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Race Driver: Create & Race is the first and currently only Nintendo DS incarnation of Codemasters
' popular Race Driver
series. The game emulates the console instalments of the series by offering the player a wide variety of real-world competitions, vehicles and tracks. Unique to Create & Race is the ability to custom-build race tracks and subsequently use them in multiplayer races. From a critical standpoint the game was well-received, earning several positive reviews.
In terms of its gameplay, Create & Race plays like a cross between an arcade racer and a driving simulation. The game features likenesses of real-world cars, tracks and competitions, and much like its console counterparts offers a wide variety of vehicular disciplines. These include open-wheel racing, touring cars such as the DTM, and GT events. Create & Race gives the player an opportunity to experience any of these disciplines in all of its game modes. In total, the game features 17 championships, 32 real circuits and 24 officially licensed cars, each with several different decals. The driving model is similar to that of the other games in the series, albeit on a smaller scale; players compete in championships spanning several races and featuring up to eight vehicles, with the aim of coming first (or as close to first as possible) in each race.
In contrast to this simulation-based race structure, the handling of the cars is very loose and forgiving, closer to an arcade game than a simulation. Nonetheless, care must be taken when driving due to the implementation of a damage model. While no visible damage will occur (presumably due to the technical constraints of the DS), the different components of the car will sustain damage depending on the area and severity of the collision. Damage to different parts of the car will impair its ability to function in different ways; damaging the steering column will cause the car to veer to one side, while a broken gearbox will result in slower gear shifting. This encourages the player to drive quickly but sensibly.
Create & Race uses the dual-screen capability of the DS to provide players with two different views. While the conventional racing view appears on the DS' top screen, the touch screen shows a 2D track map along with damage indicators for each of the car's key components. While touch controls are supported in the game's menus, there is no touch screen support during a race.