Test Drive

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

A Driving Game series by Atari, Test Drive' has seen races across the globe, in almost anything with wheels. The latest installment, Unlimited set players loose on the island of Oahu, with the upcoming Unlimited 2 adding the island of Ibiza. It's a Long Runner, as the series has been around since 1987.

The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the Test Drive franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.

Tropes in the series in general:

  • Awesome but Impractical: The TVR Speed 12 in the 2001 reboot is the most powerful car in the game next to the 2003 Viper Concept, but it handles like a greased pig.
  • Bigger Stick: The acquisition of new and better vehicles, or upgrades for vehicles you already possess, like in any other case, is an invocation of this trope.
  • Rubber Band AI: Especially flagrant in the 2001 game. If you stay in first place long enough, the opponents will either get a super speed boost or teleport to right behind you.

Tropes in Test Drive (1987):

  • Copy Protection - The game used a wheel with car keys on it for answering a question.
  • Critical Existence Failure - contact with vehicles, cars, or anything else instantly causes the car to crash - as does redlining the engine.
  • Diegetic Interface: The game does not use an HUD, instead using the cockpits and dashboards of the car(s). Naturally, some Interface Screw can occur with the windshield.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar, used by cops to catch speeders. You can detect its use, but it can also mean there's an incoming truck.
  • Level Goal - checkpoints.
  • Timed Mission: Timer is not displayed, and going to slow causes a loss at the next checkpoint.
  • Wraparound Background - The setting is a cliffside, but aside from turns, it's rather monotonous. It's similar to making the background go in a loop for a side-scrolling 2D game.

Tropes in Test Drive Unlimited (2006/7) and Test Drive Unlimited 2 (2011):

  • And Your Reward Is Clothes - You win vouchers from the Hitchhiking and Top Model missions.
  • Artificial Brilliance - The traffic on the roads realistically follows traffic laws, uses turn signals, and has fender-benders.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory - Preordering the game from Walmart gives you the most powerful car in the game, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, which blows all the other cars away in the majority of competitions (however, a patch not only buffed the Koenigsegg CCXR to make it compete with the Veyron, it also imposed multiplayer restrictions on cars).
    • Pre-ordering from Steam gave you an exclusive Pagani Zonda Tricolore (that you had to unlock by getting the required license through regular gameplay).
  • Cosmetic Award - Averted: you actually have to earn Xbox 360 Achievement Points to advance in the game.
  • Disc One Nuke: Most classes of vehicle have one, but none play this straighter than the Chevrolet C6 and Z06 Corvette coupes. Due to their stable handling, they also can function as Jack of All Stats. Some of the cars earned by finding all car wrecks in 2 can be this if you go get them at the very start of the game.
  • Drives Like Crazy - The game partially encourages you to do this to earn money. While flat out crashing into things are still discouraged, zipping past oncoming traffic, drifting and jumping will fill up your FRIM gauge, which will give you money once it's full.
  • Fan Service - The only reason why having your cars washed by Hood Ornament Hotties in skimpy clothing is so expensive.
  • First-Person Snapshooter - You'll have to take photos of specific places of Ibiza and Oahu to complete certain missions.
  • Gotta Catch Them All - many of the final Achievement Points you earn are of this type. Most notably, the points for "finding all roads". (Hint: they mean all segments of all major roads. Except in 2, where you actually have to find every single segment.)
  • Last Lousy Point - A lot of people seem to be unable to find the very last road segment in Ibiza Zone 2 for the second game. [1]
  • Left Hanging - the opening cinematic in Unlimited is never explained, resolved, or even alluded to in the game.
  • Les Yay/MaleGaze - your avatar will only and always flirt with the (female) Top Model hitchhikers, whichever gender you picked.
  • Joke Character - For some reason, you can unlock the Citroen 2CV and a Beetle Type 1 in Unlimited 2. The Beetle is actually the best car for F.R.I.M because the gauge filling speed is relative to the car's top speed. Since it is rather slow but incredibly easy to drive, driving at little over 60 MPH against the traffic in the freeways makes maxing F.R.I.M ridiculously easy.
  • Luck-Based Mission - Timed Missions with randomized traffic.
  • Marathon Level - Eliminator races tend to be much longer than classic ones. The Island Tour timed races put this Up to Eleven. To give you an idea of how long they are, the Ibiza version, which is the shortest, has a par time of 54 minutes, and is around 71 miles long.
  • Obvious Beta - TDU 2 suffered from a massive amount of bugs and server failures when it was released. The PC version of the game would often times flat out refuse to let players play due to server overload.
  • Schmuck Bait - The car delivery missions. These are well paid to begin with, and you can earn a 50% extra bonus if you deliver the car without a scratch, which you can easily do by driving slowly, safely, and responsibly, as there is no time limit. But since these missions invariably involve the fastest, most expensive cars in the game, are you really going to?
  • Stalking Mission - A few.
  • Virtual Paper Doll - Your avatar is costumed in whatever clothes you bought as you play.
  • Wide Open Sandbox - Once you've bought your first house and first car, (that is, about three minutes after starting), you are perfectly free to drive (almost) all over the island.
  1. It's usually a tiny road leading to a windmill southeast of the airport.