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game review: "Flatout" from BugBear Ent. -- $10 on Steam

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April 1, 2008 10:04:27 PM

I bought this a few days ago. It is definitely worth $10. I think it is from 2005, so you don't need a gazillion dollar video card to play it. It plays fine on my AMD X2 Athlon with onboard Nvidia 6150 SE graphics. It took about 4 hours to download.

It is somewhere in between a casual car racing game and a hardcore Formula 1/NASCAR full simulation. The style of racing seems to be dirt track amateur racing with some European style rally racing elements.

It has a single player racing mode where you race against AI drivers. There are about 15 cars that you can eventually unlock (starts out with about 6). The car makes and models are not named, but they look just like classic muscle cars like the Camaro, Barracuda, Mustang, Renault R5, Charger, etc., and you can pick the color of your car. There are about 10 different tracks, perhaps more can be unlocked. There is also a real fun demolition derby. There's sort of like an Evil Knievel mode where you get to jump across huge ramps in front of a crowded stadium. Also, there is a Career Mode where you can build up race winnings and improve your car and advance.

I have not tried LAN or multiplayer online, but they do exist.

Game play is intuitive and fun. You mostly use the left axis to control steering and throttle/braking. It sounds simplistic but it is very precise and accurate. The game recognized my Logitech Dual Action gamepad right away and did not require any programming.

The physics are quite accurate. The graphics are colorful and nice looking, if a bit dated. I like how the cars look with their colorful local sponsor logos on them. If you crash hard, the driver will be violently thrown from the car, crash test dummy style. Kids, wear your seatbelts.

Overall, a decent game for $10. It can not touch any of the latest driving simulation games in terms of graphics, but the price is right and the fun is there.

More about : game review flatout bugbear ent steam

April 1, 2008 10:05:34 PM

forgot to mention: there is a free demo available on Steam, so you can check it out before buying. Steam is free to download.
April 2, 2008 10:15:33 PM

I liked that game alot. Keep your eyes out for Flatout 2. it is already down to $20 or maybe less, and is a much better game than the original IMO. Honestly once you get Flatout 2 I doubt you would play Flatout 1 again.

And yes, Flatout and FL2 both look/play great on modest systems.
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April 3, 2008 5:28:37 PM

If you think that is fun, don't miss out on Trackmania Sunrise and Trackmania Sunrise eXtreme (usually called TMN Sunrise)

Trackmania original demo (good for older PC's, haven't played it): http://www.download.com/Trackmania-demo/3000-7519_4-104...

Trackmania Sunrise demo (all sorts of options should run fine with reduced quality): http://www.download.com/TrackMania-Sunrise-demo/3000-75...

Trackmania eXtreme demo(sort of expanded Sunrise): http://www.download.com/Trackmania-Sunrise-eXtreme-demo...

Free Trackmania Nations (complete electronic games world cup edition): http://www.download.com/Trackmania-Nations-ESWC/3000-75...

They are currently selling Trackmania United (all of the above plus improvements) for $30: http://www.tm-united.com/eng/index.php?lang=en&rub=down...

Even if you don't care to spend money, at least get a good gamepad and give the free demos a play.

Flatout seemed like a cutscene version of this game (all watching the action and very little playing it), perhaps a little flashier, but not really worth it.

VIDEO CARDS:


If your budget is low then get a 6600GT or 7300GT (I have had a 6100 and a 6150, my brothers Geforce2 GTS could kick its ass, for $25 there is no excuse to game on that piddly integrated, it should still stay enabled, so you can use it for an extra screen, or TV-Out if you got a real 6150, but I had to hunt for one that actually had RGB/S-Video/Composite outputs):
http://search.ebay.com/7300Gt_W0QQ_trksidZm37QQcatrefZC...

6600GT for $25!! http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3202...


I recommend trying a 7900GS video card for $80-90 on ebay to see what you are missing. http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?sofocus=bs&sbr...

One is "buy it now" for $52.99 +4.60 s&h!!! http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3302...


Or grab a 9600GT for $150 on newegg.com (these freaks of nature are almost as fast as an 8800GT!) : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
April 3, 2008 10:15:27 PM

I've never played trackmania but will give the demos a try.


On the cards, I wouldn't recommend a 7900GS used for $80-90. You can get a HD2600XT brand new for much less and it spanks the 7900GS in some new games like UT3, Crysis, COD4, Oblivion, NFS:Carbon, etc. I bough this GDDR4 version for $63 AR with the Witcher: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, an 8800GS or 9600GT is twice the card and costs $110 AR new. For old games the 7900GS is decent, not worth over $50 IMO though.
April 4, 2008 5:41:36 AM

Tell that to mine, I have it clocked at 650mhz core and it was actually faster than my 8800GT (in the games I play), so I sold that 8800GT (note, I do not play in Vista, and need Stereoscopic 3D drivers for my Dual Monitor polarized 3D vision rig, which I use to play games with depth perception, currently only supported on a 7 series card with the nVidia stereoscopic drivers: http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=32547&view... )

I still stand by my remarks, the 7 series is a much more capable overclocker, and for $60 I can't recommend ATi over it. (Add the tax and shipping, and assuming you can get the rebate, the 7900GS is clearly a better deal. IE less money and you get plenty for the money.)
PS, see here: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/msi_... The 2600XT is clearly worse than a 8600GT, and as we all know a 7900 series eats it for breakfast, especially with a mild overclock (256bit wide memory bus anyone, anyone? Yes the 7900 series is the card that has it.)

I think you may be right as far as the Vista support and newer games go, but I don't think that holds true for the resolutions games and the system that this fellow may be running. Besides, I would never recommend the 2600XT with the 9600GT at so close a price (Without rebates, including tax and shipping).


The 9600GT as you pointed out is a very good deal, thusly I recommended it (I notice you didn't touch the 6600Gt for $25, you know that is a steal, and much faster than 6150 integrated graphics), please feel free to post where people are giving away $110 9600GT (None of this "AR" After Rebate business, my prices included shipping/tax and no rebates)

The OP was excited over a $10 game, I felt that maybe he could use a budget video card that he could afford.
April 4, 2008 9:19:20 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would the above card be much of an improvement over my stock 6150 SE onboard graphics? The price seems awesome -- $16 after rebate. Or there's an ATI equivalent for the same price.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What's better for budget gaming -- ATI or Nvidia? Is there a better card that I should be considering rather than the above? My budget is $50 or so.

Thanks for the help.
April 4, 2008 9:45:43 PM

nubie said:
Tell that to mine, I have it clocked at 650mhz core and it was actually faster than my 8800GT (in the games I play), so I sold that 8800GT (note, I do not play in Vista, and need Stereoscopic 3D drivers for my Dual Monitor polarized 3D vision rig, which I use to play games with depth perception, currently only supported on a 7 series card with the nVidia stereoscopic drivers: http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=32547&view... )

I still stand by my remarks, the 7 series is a much more capable overclocker, and for $60 I can't recommend ATi over it. (Add the tax and shipping, and assuming you can get the rebate, the 7900GS is clearly a better deal. IE less money and you get plenty for the money.)
PS, see here: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/msi_... The 2600XT is clearly worse than a 8600GT, and as we all know a 7900 series eats it for breakfast, especially with a mild overclock (256bit wide memory bus anyone, anyone? Yes the 7900 series is the card that has it.)

I think you may be right as far as the Vista support and newer games go, but I don't think that holds true for the resolutions games and the system that this fellow may be running. Besides, I would never recommend the 2600XT with the 9600GT at so close a price (Without rebates, including tax and shipping).


The 9600GT as you pointed out is a very good deal, thusly I recommended it (I notice you didn't touch the 6600Gt for $25, you know that is a steal, and much faster than 6150 integrated graphics), please feel free to post where people are giving away $110 9600GT (None of this "AR" After Rebate business, my prices included shipping/tax and no rebates)

The OP was excited over a $10 game, I felt that maybe he could use a budget video card that he could afford.


I also have saved my 7800GT OC for it's stereoscopic support, although I rarely use the 3d glasses anymore. This advantage to the GF7's benefits less than 1% of gamers., so unless it applies it's a worthless advantage. A disadvantage to not being able to run FSAA+FP16 HDR like in Oblivion and farcry would impact a much larger crowd of gamers. The lower image quality and texture shimmering with default driver optimizations does too. And I know first hand the GF7's are aweful in many new games. Even going back to Oblivion and NFS:Carbon, it was already showing it's age and shader inefficeincies.

I think you really need to re-think recommending the GF7's now. It makes sense for your games and stereoscopic needs, but not really for anyone else unless they are dirt cheap and play older games. I don't care how high you clock a 7900GS or whether you even pair two in SLI, they can not beat a single 8800GT in GPU intensive games/settings. You must have been testing situations that were CPU limited to get those results. Lets have a look at some examples:

The HD2600XT beats the 7900GTX in UT3: http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3128&p=4

You don't have to run Vista to see the GF7's tank to lousy performance. Just crank eye candy or resolution in any of the new GPU demanding games. Have a look, Windows XP in this one, and the HD2600XT destroys the 7900GS 512MB by over 100%. (Twice the performance)
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=693&p=5

And it's not just UT3. In Crysis, and again Win XP, we see the HD2600XT destroy the 7900GS by over 50% at playable settings: http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=698&p=2

COD4 is another pitiful showing for GF7's. The X1950 pro beats the once equal 7900GT by 50%.
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/call_of_duty_4_demo...

Oblivion we saw the GF7's struggle bgtime with low fps in the outdoor foliage:
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/oblivion_high-end_p...
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2746&p=4

And NFS Carbon was another early bad showing of what was to come for the GF7's:
http://www.elitebastards.com/cms/index.php?option=com_c...


Anyway, 5 games, 3 review sites, two OS's, all with the same trend. The GF7's should not be recommended for current games unless dirt cheap. Why recommend a used 7900GS over a cheaper brand new HD2600XT with results like we see in current games?


I agree with you on the 9600GT and the 6600GT. Good deals for sure. And a 7900GS would be fine too if under $50 and not intended for the games mentioned above.

(edit fixed link)
April 4, 2008 9:56:51 PM

gta_bmx said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would the above card be much of an improvement over my stock 6150 SE onboard graphics? The price seems awesome -- $16 after rebate. Or there's an ATI equivalent for the same price.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What's better for budget gaming -- ATI or Nvidia? Is there a better card that I should be considering rather than the above? My budget is $50 or so.

Thanks for the help.

Better than your integrated ... may be true, but still quite lousy for gaming.

Staying under $50 in a brand new PCI-e card, the HD2600 pro is your best bet. But make sure it is a 128-bit version not a 64-bit version. Under $50 after rebate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or just over $50 AR for this iceQ 512MB one.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You may really want to consider used. X1900GT, X1800XT, 7900GS, even a cheap 7600GT priced right would be MUCH better than a new card like in your links. You really need to find out which is best for your games. All should do well at Flatout. Also check into your power supply to make sure you can power the new card. Post your power supply model and specs (off it's label) and we can help clear that up.
April 6, 2008 3:06:27 AM

I ended up buying an Asus 7300GT for $30 which hasn't arrived yet. It'll be a lot better than the on-board 6150 SE graphics my PC has now. It'll be a temporary card until I can buy an 8800 or equivalent card. And I won't have to change my stock PS with this Nvidia 7300GT. Heck, I was happy playing GTA: San Andreas on the 6150 SE, so this 7300GT ought to rock. I didn't know what I was missing.
April 6, 2008 11:22:34 AM

" I have not tried LAN or multiplayer online, but they do exist. " LAN is built into Flatout 1, but there no multiplayer online unless you use a lobby program like Flatoutnet or FlatoutnetPro.

Since trying out the Flatout 1 demo back in summer of 2005, I've been hook big time on Flatout 1 and 2. If you want some fun Bump to Pass racing and derbing with real players online, Flatout 1 and 2 is the way to go. You can find some of us Flatout Manics over at Flatout Joint.

flatoutjoint.com
April 6, 2008 12:36:28 PM

Flatout 2 is awesome, I bought 2 copies at 75% off clearance for $5 each and my girl and I tear each other up and beat our cars to death once in a while. it's good fun.
April 6, 2008 12:42:44 PM

thanks for the info.. I'll definitely check it out. Last night, I bought 'GTI Racing' and 'Xpand Rally' off of Steam. Both games cost $9.95 each, but they had a combo pack for $14.95 for both. Both are made by Techland. 'GTI Racing', I think, is made from the 'Xpand Rally' engine. It has a lot of Volkswagen models in it -- everything from a classic Beetle, 70's Rabbits to modern day Jettas, Golfs, etc.. I couldn't crank the settings all the way up on these games due to my modest onboard graphics but the games play well on the balanced settings. I can't wait for my Asus Nvidia 7300GT to arrive to see what these games look/play like on max settings.

They're both fun games and worth $14.95 but not as much fun as 'Flatout'. But I should reserve judgment until I get a better video card and play these games more.

With all these racing games I own now, I should look into a steering wheel/pedals combo. Anyone have any experience with them? Logitech has a $75 MOMO unit with force feedback.
April 6, 2008 2:38:50 PM

I've played 'Xpand Rally' a lot this morning, and it's real fun. Comparing it to 'Flatout' was unfair. XR is more of a deep rally racing simulation game than 'Flatout'. Different racing genre, also a matter of simulation versus arcade (but there is an Arcade mode in XR).

There's a lot to explore in XR. There are about 7 classes of cars and about 5 cars in each class to choose from. And you can add hop-up parts right away.

Right now, I'm having fun improving my elapsed times each time I race. There are demos available at the official website:

http://xpandrally.com/
April 6, 2008 5:08:49 PM

The Logitech momo is very nice for the price. I have 2 of them and highly recommend them in the sub $100 range. The Logitech G25 is much better even, but also costs a fortune in comparison.

I gotta tell ya, once you start racing with a wheel like the momo, Keyboards or even gamepads will disaapoint from there on out.
April 6, 2008 7:22:27 PM

^-- Agreed, the Logitech MOMO is a nice wheel. I have one and am buying another so my girl and I can race online together in Nascar 2003, whew good thing I bought 2 copies of it back in the day.
April 7, 2008 10:29:20 AM

I have 2 MOMO wheels for my 2 computers. Ya $75 dollars that a good buy. I got mine for that price at Newegg.com. The G25 is $266 at Newegg.

My friend Heddly upgraded to G25 and it has improve his racing online. He getting a lot more first place finishes. I don't do to bad with my MOMO, but do have metal shavings and kinda wore out my first MOMO a little, so pass it on to a family member.

If you start to lose some full throttle with MOMO gas petal, don't tear apart base to try and fix gas pedal like I did with first MOMO, better off to read this thread about fix at Flatout Joint:

http://flatoutjoint.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=26&topic=535.0
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