My postman arrived uncharacteristically early this morning carrying a couple of parcels for me. The pertinent one was a huge white padded envelope containing a copy of SuperCar Challenge and a PR letter to let me know it was going to be awesome. I’ll admit that I was dubious – SuperCar Challenge is the successor to Ferrari Challenge which I had heard very mixed reports about.
I popped open the box, thinking how brave it is of System3 to put out a serious racer amongst the huge hype that is going on around Gran Turismo 5, Forza 3 and even Shift, Blur and Split/Second. It would be very easy for SuperCar Challenge to get lost and unfortunately the box art they’ve chosen is not likely to help them stand out on the shelf. Get the disc in your console though and it’s a very different proposition. There is no mandatory install (although the box says 54MB there was no progress bar or time spent waiting) and the game loaded up to a camera rotating slowly around a McLaren F1 with the theme from The Omen (Carmena Burana I believe?) playing.
Navigating through the intuitive and simple menu system and into a tutorial race was a pleasure but I was sorry to leave those lovely visuals and that epic music. Loading times were perhaps a little longer than I’d like but certainly not unbearable. Now, this is my first race in a new game so it’ll be a Mini or a Renault Clio or some other “hot-hatch” right? Well, no, SuperCar Challenge obviously prides itself on the fact that every horse in the stable is a thoroughbred. For my first tutorial they gave me that McLaren F1 from the menu! I also got Tiff Needell talking me through the lap or berating me every time I slid sideways off the track. He seemed to lose patience with me after a while but that’s understandable – I was rubbish.
A couple of hours of play-time and I am extremely impressed. Make no mistake, this is not a racing game. There is no margin for error and no allowances made. This is a simulation. It might not always be easily recognisable as pure gaming fun (it is hard work getting the braking right) but it seems to always be accurate.
Look out for our full review which will be up on the site soon.