Test Drive Unlimited
10th Jan 2007 | 17:15
until the wheels come off... Set foot on Oahu and you're faced with a gameworld so large that it's almost overwhelming. Don't panic! Below you'll find a beginners' guide that gives you everything you need to know about how to earn cash, which rides are the best, how to unlock all the Achievements and plenty more bits and bobs besides.
1. START YOUR ENGINES
Once you've touched down on Oahu there's a little tutorial that guides you through some of the game's basics and it's all very straightforward. The only thing to note here is when it comes to renting a vehicle, don't bother with anything fancy-pants, it's a waste of cash. Rent the Chevrolet SSR for just the ten minutes then finish the tutorial.
2. THE FIRST RIDE
There isn't a massive choice of vehicles in your price range when you start out and they're much of a muchness really. Your best bet is to hit the Audi showroom and get the TT Quattro Sport, which has more than enough under the bonnet to win Gold in the first set of challenges. It's certainly going to beat walking, anyway.
3. THE FIRST RACES
Flipping to the map you'll see there's a small clutch of Rookie races and challenges available, all centred around the main city in the south of the Island. Hammer through all of these to earn yourself a decent wodge of cash. Unless you're desperate to visit the Ben Sherman or Mark Ecko shops for new threads, we'd suggest ignoring the Hitchhiker and Top Model missions as success is rewarded with clothes vouchers. Cash is more pressing an issue at the moment.
4. BRAKE POINT, CORNER BALL
We've found that races versus the AI opponents don't present much of a challenge, both at the start and throughout the game, providing you've got a motor that's roughly equal in performance to those you're racing against. However, if you are finding it a little tricky, the golden ticket to victory lies in the braking and cornering. The AI are way too conservative in this area, so try and avoid hard braking on corners unless it's really necessary, instead lifting your finger off the accelerator to reduce speed before jumping back on it to power through the apex of the turn. This works a treat on multi-lane roads where there's plenty of room to manoeuvre and you'll leave your rivals trailing far behind.
5. AMATEUR DRAMATICS
By now you should have unlocked a couple of Achievements and also unlocked the game's Amateur challenges, which require an E Class vehicle. The understandable temptation is to hit the showrooms and splash all that cash you've won on a new ride. We'd suggest restraint! Don't make a purchase, there's a better way. First of all, though, take your existing car and go on a little driving tour to the south east of the island. Flip the map on and you'll see a bunch of Amateur races around that area. Drive to them in your F Class car so that you're able to jump to them at any time (you'll have learnt about that from the game's hints).
6. RENTAL CASE
So you've highlighted a bunch of Amateur races. Now you want to head over to the car rental place by the airport, the one you visited upon landing in Oahu. Got there? Great. Now rent the Pontiac GTO for a 20 minute period, which'll cost you peanuts. Now you can use the map to flip to those Amateur races you highlighted. The Pontiac, plus using that braking/cornering technique mentioned above, should net you victories in the races (and hence plenty of dollarage) while a little more driving skill is needed to nail the speed challenges. But not much.
7. COURIER CHOICE
It won't take you all the time in the world to find that there's an Amateur time trial called Objective: Time. Make sure you enter this as it'll open up one of the lucrative courier missions. For a fast buck (or rather a fast 40,000 bucks) nip back to the rental place by the airport and get yourself the wee Lotus, which will give you enough zip to nail the challenge (as long as you don't plough it into a tree on every bend, naturally).
8. THE ISLAND'S YOUR OYSTER
If you've followed the above then we reckon you've pocketed around $110,000 by this point in the game, which is a rock solid financial base from which to build. It's really up to you how you explore Oahu from now on. If you nail a few more challenges using the rental method above, you'll be able to afford an E, D and C class motor, or you could splash out on a solo B class for your garage. If you want to build your bank balance to Beckhamesque proportions, use our map overleaf to find all the Vehicle Transport missions.
9. UPGRADE YOUR A CLASS
It won't be long until you're haring about in some beast of a machine (and exploring little nooks only to discover there's sod all there), but an A Class car's performance doesn't stick at factory spec. Take it to the relevant tuning shop (they're graded by nationality) and you can splash more cash on tuning up your baby, making life on the road even easier. We'd recommend sticking with a single car until there are no more missions you can complete with it, rather than tuning this that and the other vehicle willy-nilly. Upgrading a supercar is especially handy for single-manufacturer races or challenges, such as the Ferrari Day challenge where you really need that tiny extra bit of oomph to grab the gold.
10. JUST TWO MORE THINGS...THE ISLAND TOUR RACE
Once you've unlocked the Expert level races, head to this race first. Not only is it the game's very best single player challenge, it's also a great way of unlocking new Courier and Vehicle Transport missions. You will need a souped-up special to win it, though, and we'd recommend the Saleen.
If you get a two-badge 'Wanted' rating you may as well switch off your 360 and reboot. You won't lose any progress and the fines are both wallet-breaking and heartbreaking if you get caught. You can avoid the cops and reduce your Wanted rating, though. It'll take you a while but drive sensibly while keeping an eye on the GPS to steer clear of the fuzz and the badges will slip away, giving you free reign to take on Oahu.