Video Game / Test Drive
A Driving Game
series, Test Drive
has seen races across the globe, in almost anything with wheels. Test Drive Overdrive: Brotherhood of Speed
has the protagonist Dennis Black competing against opponents in order to reveal the kingpin behind the street racing scenes. Unlimited
set players loose on the island of O'ahu
, Unlimited 2
adds the Spanish island of Ibiza. Ferrari Racing Legends
on the other hand is a track based racer with collections of classic layouts of famous racing tracks and only features, as the name suggests, Ferraris. It's a Long Runner
, as the series has been around since 1987, beginning under Accolade
and continuing under Infogrames and Atari
A third Test Drive Unlimited
is currently in development by Bigben Interactive, who acquired the rights to develop it from Atari SA.
Tropes in the series in general:
- Awesome, but Impractical: The TVR Speed 12 in the 2001 reboot is the most powerful car in the game next to the 2003 Viper Concept, but it handles like a greased pig.
- Bigger Stick: The acquisition of new and better vehicles, or upgrades for vehicles you already possess, like in any other case, is an invocation of this trope.
- Genre Shift: Not as exaggerated as Need for Speed, but every Test Drive game is different. The early ones are classic arcade racers, Overdrive puts storyline into mix, Unlimited goes Wide Open Sandbox, and Ferrari Racing Legends is a simulator.
- One Driver Army
- Rubber Band AI: Especially flagrant in the 2001 game. If you stay in first place long enough, the opponents will either get a super speed boost or teleport to right behind you.
- Averted in Ferrari Racing Legends.
Tropes in Test Drive (1987) and Test Drive 2: The Duel (1989):
- Cool Car: Test Drive features the coolest sports cars of its timenote and the Lotus Esprit Turbo.
- Copy Protection: The game used a wheel with car keys on it for answering a question.
- Critical Existence Failure: contact with vehicles, cars, or anything else instantly causes the car to crash - as does redlining the engine.
- Also, you actually have to stop at the gas stations at the end of each track, lest you run out of gas and lose a life. So there's no flying past the finish line like in all other racing games.
- Diegetic Interface: The game does not use an HUD, instead using the cockpits and dashboards of the car(s). Naturally, some Interface Screw can occur with the windshield.
- Enemy-Detecting Radar, used by cops to catch speeders. You can detect its use, but it can also mean there's an incoming truck.
- Level Goal: Checkpoints.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: The track is made of vector graphics without textures, everything else from the interior of the player's car to all other cars on the road (non-scaling sprites at various fixed scales drawn from ahead and behind) to the non-race screens are pixel graphics.
- Timed Mission: Timer is not displayed, and going to slow causes a loss at the next checkpoint.
- In fact, the clock is the only opponent you have in the first game. Actual races weren't possible before Test Drive 2: The Duel.
- Wraparound Background: The setting is a cliffside, but aside from turns, it's rather monotonous. It's similar to making the background go in a loop for a side-scrolling 2D game.
Tropes in Test Drive Overdrive: Brotherhood of Speed (2002)
- Ace Custom: Reese's Camaro and Skeeter's Chevelle and GTO.
- Action Girl: Several female opponents such as Marie Ling, Lisa Lux and Rei Ozawa.
- Anti-Frustration Features: Most races excluding Duel Boss races has the Practice mode where the players can test their skills before the actual race.
- Artificial Stupidity: Some opponents can even understeer and bump into traffic cars or walls. Even bosses can do that to trick the player.
- Big Bad: Vasily, the leader of underground street racing empire. Donald becomes this after Dennis defeated Vasily.
- But Not Too Foreign: Miguel, a Latin-European.
- Darker and Edgier: The storylines and the graphic styles are much grittier than the previous installments. To be fair, it is the darkest entry in the entire series.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: Dennis managed to defeat Vasily only because Donald was injured in attempt to race him.
- Face–Heel Turn: Donald, The Mole who manipulated Dennis all along.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Exploited. Not many people like Donald, which is the main cause of his Face–Heel Turn.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Donald's injury is explained by Nells saying that his Viper crashed into and wrapped itself around a tree during the race against Vasily. Yet if you try to replicate that accident with any car, Viper included, in-game it will harmlessly bounce off the tree without so much as a dent.
- Mission Control: Donald.
- Police Are Useless: Downplayed. Some police cars do notify of races but they won't catch if the racers got too far.
- The Gambler: Hamada.
- Sequential Boss: Vasily, as well as Donald, races Dennis in a series of one-on-one races throughout four different cities.
- Serious Business: The entire tone of this game. Lampshaded by Donald during Dennis' encounter against Vasily.
- The Stinger: After Dennis defeated Donald in the final race followed by the credits, Donald tells Hail to steal back his car off-screen.
- We Used to Be Friends: Dennis and Resse. Dennis and Donald.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Some opponents are jealous of Dennis' victory.
Tropes in Test Drive Unlimited (2006/7) and Test Drive Unlimited 2 (2011):
- A Taste of Power: The dream at the beginning of the second game gives you a fairly high performance Ferrari California to try out. A lot of convoy missions also let you drive some vehicles you won't be seeing often. It also applies to any car as you can test drive one before buying or to know what it's like.
- All Just a Dream: Part of the intro to the second game starts out as your birthday, Tess has gotten you a Ferrari California as a gift. During your drive of it, you hear her voice telling you to wake up and... turns out you're her chauffeur who had fallen asleep in her California. That being the last straw as she was about to fire you, but not before at least giving you the chance to join the Solar Crown racing series.
- Aloha Hawaii: The first game is set in Oahu. It is joined by Ibiza in 2.
- An Interior Designer Is You: Close, you can recolor or choose different pieces of furniture in your house but you can't re-arrange them
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: You win vouchers from the Hitchhiking and Top Model missions.
- Artificial Brilliance: The traffic on the roads realistically follows traffic laws, uses turn signals, and has fender-benders.
- Artistic License – Geography: The second game's version of Ibiza has a desert northwest of the island's main city. There is no such desert on the island in real life; Eden Games added in the desert because they didn't like how there is so much farmland on the real Ibiza, and they already had a lot of farmland in the game's Ibiza.
- Betting Mini-Game: The slot machines and roulette game at Casino Island in the second game.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: Preordering the second game from Walmart gives you the most powerful car in the game, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, which blows all the other cars away in the majority of competitions (however, a patch not only buffed the Koenigsegg CCXR to make it compete with the Veyron, it also imposed multiplayer restrictions on cars).
- Pre-ordering from Steam gave you an exclusive Pagani Zonda Tricolore (that you had to unlock by getting the required A1 license through regular gameplay).
- Certain, high powered cars like a Corvette ZR-1 or Ferrari F40 also require AT (Atari Tokens) to purchase, it's also the only way to ride a bike.
- Continuity Reboot: Unlimited could be a fresh reboot of the entire Test Drive series.
- Cool Bike: The trope image is available in the second game, along with two Ducati's, you do need to unlock it with AT though.
- Cool Boat: A yacht can be purchased on either Ibiza for 5 mil. or Hawaii on 7 mil. Which features an elevator to park your car on and a ventral mounted six car garage. It's a very good way to show to your friends how much wealth you have.
- Cool Car: Pick any one you like. From Ferrari's to any other brand you could think of.
- Cool House: You start from a measly caravan with space for two cars to a house built into the side of a hill with waterfalls and an eight car garage, one of them, the Mineral House, is even close to the yacht on Hawaii. There's also a palace like home with another eight car garage such as The Orient.
- Cosmetic Award: Averted: you actually have to earn achievements to advance in the game.
- Disc One Nuke: Most classes of vehicle have one, but none play this straighter than the Chevrolet C6 and Z06 Corvette coupes. Due to their stable handling, they also can function as Jack-of-All-Stats. Some of the cars earned by finding all car wrecks in 2 can be this if you go get them at the very start of the game.
- Downloadable Content: Certain cars, bikes and the ability to enter a casino in the second game requires Atari Tokens, bought with real money.
- Drives Like Crazy: The game partially encourages you to do this to earn money. While flat out crashing into things are still discouraged, zipping past oncoming traffic, drifting and jumping will fill up your FRIM gauge, which will give you money once it's full.
- Fanservice: The only reason why having your cars washed by Hood Ornament Hotties in skimpy clothing is so expensive.
- Fiction 500: You'll slowly become this.
- First Person Snapshooter: You'll have to take photos of specific places of Ibiza and Oahu to complete certain missions.
- Getting Arrested is a Slap on the Wrist: Much like the Need for Speed: World and Most Wanted (2012) examples on their pages. Getting busted only results in a $1,000 or so fine, nothing that a little F.R.I.M. session can replace. It's sometimes even beneficial sometimes as it helps your Social level if several players had joined the chase to take you down.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Many of the final Achievement Points you earn are of this type. Most notably, the points for "finding all roads". (Hint: they mean all segments of all major roads. Except in 2, where you actually have to find every single segment.)
- Hummer Dinger: SUV's can be purchased for the sake of off-road races, much like the reason they were intended for.
- Infinity+1 Sword: The Chrysler ME Four-Twelve in the first Unlimited. It is the fastest, quickest and grippiest car in the game, and is able to make a whole lap of the Oahu island in an hour or less. However, for unlocking it, you have to win the Supercar Series, which is unlocked very, very, very late in the game, as it's the third-to-last championship in the game, before the King Of The Hill and the Viaggio Grande; this championship is only open to class A cars (such as the Lamborghini Murcielago and the Koenigsegg CCR), and is composed of 5 long, high-speed races which can take at minimum 3 minutes and at maximum 8-10 minutes with the final race. However, once you unlock it, the rest of the game is a walk in the park.
- Joke Character: For some reason, you can unlock the Citroen 2CV and a Beetle Type 1 in Unlimited 2. The Beetle is actually the best car for F.R.I.M. because the gauge filling speed is relative to the car's top speed. Since it is rather slow but incredibly easy to drive, driving at little over 60 MPH against the traffic in the freeways makes maxing F.R.I.M ridiculously easy.
- Last Lousy Point: A lot of people seem to be unable to find the very last road segment in Ibiza Zone 2 for the second game. It's usually a tiny road leading to a windmill southeast of the airport.
- Left Hanging/Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The opening cinematic in Unlimited is never explained, resolved, or even alluded to in the game.
- Lighter and Softer: Unlimited uses bright colorful graphics and more soothing music, opposed to Overdrive which relies on dark tones, Serious Business storyline and Heavy Metal music. The Genre Shift Wide Open Sandbox helped this trope.
- Luck-Based Mission: Timed Missions with randomized traffic.
- Male Gaze: Your avatar will only and always flirt with the (female) Top Model hitchhikers, whichever gender you picked.
- Made of Iron: The Player Character, not only can they survive a crash in a Veyron at speeds over 250 MPH, looking nothing worse for wear (and the car in question would have a few scratches and dents), they also survive falling off their Harley or any other bike from a crash or a bad wheelie/stoppie and respawn a few split seconds later.
- Magic Plastic Surgery: Subverted, you can change the shape of your head but you do have to wear bandages for a certain amount of time within the game before they actually apply.
- Marathon Level: Eliminator races tend to be much longer than normal ones. The Island Tour timed races put this Up to Eleven. To give you an idea of how long they are, the Ibiza version, which is the shortest, has a par time of 54 minutes, and is around 71 miles long.
- What helps is that the par time is really high, it can take around 46 minutes on the mentioned tour. The real challenge is making sure your internet does not go down during these races, booting you back to the title screen.
- No Fair Cheating: Entering user-made events that promise players a huge payment for driving only a very short distance will get you banned from re-entering the community racing center, and you will not get paid anything. Yes, this still happens as recently as 2017.
- Obvious Beta: TDU 2 suffered from a massive amount of bugs and server failures when it was released. The PC version of the game would often times flat out refuse to let players play due to server overload.
- Optional Traffic Laws: The police won't mind if you drive in the oncoming lane, barrel down at over 200+ or lose control of your car and slide all over the road but they will only take notice of you if you hit them/other cars, hit signs, blow past a red light/stop sign or take a turn without indicating. Heck, a head-on against a cop will only fill the "Traffic Violation" meter halfway and the car you hit will simply continue on without a care for you.
- Quicksand Box: Due to the fact that players can do anything from completing side-quests, buying cars, customizing their houses, finding wrecks, finding picture locations, and finding all of the roads in a world that has no invisible walls, many players quickly put off completing the main races.
- Schmuck Bait: The car delivery missions. These are well-paid to begin with, and you can earn a 50% extra bonus if you deliver the car without a scratch, which you can easily do by driving slowly, safely, and responsibly, as there is no time limit. But since these missions invariably involve the fastest, most expensive cars in the game, are you really going to?
- Especially for the Extreme Convoys (a single tap means instant failure), this means you have to drive, like say, a Pagani Zonda Tricolore and flooring it usually results in crashing into something, even very lightly.
- Suddenly Voiced: Your avatar in Unlimited 2 says hi to the TV cameras at the start of the game right out of the blue. S/he also thanks each of the instructors once you pass their license tests. Other than that, they keep quiet for the rest of the game.
- Stalking Mission: A few.
- Virtual Paper Doll: Your avatar is costumed in whatever clothes you bought as you play.
- Wanted Meter: A neat variation. The "Traffic Violation" meter only goes up when you hit another car, signs, turn without indicating or blow past a stop sign when you're actually close to a cop unlike other games where they magically know you're doing something wrong. It also goes up when you hit a government vehicle such as a firetruck or ambulance. It's disabled completely when riding a bike since, because the player is easily knocked off the bike by collisions, a chase on one would be one sided against the player.
- Wide Open Sandbox: Once you've bought your first house and first car, (that is, about three minutes after starting), you are perfectly free to drive (almost) all over the island. And there are no invisible walls hampering you. That's right. NO. INVISIBLE. WALLS.
Ferrari Racing Legends (2012 and 2013):
- Executive Meddling: It's said that Ferrari itself vetoed realistic damage and customization options beside the color of the cars.
- Genre Shift: Breaks the tradition of the series test driving happening on public roads. Also it is much less arcade and more simulation.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The realistic driving physics when all aids are turned off are often called unrealistic because the cars appear to drift and spin so quickly.
- Saved from Development Hell: Development started as early as 2007.
- That One Level: As the three campaigns each are strictly sequential, necessary to unlock cars and tracks and each mission varying widely in difficulty, players who flew through a campaign can suddenly hit a (metaphorical) wall and have to retry again and again.