Review by Dexterbrain

"Impressive Attempt At Gran Turismo, GBA Style"

GT Advance is a game that is obviously inspired by the Gran Turismo series. You should know the score, the real car makers and their cars are put against each other, you tune parts to optimise car performance, and eventually get faster and faster as you progress through the stages until you finally win it all. Think shrunk down Gran Turismo.

I like to review a game in parts, so whatever matters to you most is scored. However, I always take gameplay as the best meter for how good a game is.

GRAPHICS - A very good flat 3D graphics engine (similar to that of SNES Mario Kart and Street Racer) means that there is a respectable amount of realism for the game. About 6 different track types (although two of them are a bit dark) mean that there is differentiation between tracks, and the different weather conditions are executed well on the small screen. A good scaling system means that corners are always easy to judge in time. The cars are the most impressive graphical features though. 35 plus cars, all of which have a set of sprites that let the car look 3D on screen makes the game feel 3D, and the detail of these sprites are especially great. Superb effort, especially when you consider this was a game released the same date as the GBA. OVERALL - 9/10

SOUND - Music is a very average affair, and the sound of the engines represent something similar to that of a lawnmower with added horsepower. Maybe those graphics took up too much memory, but I really think something better could have been done with the sound than this slap dash effort. OVERALL - 4/10

PRESENTATION - Brilliant interface, foolproof to the extent that help menus are given at the bottom of the screen. The link up mode is also very addictive, reliable and well executed. 40 plus tracks, 30 plus cars, plenty of tune ups, and two secret modes mean this is a game you will want to complete. One problem though is the lack of a battery back up. Instead there is a password system, and although I can live with putting in 16 letters to get my game save back every time I play, passwords on paper tend to sprout legs and go away for very long periods, which is annoying when the password you lost was the one nearest to completing the game. Passwords can also be written wrong, which is also annoying when eventually found out. Otherwise, fine presentation. OVERALL - 7/10

GAMEPLAY - The majority of the races involve you just accelerating, keeping the speed, avoiding the cars and walls and finishing in the top three out of eight. A simple gameplay type, and hardly realistic, but this is a game, not a simulator. It would also be simple if it wasn't for the challenge the game presents. You have 40+ tracks to do this on, and it gets very close on later levels. It is this 'so close to winning' factor that keeps you playing. The addition of collecting parts, cars and tracks by winning races means that this game rewards those who play the game a lot, and aim to win the races rather than just come third. The extra modes also require good racing skill. Collecting car parts is vital for winning later races, so to do well on later races the only way is to win the earlier races first. The game sticks to the philosophy 'Walk before you run'. You can only really know how great the game can be when you take a hairpin corner, and somehow keep the racing line and the car together. The satisfaction of taking a corner so well on this game is immense, and if you are thinking of completing the game, great cornering is essential. OVERALL - 9/10

Overall a great game, and the chances are you could pick this up for quite cheap now.

GRAPHICS - 9
SOUND - 4
PRESENTATION - 7
GAMEPLAY - 9
DIFFICULTY - 7 (Challenging)
LIFETIME - 8 (Quite long)

OVERALL - 8


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/29/01, Updated 12/29/01


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