Review by PSOCecil

"It could be the best racing game ever."

Kirby Air Ride. A game announced at least 7 years ago. Back in the N64 days. HAL restarted the project it seems, but for the Gamecube, and the results are amazing!

GRAPHICS: Everything is wonderfully colorful and vibrant. From the city Volcano, to the secret last track, everything has an immesureable ammount of charm. Not ever before in a racing game have I seen such wonderful looking levels. Not even the excellent Mario Kart 64 can match Kirby's level of awesomeness. However... some of the Air Ride Machine designs can look a little stupid, like, for example, the Compact Star, an early ride. It's like some fat little star with short tips. But other then some little quibles like that, the designs for tracks, monsters, Kirby, and most Air Ride Machines is perfect. 9/10

SOUND: Again, excellent. While the tracks all have new music writen for them, some classic music is also included within, if you can uncover it. Every song in this game is very, very good! This is one of the few games that has me actually searching for the Soundtrack. Meanwhile, not to be forgotten, the sound effects, also many taken from previous Kirby games, are also great, but I turned them down a bit, so I could hear the music. HAL even has Kirby's odd screaching sound when he gets a microphone! And try as I might... I cannot put that sound into words...

CONTROLS: Quite simply, with only one button, where can you go wrong? Let me explain this, the A button does 3 things in-game, brake, powerslide, and use your current power. That's where a problem lies. Sometimes, I want to use a power, without slowing down. But some may argue that it isn't that bad, and it actually isn't! But when I first started playing, it took some getting use to, and I wished I had an accelerate button, and a drop-power button, for unwanted powers. (Wind, I'm looking in your general direction)

GAMEPLAY: The most important spot. How does it play. It looks, sounds, and controls greatly, but how does it play. Well, very differently from current racing games, like Gran Turismo and Sega GT, but, in my oppinion, that's a good thing. The gameplay is very fast, but it has an option to slow it down. I've reached speeds of, what the game calls, up to 140 MPH. But the game seems to sell itself short, sometimes. The speed-O-meter (no, it isn't called that in the game...) sometimes says I'm going 20 MPH, but I could swear that I'm going at least 50. And if you like fast, as I do, this game does not disapoint. The one thing I would like to have, is more tracks, however. Only 1 city (with over 20 minigames however, some races on regular tracks), and about 8 regular tracks, you would think that you would get bored of them. You won't. Every track is fun, even the 20th time. Now I should go over the game modes... first, there is Air Ride, which is just a simple race, on one track, with up to 4 players, human or CPU. Next, there is Top Ride, which is like the regular game but on shorter tracks, and like the old arcade game Off-Road, with a top view. The last is City Ride, a mode where you go into a city, were, it appears, the Kirbys the only people in it. They race through it, and pick up powerups to boost their strength. If they don't like their current Air Ride Machine, they can jump off, and pick up another one, if you can find it.

EXTRAS: Each mode includes 120 secret goals that you can fill in whenever you complete one. Certain, harder ones, unlock things, while the easier ones just allow you to see what more goals are. It will take a long time to get all 360 goals... if your very good... some hidden characters and machines need unlocking...

OVERALL: The best racing game on the Gamecube, or heck, on PS2, Gamecube, or XBox. You cannot find a finer racing game on ANY next-gen platform. So buy it, and don't worry about it's ''Simpleness.'' Just because it uses one button, doesn't mean it's easy.

PSO Cecil's overall score: 9/10 (not an average)
Congratulations, HAL, another classic to chalk up.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/11/03

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