Reviewed: January 25, 2006
Released: September 15, 2005
Cross Racing Championship 2005 is a new racing simulator brought to you by the creators of the Falcon flight simulation series, Graphsim. For those of you who want to really get down and dirty with a racing game, this is the one for you. You won’t stay on the track for long since most of the tracks boast hellish off-road sections using dirt, gravel, snow, and sand for a very unique racing experience on each.
The game calls itself 100% simulation, and it is definitely accurate as far as vehicle physics, real-time damage system, and dynamic modeling of tires, road surfaces and, but the designers were surprisingly able to put it all into a nice, neat, simple package that allows the new player to jump right into the driver’s seat and start racing.
You don’t have to worry about fine-tuning all the little details of your car, figuring out what gear ratios to use, or how stiff you should make your suspension. You start off a career with a basic car and as you progress through the races, you earn better equipment, and better vehicles to help you compete as you go.
Before a race, you choose your loadout of tires, suspension kits, transmissions, etc that will best help you keep your car headed in the right direction, but usually that’s just going to be whatever the best option you have is.
So, once you get into the race, it’s pretty much downhill…and uphill…and even sideways on that hill. This game definitely figured out how to put the thrill of power sliding through a gravel bend in the road into your PC. The way the vehicle shakes and shimmies as you race is really felt through the screen, and especially if you have a force feedback steering wheel.
This racing game isn’t afraid to get dirty with you, since the AI racers are programmed with a memory of how you’ve treated them in the past. Run an opponent off the road in one race during your career, and don’t think he’ll let it go. Sometime down the road, you’ll probably find yourself spinning off into the guardrail after a little nudge from your “buddy”.
Overall, I found the gameplay to be extremely simple and the learning curve is quick, but enjoyable. The difficulty settings allow you to play at a level that is enjoyable for you. At the lower difficulty levels, you’ll be able to crash without doing too much harm to your car, but as you get higher in the difficulty, hitting a barrier will definitely ruin your pretty paint-job, and your day.
The tracks get more and more interesting as you go, as well. Beginning, you’re on a very simple dirt track that’s practically an oval, but as you progress you get into more windy, elevation changing courses that have some very beautiful scenery to distract you as you’re carving your way through the countryside.
Graphically speaking, CRC 2005 is very beautiful. The lighting effects are very well done. Also, the physics of the vehicles as they race over the uneven terrains is awesome. Watching the suspensions hammer through a bouncy gravel road in replay is incredible, especially with the rooster-tails of dirt that is kicked up as the vehicles go.
The new 3D engine packs in all the latest technology including; bump mapping, specular highlights and animated textures, plus real-time environment mapping, high-dynamic-range imaging, flare and glow effects, pixel shader water reflection for lakes, rivers, ponds and waterfalls, motion blur and noise effects, and automatic contrast balancing.
Special effects include particle effects and car components, including articulated suspension systems and glowing disc brakes. Detailed and living environments bring the six distinct environments to life with stunning realism almost to the point of distraction. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of time for sightseeing when watching the TV-style replay mode.
Highly detailed vehicle interiors with independent suspension and motion create a very intense ride. The frame of the car around you will shake and bounce as you go, giving you a definite sensation of speed and the type of roadway you’re racing on.
I was not incredibly impressed with the sound in CRC 2005. The engine sounds seemed kind of weak, not really conveying a sense of speed. And aside from the engine sounds and squealing tires, I wasn’t really able to pick up much else.
The crash sound effects are all right, but still not anything too special. You’ll hear gravel bouncing off of your car’s undercarriage as you race off-road. I also had a crackling feedback with my sound that I could not figure out how to get rid of. The sound was annoying and detracted from my gameplay slightly.
Basically, what it boils down to, the engine sounds needed to be much more intense to really convey the sense of speed and danger. This is really my only true complaint with the game.
I feel that CRC 2005 is a fairly solid racing game, especially since it offers something a little different than most others. It is really fun to run your car off-road and to really have to fight with your opponents by ramming them and cutting them off in order to win.
I would say that if this is the kind of game you are looking for, you won’t be wasting your money, especially since there is a multiplayer option that will allow you to race with others online or even sit in the passenger seat and go along for a ride.
I would have to say that Cross Racing Championship 2005 is a success, overall. As I said before, it is a racing game that is a little different from the others, more sim than arcade, but still giving you the freedom that you don’t have to follow all of the rules that some of the more serious racing games have. This one just allows you to get in, get dirty, and have fun without having to worry about all the other stuff, while at the same time, offering a true simulation of off-road driving.
CRC 2005 is a solid package and you would not go wrong in getting it if you are a racing fan, or if you are looking for something quick and enjoyable that doesn’t take all your time to really get into.