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Race Driver cruises onto DS

Codemasters revs engine.

Codemasters has popped the trunk this afternoon and revealed a brand new game in the Race Driver series.

But rather than the expected next-generation outing, Race Driver: Create & Race will only be available on DS. This has given Codemasters the chance to ignore the graphical rat-race and focus on the elements that make racing games fun in the first place.

"We couldn't make Race Driver any bigger, so we made it smaller," a spokesperson for Codemasters told Eurogamer this afternoon. "But you can't just drop the Race Driver experience as it stands onto Nintendo DS and expect it to fly. The rules are different on that platform."

Firebrand will be developing the game and aims to add some swanky new touches. There's the track editor for starters, which will let you "Create & Race" against the computer or wirelessly with your friends - cart-sharing locally if you want.

Or you can simply zip around one of 32 real-world circuits using your pick of 25 proper pucker motors, including the Koenig GT and Chevrolet Silverado Truck. Even more cars and courses lie in wait for those who best the World Tour Mode, too, adding up to a grease-covered overall's worth of fun.

And don't let other shonky racing games on the DS put you off, as Codemasters insists it's pushing the envelope with this one.

"The engine is amazing," the spokesperson modestly added. "3D has rarely looked as slick on DS as it does here. It's beautiful, and it's frighteningly rapid."

"The handling has been tweaked for a more Nintendo DS-y experience. Race Driver can be an unforgiving game, but the handling for the DS game is firmly set for fun. Don't worry about bashing the other cars or clipping the grass, you'll get away with it. We've done exactly what we needed to do to make Race Driver fun on the smallest screen."

The series began on PS2 back in 2002, when TOCA Race Driver raced out of the pits to critical applause. Since then two more console outings have followed, along with a pair of PSP efforts. And this new DS offering is far from being a gimmicky cousin.

"As far as what the DS can offer, we've incorporated touch. But not in illogical ways," the spokesperson continued. "There's no blowing in the mic to clear rain off the windscreen, or an interactive gearstick on the touch-screen. You use the touch-screen to intuitively draw your own courses. Courses you can race against friends on- and off-line."

Zip over to our Race Driver: Race & Create gallery for a closer look at the engine.