|VOODOOEXTREME- DECEMBER 97|
California Graphics: 3D EMOTION
California Graphics 3D Emotion is based upon 3Dfx's
Voodoo Rush chipset, which in the past
came under fire when it first hit the scene a few months ago. Times have certainly changed and just as so many companies have brought out their own boxed version of the Voodoo Chipset; the same can now be said for the Voodoo Rush. Despite it's criticism the Rush does have one over on the plain Voodoo in that it can render up to 1024x768 in a window. "So what?" I used to say but what this means is that those of you who are playing MS Flight Sim '98 will benefit. The other advantage is that it doesn't rely on an existing 2D card and there is no need for a pass thru cable connection allowing you to go to higher resolutions in D3D et. al. The plain Voodoo ceiling's out at 800 x 600.
Now before you read any further I should just iterate the point which we've made so often on Voodoo Extreme that is- if you have a solid enough 2D card then your best bet would be to just buy the plain Voodoo. If however you own a 2D card somewhat long in the tooth or with less than 2MB then read on and you won't be disappointed.
The 3D Emotion is a single board Voodoo Rush board and comes with 6MB EDO single cycle ram
and the ram itself is fast being 30ns. The 2D part of the board is handled by the newer Alliance ProMotion AT25 2D chipset, which is indeed VBE 2.0 compliant for your old Dos favourites such as Duke Nukem'. Although the AT25 can't touch the Millennium in terms of 2D it's still solid enough for good Windows performance and with 4MB can respectably cope with 1600x1200 resolutions if need be.
It's the 3D part that REALLY matters and you know you're already in good hands when in bed with 3Dfx.
The Voodoo Rush of today's World can cope extremely well with GLQuake- although it's STILL a
few frames (roughly 4.5) per second behind the ordinary Voodoo. The 3D Emotion would have
scored slightly higher in GLQuake had it taken Hercules' notion of implementing a further 2MB of
Direct 3D performance with a Voodoo Rush is also very respectable and once again doesn't lag far
behind the Voodoo Graphics chipset all helping the 3D Emotion cause. As you'd expect the Voodoo Rush being a 3Dfx chipset supports their own Glide API and with so many native 3Dfx games appearing on the scene you'll be well looked after on that score.
Having said that one of the major criticisms of the Voodoo Rush chipset in general is that there are a fair few Glide titles that won't work in tandem, which usually means waiting a while for a patch to materialise. Although some titles such as F1 Racing Simulation will NEVER work on the Rush and therefor on the 3D Emotion.
California Graphics have provided easy to use drivers on a CD specifically for the Emotion 3D (expect updates on their web site too) and few added bonus'. The 3D Emotion has Composite and S-video outputs allowing for connection to NTSC and/or PAL TV monitors. Having the option of playing on a large 28 'inch TV is very tasty indeed. The drivers also allow you to control the screen positionaly. For an extra £60 you can purchase a pair of cordless infa-red 3D specs also from California Graphics since the 3D Emotion supports them. If you've got any friends a second pair will only set you back a further £30. Although I've only had a a very brief experience with 3D specs and that being at Comdex whilst under the influence of alcohol, I'll reserve judgement on them. Although I've been told they're quite a laugh even if they don't exactly look like top quality fashion accessories when worn.
There are two things that really set the Voodoo Rush cards apart from one another- the software bundle and most importantly the price. The 3D Emotion scores highly in both those departments making it a very solid choice for the gamer in terms of price vs. performance. At only £150 RRP it is expected to hit the streets at £135 making it one of the cheapest Voodoo Rush boards available. The games bundle is top-notch too sporting everyone's favourite blood bath Carmageddon. Terracide, the OEM version of Tomb Raider and MDK: Mission Laguna Beach also add longevity even if they are getting on a bit. Lastly California Graphics have added CGP Reality Pro- their own advanced yet easy-to-use Windows 95 performance enhancing utilities.
In sum, there are now quite a few Voodoo Rush boards to choose from, Intense, Adrenaline, Stingray et .al so where does this leave the 3D Emotion? Actually the 3D Emotion stands up well in today's hustle and bustle in that California Graphics have in no way cut corners and yet still managed to add-on a suburb bundle all for a very affordable price.