Test Drive (series)

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Test Drive
Developer(s)Distinctive Software (1987-89)
Accolade (1990, 99)
Elite Systems (1997)
Pitbull Syndicate (1997-98, 2002)
Xantera (1999-2000)
Eutechnyx (2000)
Velez & Dubail (2000)
Infogrames/Atari Melbourne House (2000-02, 07)
Eden Games (2000, 06-11)
Digital Illusions CE (2000)
Angel Studios (2001)
Monster Games (2004)
Slightly Mad Studios (2012)
KT Racing (2016-)
Publisher(s)Accolade/Infogrames North America (1987-98)
Electronic Arts (1987-88)
Pony Canyon (1989)
Cryo Interactive (1999)
Infogrames (2000-2002)
Atari (2004-11)
Rombax Games (2012)
Nacon (2016-)
Platform(s)Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Apple II, PC-98, Apple IIGS, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Sega Genesis, SNES, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 5
First releaseTest Drive
Latest releaseTest Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends
3 July 2012

Test Drive is a series of racing video games that were originally published by Accolade until they were bought by Infogrames (later Atari), the first game was released in 1987 and has since been followed by several sequels and spin-offs, the last of which was released in 2012.


Gameplay of Test Drive 4.

In Test Drive, the player typically uses one of several exotic performance cars to race to a finish line against opponents or in a time limit, while avoiding traffic and police.[1]


In 1987, Accolade published Test Drive as a computer game worldwide, and Electronic Arts imported it to the United Kingdom. The quality of the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and DOS ports differ from each other.[2][3] The Amiga version's detailed visuals and audio realistically depicted the game's racing theme,[2] while its Atari ST counterpart used simplified graphics and sound effects. The Commodore 64 and DOS ports were of similar quality to the Amiga version. The gameplay was kept intact for all platforms.[4]

Test Drive was a commercial success, with sales having surpassed 250,000 copies by November 1989.[5] It received generally positive reviews from video game critics. Computer Gaming World stated in 1987 that Test Drive "offers outstanding graphics and the potential to 'hook' every Pole Position fan".[6] Compute! praised the excellent graphics and sound, but noted that the game only had one course.[2] The game was reviewed in 1988 in Dragon #132 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4​12 out of 5 stars.[7]

Test Drive spawned several sequels and spin-offs. Distinctive Software developed its 1989 sequel, The Duel: Test Drive II, using several software libraries. Distinctive (as Unlimited Software, Inc.) used the aforementioned software libraries for a MS-DOS port of Outrun, resulting in the Accolade v. Distinctive lawsuit. Distinctive Software won, so the rights to make the Test Drive games without the source code transferred to Accolade. The court also found that Accolade had failed to demonstrate that the balance of hardships was in its favor.[8] Another sequel, Test Drive III: The Passion, was developed and published by Accolade in 1990.[9]

In 1997, Accolade distributed Test Drive: Off-Road, an off-road truck racing spinoff[10], and Test Drive 4, the first video game developed by Pitbull Syndicate.[11] In 1998, Pitbull Syndicate developed two further Test Drive titles, Test Drive 4X4 (also known as Test Drive Off-Road 2), a sequel to the Test Drive: Off-Road spinoff, and Test Drive 5; both games were the two last entries in the series to be published by Accolade.[12][13] In April 1999, Accolade was acquired by French video game company Infogrames Entertainment for a combined sum of US$60 million, US$50 million of which in cash and US$10 million in growth capital, and was renamed Infogrames North America, Inc.[14][15] The company chief executive officer, Jim Barnett, was named head of Infogrames Entertainment's American distribution subsidiary.[16] As a result, Test Drive 6 was the first game in the series to be published by Infogrames in 1999.[17] TD Overdrive: The Brotherhood of Speed (also known as Test Drive) was the last entry in the series to be developed by Pitbull Syndicate,[18] and as a result, the next game in the series, Test Drive: Eve of Destruction, was developed by Monster Games in 2003.[19]


Year Title Platforms Notes
1987 Test Drive Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Apple II, PC-98 Apple II and PC-98 ports were released in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
1989 The Duel: Test Drive II Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple IIGS, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, Sega Genesis, SNES
1990 Test Drive III: The Passion MS-DOS
1997 Test Drive: Off-Road Microsoft Windows, PlayStation The first installment in the Off-Road subseries.
1997 Test Drive 4 PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
1998 Test Drive 5 PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
1998 Test Drive 4X4 PlayStation, Microsoft Windows The second installment in the Off-Road subseries. Titled Test Drive Off-Road 2 in North America.
1999 Test Drive 6 PlayStation, Game Boy Color, Microsoft Windows, Dreamcast Published by Cryo Interactive in PAL regions.
1999 Test Drive: Off-Road 3 Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Game Boy Color The third installment in the Off-Road subseries. Titled 4X4 World Trophy in PAL regions.
1999 Le Mans 24 Hours PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 Titled Test Drive Le Mans in North America (except the PS2 and second PC version)
2000 Test Drive V-Rally Dreamcast Titled V-Rally 2: Expert Edition in PAL regions.
2000 Michelin Rally Masters: Race of Champions Microsoft Windows, PlayStation A Nintendo 64 port was in development under the title Test Drive Rally but was canceled.[20]
2000 Test Drive Cycles Game Boy Color
2000 Test Drive 2001 Game Boy Color
2001 Test Drive: Off-Road Wide Open PlayStation 2, Xbox The fourth and final installment in the Off-Road subseries. Titled Off-Road Wide Open in PAL regions.
2002 TD Overdrive: The Brotherhood of Speed PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows Titled Test Drive in North America.
2004 Test Drive: Eve of Destruction Xbox, PlayStation 2 Titled Driven to Destruction in PAL regions.
2006 Test Drive Unlimited Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Portable
2011 Test Drive Unlimited 2 Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2012 Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
TBA Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown PlayStation 5,[21] others TBA


It was reported in December 2016 that French publisher Bigben Interactive (today Nacon) acquired the Test Drive intellectual property from Atari, with plans to reboot the franchise.[22] In 2018, Bigben announced the acquisition of French game developer Kylotonn, with Roman Vincent, president of Kylotonn suggesting they were working on the next installment of Test Drive.[23]

In April 2020, Nacon filed a trade mark to the Intellectual Property Office for Test Drive Solar Crown,[24][25] the last two words referring to the Solar Crown in-universe racing competition series featured in Test Drive Unlimited 2. The full title of the next game in the series is Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown.[26][25][27] The Kylotonn-developed game will feature a 1:1 recreation of an unspecified island,[27] similar to the recreations of Oahu in both the first two Unlimited games and Ibiza in Test Drive Unlimited 2, and will run on WRC 8's framework and handling model.[27]


  1. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 37. Imagine Media. January 1998. p. 154-155.
  2. ^ a b c Tucker, Troy (February 1988). "Test Drive". Compute!. p. 50. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  3. ^ https://archive.org/stream/cvg-magazine-076/CVG_076_Feb_1988#page/n45/mode/1up/
  4. ^ https://archive.org/stream/thegamesmachine-magazine-04/TheGamesMachine_04#page/n57/mode/
  5. ^ Staff (November 1989). "Chart-Busters; SPA Platinum". Game Players (5): 112.
  6. ^ "Christmas Buyers Guide: Test Drive". Computer Gaming World. November 1987. p. 20.
  7. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (April 1988). "The Role of Computers: Test Drive". Dragon. No. 132. pp. 80–85.
  8. ^ Dannenberg, Ross (May 30, 2005). "Case: Accolade v. Distinctive (N.D.Cal. 1990) [C]". Patent Arcade. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  9. ^ Wilson, David M. (April 1991). "A Passionate Tryst with Speed". Computer Gaming World. p. 51. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  10. ^ Marriott, Scott Alan. "Test Drive Off-Road (PS) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  11. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20020207132058/http://www.pitbull.co.uk/games.html
  12. ^ Wigmore, Glenn. "Test Drive Off-Road 2 (PC) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  13. ^ Sackenheim, Shawn. "Test Drive 5 (PS) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  14. ^ Staff, I. G. N. (April 19, 1999). "Infogrames Takes Accolade". ign.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  15. ^ Mullen, Micheal (April 27, 2000). "Infogrames Buys Accolade". gamespot.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  16. ^ Staff, I. G. N. (May 10, 1999). "Accolade's Barnett to Head Infogrames US". ign.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  17. ^ Mosquera, Fernando "Lagi" (November 24, 1999). "REVIEW for Test Drive 6 (DC)". GameFan. Shinno Media. Archived from the original on January 26, 2000. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  18. ^ White, A.A. (June 2002). "Test Drive Review (PS2)". Game Revolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  19. ^ Kato, Matthew (October 2004). "Test Drive: Eve of Destruction". Game Informer. No. 138. GameStop. p. 123. Archived from the original on January 8, 2006. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  20. ^ Staff, I. G. N. (February 4, 2000). "A Late Rally Has Been Held Off".
  21. ^ Julians, Joe (7 October 2020). "Full PS5 games list – what you can play and what to pre-order now". Radio Times. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  22. ^ Parfitt, Ben (December 15, 2016). "Bigben has acquired the Test Drive brand". MCVUK.com. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  23. ^ Leonard, Michael (October 18, 2018). "Kylotonn Games Working on the Next Test Drive Unlimited?".
  24. ^ "Trade mark number EU018224192: TEST DRIVE SOLAR CROWN". Intellectual Property Office. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  25. ^ a b Bodnarescu, Florin (July 3, 2020). "Test Drive Solar Crown teased, reveal happening on July 7 during Nacon Connect". Neowin. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  26. ^ Test Drive [@testdrive] (July 3, 2020). "We're back! ☀👑 #NaconConnect 7th July" (Tweet). Retrieved July 4, 2020 – via Twitter.
  27. ^ a b c Robinson, Martin (July 7, 2020). "Kylotonn's new Test Drive Unlimited officially unveiled". Eurogamer. Retrieved July 7, 2020.

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