Review by tollbooth

"A button for the gas, one for the breaks."

(( Closed CAPTIONING FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED ))

With his soul on fire, you must control the suicidal Mr. Black as he controls some of the world's best suicide machines-- hot rods! All kinds, all shapes and sizes! From all over this loveable green mush ball we got going on here in the middle of space. From sizzling Italian rich-boy toys to America's own Mustang Sally Mock 1 blow your doors off at 125 mph, this game has it all.

(( GAMEPLAY )) $ 9/10 Baby! Phenomenal! $

Push the petal to the metal in this explosive race 'em up. Find your inner speed demon as our hero, Black, tries to out race his. The control scheme is basic enough, functional enough: all the buttons conveniently set up right where you need them. At first the play will seem intimidating. You'll think, ''And I spent 8 dollars renting this? I could've taken Laura on a date, but I just had to rent this hard mutha game!!'' But~ you'll be wrong. Take it easy, never lose your cool; a few laps around the first couple levels and you'll be flying those 425 hp wonders of creation on auto pilot. Down that country road and into the city. Round the fence. It's the cops! Let's blow out of here_ quick left. Break hard.. easy.. easy. Slam it! Pass this guy, and the next. Look in the games rear view mirror_ that cop's still on your trail! Slam the breaks: give him the ole Cincinnati stop and he'll power drive those two other night racers into the next lifetime. A button for the gas, one for the breaks, you've got tight turns, you can pick automatic or manual trannies. I recommend the manuals. It'll take some practice, but soon you'll be burning down Mr. Black's highway of hell faster than the Devil can repave it. And if you get tired of the open road, head back to the shop, pick out a ride and do some drag racing.

(( STORY )) $$ 9/10 $$

''New city, New friends.''

Aw~ Mister Black's little colloquialism rings true doesn't it? Ever been on run from the cops? From your life... your self? In a hot rod Lotus breaking the sound barrier? Black has, and he is a bad man. ~ Shut yo mouth! ~
Our hero, you, is a driver for higher, and not the Carl Winslow looking kind you got driving limos for Tom Cruise. I'm talking Dale Earnheart here, except with a reset button. He needs money, he's the kind of guy that's always in a fix, and he gets rope-a-doped into some illegal circuit racing ala a very high-dollar, high-class, high-rollers' version of ''The Fast and the Furious.'' If only things had gone different, Black would be a top notch driver in the Indy 500, but I think he likes it this way. He needs the rush, the thrill. So do you, that's why you're here, and because the story brings the game so close to home. I give it the 9.

(( GRAPHICS )) * 8/10 *

''Bright Lights, Big City.''

Dear Sally,

Nothing to write home about in this department. The graphics are exactly where they need to be. That is, cruising into Tokyo come midnight is a real cool experience. It is detailed with deep shades and sharp corners. The shadows are dark but the city is alive with Tokyo’s neon lights. And they allow for top speeds. A far cry from the Nintendo 64's F-Zero, which was pretty much a background of moving walls. The reflections of other cars, the AI of those other cars. The details in the road. The care given to leaves in the trees. Top notch, but not a 9 or 10.

(( SOUND )) ** 8/10 **

''Click- Click- BOOM!''

1. Music: # 7/10 #

Don't get me wrong, a seven out of ten is not bad at all. Atari went the Tony Hawk Pro-Skater route and adopted Pop songs to the menu as opposed to the usual synthesized stuff. Don't worry though, because there is still and assortment of bumpin' techno here and there. There are rock songs, rap songs, it's just missing a little Johnny Cash. They are good songs, well suited for high speed driving, and they make the game fun, but they just get repetitive. I can never give a game that uses Pop songs as it's staple more than a 7.

2. Voice-Overs: $$ 10/10 $$

I do not give out 10's loosely. I have been giving this game extremely high scores because it has earned them. The VO's in this game were phenomenal. Black's voice is deep and rolling_ his cynicism is matched in tone. The women are calculating and sexy and the men are all very distant. These impressions come off from their mannerisms and fluctuations in pitch. The short story: brilliant acting. And the writing was none-too-shabby either.

(( PLAYTIME ))

Who knows? Forever. Is the infinity sign on my keyboard? It took me weeks to beat this game. Who knows how long it would take you? Six hours? A month? You could play this game on and on. My guess is that Atari set it up so you could beat it in 12 hours, but with all the cool goals to reach and stuff to unlock... well, this game is the game that keeps on giving.

(( REPLAYABILITY ))

Most high.

(( EXTRAS ))

There are some pretty long loading times in this game. Some of the longest I think I've ever seen from a PS2 game, almost as long as Rune: Viking Warlord's. But, you get to play Pong while you wait! Against the computer or a friend; I guarantee you won't find this old schooler to be a push-over.

(( FINAL RECOMMONDATIONS ))

Rent it. Buy it. It's not hard to find, and it's not expensive because it's now one of the PS2's greatest hits selections. Definitely a must rent for any racing game fan. It's got the basics, and it's got some extras. Great graphics, attention to detail. And the chicks dig it too. My girlfriend loves to play racing games with me. Most girls like that kind of thing. Take my word for it, this game is a must play.



Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/31/04


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