i have figured out finaly how to hack the horrible frame rates that are extremely apparent and how to make the game look very good.
i am using a radeon 9800 non-pro with only 265mb of ram on a p4 1.8 ghz with winXP.
by the way i am running it at 1024x768, although it worked pretty decent at 1280x1024.
first go into the system folder and find the default.ini file, then skip down to the winDRV.windowsClient area. change all the texturedetail things to high. do the same with the SDLDRv.SDLClient area. Move down to XboxDRv.XboxClient and change the details to high.
In the D3DDrv.D3dRenderDevice area, make sure the top 5 lines =True. skip down to DesiredRefreshRate and change it to 120, though i think any multiple of 60 works. Make sure that use VSync is True.
In OpenGLDrv.OpenGLRenderDevice, make sure top 6 lines are true, and ReduceMouseLag is true.
Finally move down to Engine.LevelInfo, change the PhysicsDetailLevel to =PDL_High
If you have everything set correctly, it should drastically improve your graphics AND performance.
Please reply back to let me know how this works out for you.