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Blast your favorite driving music in iTunes while racing against others online.
Gun that engine and mash that accelerator - there's a new Mac-native racing game. Ambrosia Software's Redline sports an advanced physics engine that’s finely tuned for a tight driving experience, yet at the same time gives you the feeling that inertia can be a harsh mistress. As you fly around hairpin curves at close to 200 mph, you'll see that Redline’s physics engine was made for drift turning.
Each of the 13 vehicles, including a Mini Cooper, a Lamborghini Diablo, and a DeLorean, has its own handling, weight, and acceleration - unfortunately, the car model graphics look boxy. The controls are similar to those in any other racing game: accelerator, brake, and handbrake, a must for smooth powerslides. Redline also has a unique Full Throttle control that slams on the gas and keeps the tachometer within the redline. This little gem helps you tear out of the gate fast or catch up to your opponents, but mishandle the Full Throttle and you'll make doughnuts instead.
You can race on the six tracks day or night, rain or shine. To add variety, they can be reversed (even the speed limit signs appear backward). The tracks range from your standard loop to city streets to - our personal favorite - winding mountain passes.
To help you learn the nuances of each car, Challenges mode contains preset objectives, such as slaloming, taking tight curves, and so on, that improve your racing skills and unlock hidden car models. The challenges force you to put serious thought into your driving; you can't just react, which could be frustrating for some. Simulation mode, which features realistic handling and physics for each car, could've been more fun if it had a collision-damage system.
Redline shines online. Setting up a game for up to 12 players (depending on your Internet connection speed) is easy and fast. You can also set up macros for talking smack and controlling your iTunes library from inside the game. Ambrosia lets you create Redline add-ons, too, so you can build custom cars and tracks. Some of the add-ons are available on Ambrosia's website.
The bottom line. For $25, Redline is a whole lotta fun. The online aspects of the game give you more than your money's worth.
COMPANY: Ambrosia Software
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.2 or later, 56Kbps modem or faster for network play
Fun online play.
No collision damage in simulation mode. Some cars and tracks have a steep learning curve.