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Date of review: 12-January-2000
Type Of Review: Miscellaneous
Driving simulations are the staple virtual diets of many gamers. As such, software houses have been churning out "games on wheels" for the relish of the gaming community. We have seen highly popular ones such as Electronic Arts' Need For Speed : High Stakes and refreshing ones like Microsoft's Midtown Madness. Of course, a fair share of wacky and zany titles as exemplified by Carmaggeddon 2 is also present.
However, no matter the motif, the immersion factor is still the driving force behind the genre. In-game car physics and eye candy can only do so much to bring about more realistic gameplay. To further reach a peak in realism, the physical side of gameplay has to be enhanced. Force feedback wheels equipped with brake and gas pedals now set the stage for new heights for that behind-the-wheel experience.
ACT-LABS, a company known for its commitment to the game controller arena, has come up with the Force Racing System or Force RS, a force feedback wheel and pedal control system. For added hardcore driving experience, ACT-LABS has also come up with a proprietary gear shifting system called the RS Shifter.
The Force RS and RS Shifter Package
Before I go on, we here at Hardware One wish to thank Eugene Hernandez for the valuable assistance he's rendered to us during his stay at ACT-LABS. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
NB : In this review, text in light blue represent game performance using the RS Shifter.
Here's a checklist of system requirements to have in order to use the Force RS.
- IBM PC Compatible with 486 or Higher Processor.
- Free Serial Port Connection.
- 2x CD-ROM Drive or Higher.
- 5MB Free Hard Disk Space.
- Windows 95/98 Operating System.
- DirectX 5.0 or Higher.
Contents (Force RS)
The Force RS comes in quite a big cardboard box very much like that used to package large inkjet printers. This is not surprising considering the size of the wheel and pedal base. Here is a list of contents :
- 01 x Force RS Racing Wheel.
- 01 x Gas/Brake Pedal Base.
- 01 x Force RS Engine Cartridge System.
- 01 x Power Supply.
- 01 x Force RS Owner's Manual.
- 01 x Registration Card.
- 01 x Setup CD.
- 01 x Ubi Soft's F1 Racing Simulation Game CD.
The items listed above should be self-explanatory save for the Engine System Cartridge and the Game CD. I will elaborate on the wheel and pedals later.
The Force RS and the Stuff needed for Road Rage
The Engine System Cartridge is a module that plugs into a rear slot on the base of the RS wheel. This will allow the Force RS to function with the PC. Other cartridges are also available that allow the Force RS to work with the N64, PSX and Sega Dreamcast. Yes, the Force RS can be used with game consoles as well! However, the respective cartridges are not provided and must be purchased separately.
The Mounted Wheel Unit with its Trusty Sidekick, the RS Shifter
The game bundle is not spectacular and just consists of Ubi Soft's F1 Racing Simulation. This Formula 1 racing game is rather dated by today's standards but still provides a satisfying platform for a force feedback experience.
Contents (RS Shifter)
The RS Shifter comes in a neatly designed package which has a Baldur's Gate-style ACT-LABS logo. The unit is available in two variations. The first is used for non-force feedback wheels and the other for use in wheels with feedback. The content in each is different. I received the unit that supports force feedback. The contents are as follows:
- 01 x RS Shifter Unit with Mounting Bracket.
- 01 x RS Shifter Engine Adapter.
- 01 x Accessory 6-Speed Shifter Plate.
- 01 x Rally Championship Demo Game CD.
- 01 x User's Manual.
The Contents of the RS Shifter
The RS Shifter Engine adapter is a large module to necessitate the upgrade of the Force RS in order to use the Shifter unit. The two given shifter plates are used to accommodate different shift patterns. The 6-speed plate restricts gear shifting to the regular five forward and one reverse shift pattern. The legacy plate will block off all gates save two to support games that do not offer free shifting.
The Force RS Engine Cartridge
The RS Shifter Engine Cartridge