GT Legends

GT Legends

GT Legends

If Steve McQueen was a race sim...

Combat flight simulation developers have never needed much encouragement to go rummaging in the dusty steamer trunk of History; the same, however, can't be said of racing sim creators. In the last ten years how many of the 70-odd PC motorsport recreations released have looked to the past for inspiration? Three? Four maybe? You could understand the drought if the cars of yore were characterless and the races they participated in were tedious parades. When that accusation actually describes the racing of today far better than it describes the contests of yesteryear you really have to wonder why devs have been so reluctant to time travel.

To get a taste of the delights we've been missing-out on for so long you just have to spend an hour or two in the splendid company of GT Legends. The follow-up to the impressive if puritanical GTR, GTL is chockablock with the kind of tin-top automobiles that were tearing around tracks when the likes of the Beatles, the Stones, the Quo and Abba ruled the pop charts. These machines are not factory fresh Sixties/Seventies juveniles but the middle-aged preserved touring cars and grand touring cars that compete in today's FiA Historic Racing Championships. This is a tiny disappointment (It would have been great to have had true period racing with historical drivers, tracks and advertising a la Grand Prix Legends) but it doesn't change the fact that, taken as a group, they represent the most varied and character-rich car selection ever served-up in a proper sim.

There are around 90 different cars crammed onto the disc - roughly a third of that number if you don't count differently skinned versions of the same vehicle. In terms of power ('horse' rather than 'pulling') at one end of the spectrum there are nippy little bundles of fun like the Mini Cooper, Fiat and Lotus Cortina. A bit further along you'll find light English bullets like the Lotus Elan and the Austin Healey, beyond them broad Fords such as the Falcon and the Mustang. Thunderous gas-gulpers like the Chevy Corvettes, the AC Cobra and the mad DeTomaso Pantera loiter menacingly at the "This Car Eats Small Orphans" end of things. Of course a compendious garage is only really of any value if the devs make an effort to differentiate the drives through elements like sound, interior modelling, and - most importantly - handling. Happily Simbin have made that effort.

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