Review by golonghorns

"Like Pong? I hope you do..."

I have loved racing games ever since I went out and bought the original Gran Turismo. So buying this game was almost a no-brainer. Too bad it was the wrong choice. This game has the most frustrating load times, bad car models, bad control and a lame story. Don't get me started on how the city drivers always home in on you like they have a death wish. Maybe I was looking for more of a Simulation title instead of an Arcade, but this game is beyond excuse. It is like a wannabe Fast and Furious, and a game that pulled it off rather poorly. I really hope you like Pong, because you will be playing it forever, and then some.

Graphics 7/10- Nothing stands out as great here. The car models aren't too detailed, and needed an overhaul. The drivers look like the little action figures I used to put in my cars and race with, only less detailed and less lifelike. The civilian cars are simplistic and bland. I want to see some lowriders!!! I honestly don't know why they put people on the sidewalks, because you cannot run over them. What's the point if you can't run over them? I want to vent my frustration of those loading times eating whole pieces of my life that I will never get back. The pointers telling you where to go show up a little late, leaving you out to dry. And even if you try to look at the map on the upper-left corner, a civilian car is going to smash into before you can swerve. The frame-rate can get choppy, and sometimes things will pop up when it is least expected. The racing tracks are varied and eye pleasing, so that is a big plus. The lighting effects in this game aren't too bad, either. It is definitely attention to detail when you smack into a light pole and the light goes out. Cars actually use their turn indicators saying where they intend to go. It isn't horrible, but the graphics could use a little retooling. The load times in this game are ridiculous, and it lost the novelty after a few hours. It might have made a good load time killer, but it seems like it became just as boring as the blank screen most games have.

Gameplay- 7/10

Linear Race- ''Choose a linear race to take your ride for a spin in a Start-to-Finish-Line race''.
Circuit race- ''Looping courses on city streets. You'll take your laps through city traffic while trying to stay ahead of your competition.
Underground mode- ''Meet the conditions in the Vidi-Mail briefing to advance to the next race''.
Drag Racing- ''Pits you against one opponent in a competition of acceleration and top speed on a straightaway.
Cop Chase- Name says it all.
Two player- Race a friend to see who is the best.
Navigation Challenge- '' You are given on-the-spot directions on how to navigate the course. On-screen arrows will point you in the direction of the course. While you do have access to a city map, the course is not indicated- hence, the challenge. This mode puts your driving and reflexes to the test.

As you can see, the modes here pretty much are standard for any racing game, but nothing too creative or innovative. Navigation Challenge comes the closest, but it wasn't enough for me. The two-player mode is fun because it is against a human player and the strategy is completely different. Underground is really where most of the game focuses, and for the most part it isn't bad, except for a clichéd storyline. The Vidi-mail animations are neat, as well as talking to your opponents. I liked the difficulty of Navigation Challenge, where it actually made you use driving skills, not blind luck. The cop mode seems pretty standard nowadays, and this one does an okay interpretation. The other single player races can get really boring, really quick. Not a bad job here, but a little more inspiration and originality would really have gone a long ways to improving this aspect of the video game.

Control 4/10- Here is where the game falls badly short. The controls are the same as almost every other racer out there, but the handling and physics of the cars are bad. The cars are hard to turn with, and many of the turns in this game are razor sharp 90-degree right angles. So you should apply the brakes, right? Not in this game. If you apply the brakes here, odds are something will go wrong for you. For example, you hit the brakes, and a car behind you rear ends you, spinning your car out of control. If you hit the turn with the brakes on, you will most likely start to skid. It wouldn't be so bad if the civilians didn't drive like they wanted to hit you. If you crash, you will lose much of the control of the car as soon as you hit the road. It takes a lot of effort just to keep going straight after a crash, and with the drivers as reckless as they are, you could be in serious trouble. Another thing that I hate is sometimes when you go over a ramp; you will fly into a car that you never saw. Those 5 seconds you just gained? Oops, you just lost 6 seconds. Sorry. The control of the cars is truly the weak point of the game.

Sound 8/10- This game has quite an accomplished soundtrack. Moby, Ja Rule, Saliva, Aurora Boreales, Young MC, Crud, Junkie XL, DMX, Alice Deejay and Bubba Sparxxx are just a few of the big-names on the soundtrack. The ambient noses in the game could use a little fine-tuning and some more variety. Pretty much everything here is realistic, tire squeals, stuff like that.

Replay Value 6/10- There is only so much you can do until you will become bored by this game. Like I said earlier, a few more modes would really have helped out. Playing against your friends will lose its novelty.

Difficulty 7/10- The Underground mode starts off pretty easily, but it will get much harder. Add to that insane drivers and the sharpest turns imaginable, the game can get hard.

Rent/Buy- If you are a racing fan, this one might be worth your time. If you don't like Pong too much, stay away. If you love Pong, buy this game. Trust me, you will be playing it forever.

Overall 5/10- Average graphics, somewhat good gameplay, terrible control, leads to an average game, at best. At best. Go with Gran Turismo instead.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 07/16/02, Updated 07/21/02


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