Fast Lap: 4:24.17 by Malibu350
Garage Setting: 1700 med tires/soft suspsension
The phrase “smoke and mirrors” is generally used to suggest intentional deception, an illusion, or that things are not quite what they seem. I submit to you that Marquis de Sade’s (Phin in one of his many disguises lol) chose to name his recent release “Smoke & Mirrors” to suggest that what you see is not necessarily what you think it is. Indulge me for a moment while I head due west on a slight tangent, but I was having trouble starting that last sentence. You see, it’s true that this Marquis de Sade fella has only put out one track, but who knows how many tracks Phin has made lol. He’s probably been cranking out tracks left and right with all the names he uses. Mind you, this is the same guy claims to have actually cashed a check with the name “Phineus” lol. It’d be fun to dig into his psyche a bit more, get inside of his head…but I’d be afraid of not being able to get out. Besides, this is a track review, not Psychology 101 lol.
To shed a little light on how and why this track came to be, a fellow by the name of “Mat-Allum” started a thread
to discuss a project he was working on using 256X256 textures. Cutting to the chase, the consensus by others was that it wasn’t possible. They contended that MTM 2 couldn’t handle it, and the effort would amount to little more than a waste of time. Phin suggested that maybe it was possible given the right approach, and low and behold, “Smoke & Mirrors” was borne.
The lack of models is for the most part out of necessity than anything else. If Phin had started throwing trees, houses, rocks, etc. into this track, lag would have been an issue for sure. Still, there are a few tracks that can get away with the “model-free” look, but this is certainly one of ‘em. Why? Well, it’s the layout. Even though the primary intent was to demonstrate that a functional track could be made using 256X256 textures, good ‘ole Phin gave us a huge bonus by making this one of the most exciting and compelling rallies to be released in quite some time, and that’s a fact! The ample room for maneuvering, coupled with the directional options by use of splits in the road definitely adds to this track’s appeal. Combine those characteristics with a few breath taking drops and the tremendous sense of speed, and you’re in for one heck of a ride!
Interestingly enough, the layout of “Smoke and Mirrors” is…well, first take a look at this picture
. The horizontal line that stretches across the middle is a highway, which divides the track in half. Now take a look at both sides of the track. Notice how it’s the same layout on either side, just flipped 180°, then attached to the other half. The best part is while driving the track it never dawns on you that it’s two halves of the same layout. Pretty slick, huh? As for the names you see in the picture, during beta testing Mal suggested that the four near 90° drops in the track needed “character”, and as you can see, Phin was obviously up to the task. In the end the only thing those names represent is Phin’s overactive imagination lol.
Beta testing with Phin is always interesting (for lack of a better word…and it probably wouldn’t be allowed in here anyway lol). Here are a few quotes from the man himself during the testing process:
• "Cope had a run on it and told me to take out two bridges, five checkpoints, and put in those checkers. I want no trouble so thought I better, you know.
" (Cooperative/agreeable Phin
• "This ought to do it … and if it oughtn't, too bad, lol.
" (Grumpy/pushy/I got up on the wrong side of my spaceship Phin
• "You know, I gave this way more attention than I set out to do. Believe it or not but I started it cuz I was bored waiting for you guys to try the track mod page. But stalling like this probably helped make it a bit better drive.
" (Slacker/demanding/slave driver Phin
There’s more, but I’m sure you get the idea. Hey, it’s never dull around here, that’s for sure!
Well, in an effort to keep this review reasonably short, I’m gonna wrap it things up here. I can’t call this thing a wrap before assigning a Copey Rating, so with that said…this one’s a definite “10”! In my book it’s topnotch for what it proves from a technical standpoint, as well as the endless amount of fun and excitement it’ll give you when racing. It just doesn’t get much better! Excellent work, Phin – outstanding, bud! Oh, and who's truck is that on the race screenshot? That's the bestest, fastest looking truck I've EVER seen! LOL
BONUS Material - A quote from Mal after running his fast lap:
"Now someone give me a shout out and a pat on the back here ... keep in mind I have no stick, no wheel, no shaved back, or greased head, I don't jump out of airplanes and the only thing I have that resembles a cape is a torn Howard Johnsons bath towel... nope none of that stuff for me, just a keyboard and a big pot of coffee.