Track: Tame The Trains Frozen
Lap time: 1:00
Music: Break (c98)
One of the nice things about straight-a-way styled tracks is the economy of words required to sum up its premise. Adding to that, as one of our highly skilled and experienced judges so astutely noted, "the map is nice and straight
" lol. Needless to say, traversing this track essentially comes down to standing on the accelerator and hanging on to your hat (or wig/toupee). Sound simple? Yep, and it is, but take into consideration what a great MTM philosopher and maker of superb lemonade once said of straight-a-ways: "You've heard of musician's music, artist's art? Straight-a-ways are track maker's tracks. They are an exercise in creativity - a racing track second, not primarily
." With that in mind our focus of this review will be more from a creative angle as opposed to assessing its race worthiness.
Set in the depths of winter in what's best described as a "surreal atmosphere", Tame The Trains Frozen takes you on a high-speed journey down a narrow tunnel constructed of concrete and stone. You drive across sheets of ice that are dammed up between slight inclines that mark the raised train tracks. The combination of momentum and subtle inclinations allow you to gain enough "air time" to clear the track only to land smoothly, picking up more speed. This process is repeated for the entire length of the tunnel, which physically never ends. The unpredictable and sometimes startling element of danger in your trek is that the trains are passing through each opening at the sides of the tunnel, set at regular intervals, crossing your path at super-sonic speeds. One member of our panel of judges stated, "it makes you feel like you're playing a shooter game, and you're running down a hallway, and are just waiting to be shot at
." Another judge made reference to feeling like a poor little frog trying to cross a highway, frightened and bewildered by the menacing speed and danger in front of you, as well as behind. Interesting and seemingly apt analogies, but maybe, just maybe those judges played one too many 1st person shooters & games of Frogger, and those influences are manifesting themselves into this review. Just goes to show you that you shouldn't underestimate the benefits of Psychology 101 when working with a panel of judges.
From a creative standpoint this is a very interesting and innovative track. Maybe for the sake of variety (if nothing else), Cr@$h could have set the trains to come from different directions. Regardless, if you get nailed by a speeding train your momentum will be momentarily slowed, but you'll be able to continue the race. If you're one of those people with really bad karma and manage to get knocked out of the tunnel altogether, good luck with getting back in lol. Helicopter support is available, however it plants you on top of the tunnel rather than inside. If you do find yourself outside the tunnel, by all means enjoy the fog and snow combination Cr@$h conjured up, but be forewarned that stopping isn't a good idea. You're on ice, and once you come to a complete stop, you won't be able to get started again without assistance. What you'll have to do is call for heli support, and just as it picks you up and starts to move you, disengage the heli. That will give you enough momentum to get going again.
From a critical perspective there's not much to complain about aside from the walls near the tracks. As a result of planting the ground boxes too deep, they give off a transparent effect
at the base. Swinging the critical pendulum over to the positive side, Cr@$h's texture work is very good (the six that he used) and those computer trucks will give you a run for your money…and sometimes you'll lose that money lol. Again, these types of tracks are not made for racing per se, but if the AI is up to snuff, as it is here, those computer trucks will force you to respect their ability out there - make no mistake.
In closing all that's left to say is hats off to Cr@$hC@rt for turning in a very creative and competently constructed track. With 31 tracks to his credit (including this one), he's a guy with quite an imagination, and our guess is future works will be just as fun and entertaining.