GAME OF THE WEEK: "Final Lap Twin" For: TurboGrafx
Big-Kid Rating: 9
Mid-Kid (8-12) Rating: 9
Kid Rating (6 and younger): 5
TurboGrafx's "Final Lap Twin" is kind of like that breath mint: It's two -- VROOM! -- two -- VROOM! -- two games in one. And it's hard to decide which of the two is more fun. But one thing is for sure -- Final Lap Twin is absolutely the best racing game on the market.
Yeah, the more than 30 different tracks are great, and sure, the graphics are outstanding . . . but what really makes this game is the way the cars drive, and the way the other cars on the track respond to you. I've done a lot of crazy things, and driving these cars reminds me of most of them.
The screen is split in two. You'll see your car at the top and the car controlled by the computer (or a friend) at the bottom. It's not as distracting as it sounds. In fact, it's really cool to watch the top screen and see a car ahead in your sights, then zoom past and watch on the bottom screen as you disappear from sight.
In the Grand Prix game, you drive one of eight cars -- four manual, four automatic, some that accelerate faster, others that have higher top speeds -- against more than 20 others over a total of 24 courses. The F3000 series is eight races, the Formula One 16. If you place in the top six in the first race, you move on to the second, and so on. You've got to drive fast, hard -- and smart -- to keep finishing in the money and make it to the end of the series.
Just as much fun is the quest that's the second game of Final Lap Twin -- like Link on wheels. You're a young driver whose dad owns a car shop. He's built you a racer and sends you out in search of the World Championship. You wander from town to town, taking on fast punks and local champions, winning races -- and money. The money lets you improve your car, buying better parts -- tires that grip better, engines that go faster -- trying to xTC get to that elusive championship showdown.
The Grand Prix might be tricky for little kids. The quest is great fun to play or watch for any age.
INSIDE TIP: In the Grand Prix, drive like crazy. But show a little restraint. If you get a chance, take your opponent out in the curves. Slide to the outside, pushing him beside you as you hit the gas, and he'll have to run off the road. He'll slow down, and if he hits a sign, he'll come to a stop and you'll gain precious seconds.
In the quest, spend a good long time in the first town racing everybody who comes along. You'll learn the tracks, get driving experience -- and rack up plenty of dough that you can use to jazz up your car. If you win enough in the first town, you can make your car so hot you may never lose again.
Got a question? An inside tip you'd like to share? Write to Chip and Jonathan Carter in care of this newspaper. Although the Carters cannot answer each letter individually, they will print comments of general interest in this column.
By Chip and Jonathan Carter