For driving game fans, the TurboGrafx console may be a bit of a disappointment. To be honest, there just aren't that many games in this genre that were released on American shores for NEC's workhorse. With that in mind, they knew that they had to make the most impact with the games that they did release. Final Lap Twin was one of those games with which NEC tried to win the hearts of racing fans, and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised.
The first that strikes you when you look at a game are its graphics. When compared to the arcade version of Final Lap, the Turbografx version is not nearly as pretty. This may turn off some gamers, but I would challenge them to look a little bit deeper. While this game doesn't make the best use of the console's 16-bit graphical capabilities, it does get the job done. As for being adequate, the sound pretty much lines up in that category as well. The game's tunes are not memorable by any stretch of the imagination, but they're also not going to annoy you beyond compare either. In fact, when you're in the midst of a heated battle against a friend, you won't take too much notice of the sound anyway.
The places where this game really shines are in the gameplay and lasting appeal departments. The controls, although perhaps a bit simplistic, are dead-on. They even enable you to make it through hairpin turns unscathed. In most driving games, I'll tend to steer clear of manual transmissions as well, but it's a piece of cake to drive them here. In fact, you'll probably find that your best bet is to learn how to drive this cars for the added horsepower that they bring to the table.
For standard single and two player action, the game consists of racing a ten track series. There are two series to choose from, with F1 offering the more challenging tracks. For each race, you will win points, based upon how well you finish. Your goal is to win the series championship by accumulating the most points over a season. However, you'll find that the computer opponent that races on the bottom half of the screen can be very tenacious. What's even more fun, though, is to battle a friend. Adding some human competition to the field of computer controlled opponents makes things much more challenging. As if the series mode were not enough, NEC was very innovative in throwing in a radio control car racing role-playing game. While this may seem strange, it can be quite interesting, and compares favorably with the tennis role-playing game that's included with World Court Tennis.
Final Lap Twin came through with more than I would ever have bargained for in a game like this. In fact, I will even go out on a branch and say that it is probably one of the most enjoyable multi-player games that I've played on the TurboGrafx. With the added bonus of the race-themed role-playing game, this title will keep you coming back for more!