Enthusia Professional Racing is the first auto racing simulator made by Konami.
There are five available play modes:
· Enthusia Life
· Free Race
· Driving Revolution
· Time Attack
· Versus Racing
Although the main mode, "Enthusia Life", is a little awkward at first, it is original and easy for the player to get used to. As opposed to purchasing vehicles as in the majority of games in the "driving simulator" genre, unlocking cars is done by completing a race, followed by a slot machine style method that determines which opposing car in the race you unlock, and depending on when the player stops the slot, sometimes no car at all is unlocked.
Also, instead of purchasing parts to improve your car, "Enthu Points" are used to keep track of collisions with walls and cars, or going off course. These points are used to calculate a form of "experience points" which, when enough are obtained, a stat of the car (weight, power, or tires) is upgraded, up to three times each. The more "Enthu Points" are lost, the less points one can get to upgrade a car.
The driver can also be upgraded in the same way, with the points changing stats such as maximum number of "Enthu Points" or the rate at which they are recovered after a race. If a player runs out of "Enthu Points" ("Driver HP" in the JPN version) during a race, the player is has to miss the next race. Full points can be restored by "resting," or a large amount is restored when changing a car.
Another unique mode of play in Enthusia is the "Driving Revolution" mode. In this mode players must attempt to pass through gates at the correct speed while accelerating, braking or keeping a constant speed. Points are gained for doing this correctly and enough points must be gained to pass on to the next level.
Compared to a 700+ vehicle racing simulator like Gran Turismo 4, Enthusia distinguishes itself by a decent selection of rare makers such as Saab or Smart and collectible cars including the Bugatti EB110 '91, Citroën DS 23 Pallas '73, BMW M1 Procar '79, BMW 3.0 CSL works car '73, De Tomaso Pantera GTS '73, Alfa Romeo SZ '89 and more. In total, Enthusia includes 211 vehicles to choose from in classes ranging from F through A and R.
The game's visual effects include a speed blur effect in first person view (as appeared in Genki's Racing Battle C1 Grand Prix released a few weeks later), very detailed graphics with highly detailed CG-like car models (Citröen 2cv 6 Charleston) e.g. the Bugatti EB110's rear spoiler slowly rises up in real time at the beginning of the race just like in the real life.
Enthusia also features realistic foreground textures (Burgenschlucht, Löwenseering courses), and course animations such as birds taking off, an animated windpower park (Burgenschlucht), multiple waterfalls, rivers and fountains (Mystic Caveway, Edge Of The Road), car traffic (Route De La Seine) or even a full aerobatic demonstration team emitting coloured smoke trails (Löwenseering) complete with a realistic aircraft fly-by sound.
Enthusia contains ultra realistic engine, tire and exhaust sounds admired by car industry professionals (Hiroshi Ito from Mazda Motors vehicle development division) and experienced pro driver celebrities (Motoharu "Gan San" Kurosawa who raced 6000 laps over Nürburgring the last 20 years).
The Replay mode in Enthusia is also different from most seen in other games of the genre. Replays contain visual effects such as dirt buildup on sideskirts and tires on rally stages, cars emitting smoke on rally raid stages, wind streams moving dune sand, animated waves on the Dakar seashore or the choked sound of the car bouncing on the sand dunes (Mirage Crossing).
Also worthy of noting, Enthusia appears to be the first game of its kind to accurately represent automatic transmissions. Many racing/driving simulators use a generic automatic method of requiring the engine to reach a set redline in each gear before it will shift to the next gear regardless of the amount of throttle being applied. In Enthusia, pressure sensitive throttle input is taken advantage of to mimic real automatic transmission characteristics.
For example, you can be in a high gear "cruising" at the standard highway speed (U.S.) of 65mph, and you will be in the highest gear/lowest RPM range for optimal fuel efficiency. If you were to apply full throttle, Enthusia senses this and down shifts to a lower gear to provide more power - like in real life. While this is a much overlooked feature due to its functionality, it is one of the many small unique things that set Enthusia apart from other simulators, and true car enthusiasts notice.
On the other hand there are some flaws and perfectible aspects such as the low-fi background bitmaps (Dragon Range, Burgenschlucht) which look unnatural and inferior compared to the photo realistic high-resolution background bitmaps used in Gran Turismo 4 (Citta Di Aria, Grand Canyon courses). Also, the game could have featured options such as Widescreen mode, 480p, screen adjust setup, hide display function and Dolby Prologic II sound instead of simply mono or stereo sound options.
Enthusia can be used with the Logitech Driving Force, Driving Force Pro, Driving Force GT and G25 steering wheels. For the last three wheels the game fully supports the 900-Degree Steering mode.
Source: Wikipedia, "Enthusia Professional Racing", available under the CC-BY-SA License.