Speed Devils Online Racing
Review by Intruderb
"The most solid Dreamcast online engine"
The original Speed Devils hit the shelves at such an opportunistic time, only 3 driving games were currently out for the DC. Flag to flag and Monaco GP were dime a dozen F1 style racers, and Tokyo Extreme was criticized(unfairly) by the gaming community because of its 1 track and night time driving. Speed Devils had so-so graphics, fake cars, and a soundtrack that wouldn't impress a caveman; yet flew off the shelves at an alarming rate. What was it about this game that created its own fan base, and remains the most frequently played racer of my collection....
It was fun.
Approximately one year later an update was released simply titled Speed Devils Online. Considering the concept of the original this game had excellent potential with vendettas, gambling, and real damage. Im here to let you know, it delivered.
Sound- Speed Devils soundtrack is as bland as eating toilet paper, Yet it never becomes annoying either. Sound effects are spot on, nothing special, nothing missing. Overall sound is not the high of the game, nor does it interfere with it. 7
Graphics- What is a fair trade off point when discussing graphics affect on performance? Sure a game could have brilliant textures (Sega Rally 2) but at the cost of unsightly pop up and unstable frame rate, or have millions of polygons at the cost of slowdown(Sega GT). Speed devils has no slow down and ZERO pop up, but at the cost of having run of the mill textures and low polygon count. When the dust settles I'll take the game that feels smoothest. Speed Devils is not the kind of game you would show off to your friends, But it is certainly the one you would play with them. 8
Gameplay- When all is said and done, isn't this what it's all about. I've always felt that you could take THPS(most playable game ever, imo) kill the sound and present it in 16 colors, and I would still play it for hours on end. Speed Devils Online is damn close to reaching this pinnacle. In the original speed devils you started out as a class D and had to build yourself up by beating like opponents. You sometimes bet on races with other drivers, and occasionally raced for pink slips. All of this is included in the update, but now it's against other dreamcasters. This does amp up the difficulty some because there is no longer the ''rubber band'' theory, in which no matter how far behind you get you can still catch up to the pack(road rash was the worst with this). If you mess up once and your opponents don't, you'll most likely lose. The feeling of competition when racing someone in your class is unparalleled, regardless of LAG, the game engine does not hiccup, and I have yet to be booted out of a race. The only downside to online play is that occasionally the other cars will dissapear and reappear out of nowhere, I believe this is due to refreshing other users current data, I'll take this over the entire game collapsing(Quake 3) altogether anyday. In short, you will feel like there is a direct link between DC's when playing this game. This game is as solid as a 56k connection could be. 10
Value- If you owned the original and than bought this game, you could easily feel short changed. There is only one additional track added on to what the first offered. I think people get the feeling that all the programmers have to do is right a couple lines of code and a game becomes online playable, this could not be further from the truth. The designers had to build an entirely new application and did a pretty good job at emulating the original. The Big question here is will you play this game online? No- Get Speed Devils original, play it, think about how much fun it would be to play it online, go out and get SDO. Yes- You can not have a better online experience than with SDO and a Dreamcast, give your old copy of Speed Devils to a friend who is not aware of UBI soft's little gem. Than you can race them online in a couple days when they realize what they're missing. 9
Final- UBI soft has been very good to Dreamcast owners. There may be better online racing games coming down the pike, but with the DC going the way of the spotted owl(sniff), and broadband still years from becoming a household item. It may take quite some time before this game is dethroned as The King of Online Racers....9
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/15/01, Updated 06/15/01
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