Down and Dirty, with
No, Soda isn't about
"pop"-ing your clutch. SODA, short for Short Course Off-Road
Drivers Association, is a down and dirty off-road simulation that, if
you've never gone off road before, will have you spitting mud from between
SODA gives you a choice
of three different vehicles in multiple configurations (different horsepowers,
2 or 4 wheel drive, etc.), and a dozen different short tracks that'll
challenge your skill and patience. Scenarios include desert, country,
and tropical settings, and you can also create your own track with the
game's designer module.
Off-Road driving is
a real challenge, since dirt and mud don't act the same as asphalt - and
4 wheel drive works a lot different than 2 wheel drive! We found the differences
from such other simulations as IndyCar Racing
and NASCAR 2 enough that it was a whole new
ballgame as far as keeping your vehicle on the road was concerned.
And of course that
only makes it more exciting.
Initially, we were
disappointed in the graphics, but within a few laps we'd forgotten about
that and were more concerned with the announcer that insisted on giving
us a running commentary on how far behind the others we were. Frustrating!
Vehicle settings are
varied and flexible; for instance you can adjust your wheels' camber,
the springs, shocks, and the gearing. Experimentation pays off, 'cause
what works on one track will suck out loud on the next, causing you untold
headaches as you find yourself bouncing over a hill and sliding off a
corner that should have been straightforward. Oh, and you can set the
game so your vehicle's damage shows up - though you may want to leave
this for a while, at least until you can make it through a race in one
The interface works
well and is quite straightforward.
The graphics are unfortunately
accelerated only for the Rendition chipset, which we don't have. Still,
as mentioned above, any complaints about the "unaccelerated"
graphics were minimized by the action. The graphics are configurable,
or can be set to "auto" so they act according to your computer's
power. SODA also includes support for force feedback, which is nice (though
we didn't try it).
As with other racing
sims, you can race against opponents in single races, championships, or
in practice mode.
SODA Off-Road racing
won't go down in history as our favourite racing game, but that isn't
a slam against the game; it's more because we're into open-wheel, Indy
car type racing. If you like skidding around in the dust, you might
find SODA has just the right fizz for you.
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:
Windows 95, Pentium
90, 16 Mb RAM, 30 Mb Hard Disk space, 16 bit Win95 and Directx3 compatible
sound card, 2X CD-ROM drive, VLB/PCI SVGA DirectX2 compatible graphics
adapter. Pentium 133 recommended.
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