Recently my fellow GIN-mates asked me, "Hey Jevon man, so what do you want for Christmas this year?"Â To which I humbly responded, "My friends, my friends, take heed to this wise parable. These kind of answers take time and careful thought. I mean you just can’t go blurting random Christmas wish lists right off the top of your jabroni with hardly any serious thought at all. I mean think about it. This great holiday only falls on us every 365 days. Therefore in order to achieve the true inner peace and happiness of receiving gifts during this special time of the year one must spend at least one fortnight meditating and reflecting upon their inner most wants and needs. Only then can one truly experience and fully comprehend the real meaning behind ‘A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.’"
They all paused and looked at me strangely as if I had said something in Greek. (It’s the kind of looks normally reserved for Hargosh) Well, it was obvious that they had missed the point of my parable. "Fear not my fellow comrades," I said. "I shall have an answer for you tomorrow."
That night I went home and meditated heavily upon what truly was the one gift I would most graciously and gratefully like to receive. Finally, it was on the last disk of "Shenmue" and my third cup of ceremonial eggnog, which is very disgusting by the way, that I finally reached into the depths of my inner soul and answered the enigma of my plight. What does Jevon want for Christmas?
The next day I jumped out of bed, threw on a new pair of jeans and yesterdays shirt (Hey, it didn’t smell too bad) and rushed back down to the GiN Lab. I headed straight for our Chief Editor, John Breeden’s office. I figured he was probably the most likely guy in the lab to have some serious cash in his pockets. Besides, I owed everyone else in the building back money for all those Subway lunches.
Anyhow, I threw open his office door and exclaimed, "John, I know the one thing I want most for Christmas!" Half startled by my entrance he asked me what my answer was. "Ok, here goes," I said as I took a deep breath, "I want two-tone Leather Bucket Seats with Integral Headrests and adjustable recliners. I want an Infinity Speaker System consisting of a total of 8 speakers in 6 locations with a 4-channel 100 watt amplifier. I want a mini-trip computer with compass and temperature functions, which also includes Distance to Empty, Instantaneous Fuel Economy, and Elapsed Time. I want All-Season Michelin XW4 Tires with a matching spare, a Hitch mount, Fold Down Bike or Ski Carrier, and aÂ 5.9 Liter Magnum 90-Degree V8, 16 Valve Engine boasting a 4 speed Automatic Transmission with Overdrive feature."
"You want that in a truck or just dumped in your cube?" John asked, hardly missing a beat. (He is too used to dealing with us gamers.)
"John your great intuition is right as usual my friend," I said, "But not just any truck. The truck. I’m talking a Midnight Blue 2000 Dodge Durango and that’s the bottom line cause Jevon said so."
"Hmmm" John said, as he leaned back in his chair. Never a man to lose his composure under pressure he calmly replied, "Ya know, Jevon. You have done some good things for this company this year. I’d say you’re about due for your Dodge Durango."
I couldn’t believe it! Cha-Chang!! JackPot Baby!! "Close your eyes and hold out your hand," he said. I anxiously did so.Â Suddenly I heard some rattling or shuffling of paper. Then my ears, caught what I thought to be a jingling sound!! I thought to myself, "Could this be the keys to my new dream truck?!! Ba-dow!!" It was just on the end of that thought that I felt a small thud into my hands. Hmmm.
"Ok open your eyes!" John said excitedly.Â
I opened my eyes with excitement and a joyful grin!
"Urhm. Aaah, what’s this John?" I asked.
"Ohh, that’s your next review," he said. "It’s 4×4 Evolution for the PC. Just arrived here this morning. Give it a try. I think you’re gonna like it." I faintly smiled and nodded as I turned away slowly and headed out of the office. As I reached the door I heard, "Oh yeah, Jevon, by the way, I read the info on the back of the box. Says you can drive Dodge Durangos in the game."
My eyebrows raised. Reaaally? Well, well life is suddenly starting to look up after all.
I said all that to say all this. Terminal Reality’s "4×4 Evolution" is the next best thing to having the real deal. I instantly fell in love with arcade style off-road sim as it was loaded with all the glorious and most wanted trucks of modern day. Not only did I get the chance to drive my Dodge Durango but I found there were also many other great trucks to drive. This off-road thriller has over 70 licensed vehicles. Almost every great truck or SUV you’ve ever dreamed of driving is featured in this game from Dodge Durangos,Â Chevrolet Suburbans, GMC Jimmys and Yukons to Nissan Pathfinders, Ford Explorers, Toyota Tacomas and 4 Runners. If they make it , 4×4 Evolution most likely has it.
4×4 EVO brings with it some cool features as well. The game has 15 off-road courses each with it’s own distinctive design, music and difficulty level. One minute you could be driving the snow and icy mountains of the Artic Wastelands and the next minute your could be 4-wheelin your way through the thick swamp of the Bayou Flats. You’ll make your way through other tough off road courses like Motocross, Construction Junction, Treasure Bay, and Final Destination, one of the most challenging tracks in the game.
No matter where you choose to spin your wheels, the feel of the terrain and dynamic environments will always be a thrilling experience. Talk about graphics? This game is gorgeous. You’ll notice how the shadows on the trucks reflect the time of day, and really add to the polished chrome look of the vehicle. You can see everything from dirt and dust kicking up from behind your wheels to mud debris and splashing water as you make your way through certain tracks.
What’s really cool is how the sun compliments the vast terrains by glaring from behind tree tops, over mountains and in between valleys which really creates an awesome sense of realism and depth for the rider. Take my word for it, this game is banging out graphics like no other off-road racer has done before and it’s doing it with style and class.
Gameplay wise, 4×4 EVO sticks to the basics for the most part but does so really well. Just like most of the other sims the objective of the game involves finishing the race in first place by crossing through all the checkpoints and leaving the competition in the dust. However, to really make things fun Terminal Reality has made all the road courses completely free-roaming. While you have to make sure you cross through each checkpoint during the race, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow the road in doing so. If you get knocked off track, save yourself some time and take a short cut over the mountain or through the marry glades. The competition always gets a good scare when you come crashing back out onto the road unexpectedly after they thought they’d lost you a couple checkpoints back.
Bottom line 4×4 EVO is indeed one of the best outback racing games I’ve come across. You’ll find all the ingredients that games of this type should have and then some. When you play 4×4 EVO thrashing through the mud isn’t just fun. It’s doing it in style that makes it cool. This game also taught me the more important meaning behind Christmas. You might not always like what you get, but be grateful for it and remember it’s the thought that counts…Hmm, I think.
This game’s up there with the great ones as it racks up 4 1/2 out of 5 possible GiN gems.
Developers: Terminal Reality
Platforms: Dreamcast, Mac, PC, PlayStation 2