Blast from the Past: Gran Turismo 2 (PS1)

Racing
8.6

Great

blast-from-the-past-gran-turismo-2

Think of a time before the introduction of the Gran Turismo series. Racing games were either based on arcade thrills or simulation racing games that was generally rather uninteresting. Options were limited. Then Gran Turismo burst onto the scene in 1998. Everything changed. It was simulation racing perfection… and then Gran Turismo 2 somehow improved on that.

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Gran Turismo 2 launched on the PS1 towards the end of its life cycle in January in the year 2000. It had the impossible job of somehow topping the original Gran Turismo and succeeded by launching with more cars, tracks and various other options. The game came bundled on two discs. One disc contained an Arcade Mode. Here you’d battle it out against your buddies in split-screen mode, or you’d just race in some single player events. Arcade Mode was basically regarded as the Gran Turismo 2 for people who did not have time to invest, but would like a quick fix. Gran Turismo Mode is where the real fun parked.

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There were many things that made Gran Turismo 2 a way superior game over the original. One such aspect was the fact that you could transfer your licenses, some of the cars in your garage and overall save data to Gran Turismo 2. It was not a complete free ride as you would still have to take part in some license challenges, but the Class B and A license was unlocked if you already did so in the original. You see, Gran Turismo 2 continued with what worked in the original. You’d have to earn your license before being allowed to take part in an event, depending on the restrictions.

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You’d also only started with 10.000 credits that would buy you a semi decent car. Buy a car that’s around 5.000 credits and you had another 5.000 to upgrade something on the car before entering your first race. That’s the real beauty about the Gran Turismo series. Seeing an ugly duckling piece of rust being turned into a turbo charged swan is a rewarding feeling. New to Gran Turismo 2 was the availability of used cars. Though there were no visible damage features at the time, you would still have to replace the oil and upgrade your car accordingly.

Cars were divided into four regions – East, South, West and North. East stocked Japanese cars (the biggest chunk of the lot), South hosted American cars, West was the place to buy Italian and French cars (both Ferrari and Lamborghini was missing because of license issues) and in the North region you’d find British and German vehicles. Just about all the big name manufactures were represented in GT2. Once you bought a car you’d have to return to that manufacturer to tune your car. Your muffler, brakes, engine, drive train, turbo, suspension, tyre and others (including weight reduction and more) could be altered, changed, improved, decreased or replaced as required. Fit a custom gearbox and you’d be able to change up your gear ratio to work for a specific track. You could also visit the wheel shop and buy some spiffy rims and take it to a car wash after a race to make it all shiny and clean – though I never quite understood that as there was no visible detail changes on the car in-game anyway. It was just something cool to do I guess. But there was something else new to the game that took centre stage at the time – Rally events.

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In the late 90’s and early 2000’s there was a massive demand for rally games. Colin McRae Rally and V-Rally were selling well and it was time for Gran Turismo 2 to get in on the act. Tracks and official cars were limited, but what was there was an enormous amount of fun. You could also take just about any car for a rally drive. As long as you could fit rally tyres you were good to go, though it was not always the best of plans. Overall there were 27 tracks to race on, whereof the Laguna Seca was the big new real-world inclusion. Of course the classics like Trial Mountain and Deep Forest Raceway were hits, but the Seattle and Rome circuits brought a new style to the series.

To complete the game 100% took many, many hours and is still regarded as one of the best in the series to date. Play it today and you’ll find that the game has definitely aged and that it’s not quite as realistic as you remember it being. What it has not lost is the fun you’ll be having while doing any of the above mentioned stuff.

Gran Turismo 2 can be picked up for next to nothing these days and if you want a trip down racing simulation memory lane there is no other sim racer that’ll quite match this classic.

Good

  • Many cars and tracks | The inclusion of Rally tracks | Porting your garage and licenses from Gran Turismo

Bad

  • Still no car damage | You need time if you want the most out of it

Summary

I'm playing my favourite game...
8.6

Great

Gameplay - 9
Visuals - 8
Audio - 8
Gratification - 9
Value for money - 9
Married to a gamer wife who kicks my ass at most shooters. If it's got analogue thingies, with buttons that's connected to a big box I'll play it no matter the format.
  • DemonGamer

    My first playstation game ;(

  • Wesley

    One of the best games for its time!
    To think this was the pinnacle of graphics at a stage, i still remember saying “how can it get better than this?”

    Also, best part about the game was the intro…. (specifically the NTSC version, didn’t like the EU version as much)

    • I owned an NTSC console back in the day and I’ve realised, while playing this for review, that the intro is different and that the soundtrack is completely different. Not a fan of the PAL soundtrack to be honest.

      • Wesley

        Ya, i had the same problem, first played religiously on my uncles NTSC console and game before getting my own PAL one.

        Was pretty disappointing that the sound track was different.
        “Fat boy slim in heaven, in heaven” (If im remembering that correctly.)

        • Think you might have your wires crossed – that was in the original Rollcage, from what I recall. The song I do miss from the NTSC version is Now Is the Time -The Crystal Method

          Edit: And – Dragula – Rob Zombie

  • #theELF

    I think i watched the intro and listened to the song every single time i started up this game! Good times…

  • Wikus Van Dyk

    Thanx for the trip down memory lane 🙂 Those were good times ! Gran Turismo 1 and 2 is what started console gaming for me and still remember fondly the many many hours poured into those 2 games 🙂

  • Dian Fourie

    This game!!! I played soooooo many hours on those damn licenses!! Can you guys also hear that noise every time you pressed on something (phing!). Hahah so legend. Once I did an endurance race at 119 minutes (120 minute race) and accidentally pressed exit :(. Another time I did a race 8 times to get money for a new car and my dad reset the PS1 before I saved. So many memories

    • Oh man, I think I’d get a mini heart attack after playing such a long endurance.

  • I remember getting the Skyline: pikes peak version and just destroying he competition.

    • You referring to that car with the massive spoiler on the back?

      • Yes, the red one.

        • Ethan Jappie

          I think your talking about the Suzuki Escudo Pikes peak. If im not mistaken. I’ve played all Gran Turismo’s and when you mention “destroying the competition”, that’s the first thing that comes to mind

          • I think you are correct, good sir 😛

    • Treezle

      You remember the trick to get it to like 1300 km/h (yes, 1300km/h)? That was cool.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTDnnFh3PZ8

  • Ethan Jappie

    Loved this game so much that I even got a PS1 emulator with the ROM and chucked it on my phone, jamming it with a cheap USB controller I had. Such fun, best of all I could play it anywhere, anytime.

    • Wow, that’s quite hardcore man. You must REALLY love this game 🙂

      • Ethan Jappie

        It was the Forza 6 of its time. Just plain incredible, no two ways around it. The sheer amount of cars available in the Gran Turismo series is just mind blowing, especially my staple diet of Gran Turismo 4 on the trusty PS2 Slimline.

        • I remember that at the time I drove 60KM to go pick up my copy of the game from my local video game store. It was a big deal back then. Forza 6 is definitely the new GT2, but I really wish GT would get their act together in this day and age.

          • Ethan Jappie

            They have really dropped the ball. GT4 was the undisputed racing simulator king. GT5 was a such a let down and they never really recovered from it. The thing with GT4 was that you become so attached to your car and every aspect of it to thrash your opponent in splitscreen mode.
            I think a GT4 remake and port to PS4 would definitely get alot of hype from die-hard and casual GT4 fans.

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