Ok all, this one is long even by my standards, but please read on. This is a particularly special effort by two guys who are not only great people, but in my opinion they’ve set new standards where track making is concerned, so I wanted to ensure their investment of time, effort, and commitment didn’t go unnoticed. So, pull up a chair…and I hope you packed a lunch. Let’s roll!!
There are 3 things that simply amazed me with respect to this project. First of all, the tracks (it’s a two for the price of one, deal) themselves are exceptional. Then there’s the concept behind the track, which I’ll go into later, and wrapping it all up is the authors themselves, which is where I’ll begin this review.
The track makers: I hadn’t really known Mouse that well, raced with him off and on, and that’s about it. The next thing I know I heard he put out his very first track, called “Rodent’s Run”, and it’s a very nice track, I might add. I did a review on it and rated it accordingly…and as per our arrangement, I was paid handsomely for saying nice things about his work. It’s a great racket…I mean, “business arrangement” I’ve got going! Hehe seriously, it’s a very good track. Yep, a few flaws, but geez, you just don’t see guys putting out tracks of that caliber their first time out! Heck, SLO liked it so much we put it on our Always Podded List! By the way, if you’re wondering what else he’s done…well, he hasn’t; this is it, Paris To Dakar, his second track.
As for OLD_Coach98, the truth of the matter is I hardly ever saw this guy around, so needless to say I was surprised to see he was the co-author of this track, especially with it being such a monumental effort. The kicker here though, and brace yourselves - these tracks mark his debut into the trackmaking arena. Once you take a look at em you’ll understand why I was shocked to hear this was his very first track.
What it boils down to is essentially two track makers who are very new to the field coming up with a unique idea and applying it to this game, but more importantly, pulling it off with unprecedented professionalism, style, and a quality of work that rivals (and maybe even surpasses) some of the most respected track makers out there that’s been doing this stuff for quite some time. Keep that in mind as you’re checking this one out; one has never made tracks before…ever, and the other is on his second time out. It’s just incredible.
The concept: The Paris – Dakar rally race is a very real thing! It’s beginning dates back to 1979, and is normally run from Paris to Dakar across the vast northern expanses of the Sahara Desert, following a short ferry ride to cross the Mediterranean. In 2000, for the very first time, the competitive part of the race started in Dakar and then headed east across almost 7,000 miles of track and pure desert to a finish in Cairo! And you thought ZS Rally was tough. Ha!
After figuring out what they wanted to do, Mouse and Coach came up with what has got to be a first in MTM 2 history, at least in “how” they did it, anyway. They assembled a rather interesting “cast of characters” (see the readme.txt in the zip file) to assist them in this grand endeavor. Indulge me, if you will, while I give two guys special consideration for the parts they played in making this thing happen:
- Phineus served as the resident technical consultant (and towel boy), and this guy came up with some stuff that nobody, and I mean nobody cared about. Hahaha—I know he’s having a cow right now. Actually, Phin is the man, and his input to this project really can’t be measured. He looks at tracks from unheard of angles, notices the kind of miniscule details that most people either aren’t aware of, or don’t bother to consider, and I’m including other track makers as well! This guy definitely knows his stuff, so I know Mouse and Coach were thrilled that he agreed to participate in this massive undertaking.
- SLO_Jumper, a racer extraordinaire (trust me, I know), was selected to provide a “racer’s perspective” of the track. Well, Mouse and Coach got more than they bargained for with Jump. From finding flawed models to unmasking every possible shortcut possible so that the authors could decide to close them off, leave as is, or amend them, to actually hosting up a web page with screenshots accompanied by commentary on different sections of each of the tracks…he did it all!
The Track: This one is much too big to go into a turn-for-turn type of analysis, but what I will tell you is you’ll notice very soon into the race these tracks are unlike any others you’ve seen in the past or present day. That’s not to imply/suggest other tracks are sub-par; they’re not…not by a long shot. My point is you’ll not only take note of the superb workmanship with respect to the models, model placement/arrangement, layout, and landscaping, but you’ll also appreciate the uniqueness in quality and originality in these two tracks.
The detailed work is impressive, to say the least, and notice how they took special care to lend some authenticity to the tracks by attempting to recreate some of the atmosphere and surroundings of the real deal. The varying terrains, scenery, subtle and drastic elevation changes, winding passages, and death defying jumps will keep you behind your wheel, stick, or keyboard in anticipation of what’s coming up next. Oh and hey, in case you find yourself complaining about the length of the track, the real rally race involves over 300 racers in a 17-day trek covering some serious miles…to the tune of almost 7,000 miles, actually. Furthermore, they can’t say stuff like, “Hey guys, let’s restart – I gotta go to the bathroom”. So, if it takes you 25 minutes to complete both tracks, consider yourself fortunate…I mean, comparatively speaking, that is.
Never has there been such an effort put forth on this large of a scale in MTM history that I know of. If so, someone clue me in. The beauty of Paris To Dakar lies not only in the tracks themselves, but also in the way this project was conducted. Mouse & Coach were consummate professionals from beginning to end, and for that, I would like to personally thank them for allowing me to be a part of such a grand affair. You guys are terrific, and it was a sincere pleasure to work with you both. Once again, a job VERY well done!! Ok how bout a standing-o for Mouse and that Coach guy, huh? Yeah…yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!!
Oh and as for the "Copey Rating", this one's off the scale!! What I want to know, and what I'm sure Mouse and Coach want to know is what YOU all think.
[This message has been edited by SLO_COPE (edited 19-04-2002).]