

Here is a preview of this game and the action it provides:


^ "TOCA World Touring Cars - Gameplay"


Are you ready for this challenge?






Get this game on Amazon if it interests you. It's available for the PlayStation 1 and PC:



If you have a PlayStation 3, you can surely play the PS1 version of this game on your PS3.


I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Thank you for reading!

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