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Press Update on Enthusia – Professional Racing

Konami of Europe unveils all-new Virtual Gravity System details and further additions to Manabu Akita’s realistic racer

Konami of Europe has unveiled new details of key gameplay additions to its forthcoming Enthusia - Professional Racing title for PlayStation 2. Due for release in 2005, the photo-realistic game is the brainchild of Producer Manabu Akita, who enjoys a proven track record with a series of smash-hit video game racers and a contributor to the Le Mans-winning Team Goh racing team.

Key additions now include:

  • Utterly realistic controls: Enthusia - Professional Racing utilises a number of key advances, including a non-linear throttle to give the player total control over acceleration and deceleration, while the PlayStation 2's controller is also used to effect a side brake and clutch.

The side brake has been implemented via the R1 button to allow for easy drifting around corners, while the clutch is used by pressing the L1 button. As such, the clutch can be used to create different drift styles, and increase the revs of the car. Players, can, however, opt for an automatic clutch system when changing gear.

  • Key changes to 'VGS': One of the vital elements of Enthusia - Professional Racing's realism is Akita's 'Virtual Gravity System.' An on-screen guide that allows the player to determine where the car is feeling the most pressure and turn accordingly to keep up their speed, the VGS icon was originally an arrowed icon. This has now been changed to a ball that moves from a central position to show the direction and strength of the G-force and allows for more precision on the player's part (new version pictured).

The system has also been altered to show the stresses on the car's tyres. Initially, the VGS icon would flash to indicate the car was at its upper levels for grip tolerance. Now, however, all four tyres are shown individually, allowing the player to gauge their drift timings with more accuracy. The angles of each tyre are also shown, adding further precision to the game.

  • Play area: Akita-san has stressed that the visibility offered to the player must be as clear as possible. To this end, the screen remains uncluttered, with the key dials information shown in an instantly recognisable format. Speed is now shown by a smooth-moving metre, allowing players to accurately gauge their speed and use it for smoother gear changes, while new 'Torque' and 'Power' lamps indicate when the car is nearing its maximum torque or speed, allowing the user to adapt their driving strategy to work within these parameters.

The visible play area has also been widened, to emphasise when the car is slowing or accelerating. With more of the play area on screen, players can now also judge corners more easily, with the screen shaking to indicate rougher terrain.

  • New Courses: Enthusia - Professional Racing uses a mix of real and fictitious courses, with circuits included from all over the globe. Japan is represented by its Tsukuba Circuit - which is ideal for the game's Time Attack mode, being an equivalent to its European counterpart Nurburgring. Similarly, an all-new mountain path has been included, allowing for plentiful hazardous power-sliding as the player descends!

The game's Route de la Seine Paris level has also been changed. Plans to utilise an authentically-modeled recreation of the French course have been changed to make for a more fun experience that still boasts the tight corners and hills of this suburban locale, but has changed it to make it even more challenging.

  • New Cars: Old and new versions of the RX-7, 180SX and Imprezas are now included, while the Garaiya - an originally modeled sports car created by Japanese manufacturers, Autobacks - has been faithfully recreated.

Says Manabu Akita of the revisions: "Enthusia is always improving as it goes along, and the biggest change this time is showing an overview of all four tyres. You can now easily see the angle of the tyres, the grip and the traction, while the new ball system demonstrates the VGS far better than before. We hope that these additions show we are constantly striving to make Enthusia the definitive racing game to date."

Enthusia will be released for PlayStation 2 in 2005.

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