MTO's GT Advance aims to make embarrassing 2D sprite-a-thons like GBC Pocket GT a thing of the past, with a decent framerate, Super Nintendo quality graphics and enough cars to rival Gran Turismo. Over 40 of the things have been confirmed, drawn and stylised for the game, with models from seven top manufacturers including Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi. There are 32 tracks to race them about on too, including dirt, street and racetrack courses. For those of you who have seen the Japanese version of the game, expect a small amount of Westernisation here. Unlike a lot of its competition, pasting down the accelerator won't be enough to take the chequered flag. A more measured approach, involving actual driving and not just steering will be called for. Developer MTO has placed importance on things like engine tuning, with shocks, fuel injectors, exhaust systems, spoilers and even alternative engines for every vehicle. In order to afford the upgrades and modifications, drivers will have to race for cash, and there will be a Time Trial mode for practice sessions too, complete with Ghost Car feature. Two players will be able to go head to head using the GBA Link Cable, and it will also be possible to swap Ghost Cars to aid each other in practice. One can fully expect to spend hours and hours fighting through business meetings and train journeys trying to shave another fraction of a second from an elusive lap time.
Judging by the screenshots and movie footage we have seen of GT Advance, the game moves pretty fast, and the physics look pretty realistic. The control system is something we obviously cannot comment on at the moment, but from the look of the power slides some of the drivers were pulling off in minutes of play, we haven't much to be concerned about. Visually it's as impressive as anything we've seen on the GameBoy Advance so far. With a limited format like the GBA, creating realistic games is quite difficult - hence so much of the early catalogue is made up of fantasy or cartoon games - but MTO don't seem to be all that troubled by the GBA's technological restrictions. The textures are far from bland, and the individual cars are easily identifiable, even from action shots. Based on current evidence, it's not hard to believe that GT Advance stretches the GameBoy Advance, even in its first few months. A Gran Turismo-alike it may be, but quite a decent one by all accounts. We look forward to its arrival along with the GameBoy Advance in June.
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