Review by TownRanger
"A driving game? Think again! This is a decent RPG!"
Although not many driving gamers nay have known what Zero-4 is, Zero-4 Champ RR is so uniquely standing out as the only drag racing game in the SNES platform by the time its brother RR-Z was not yet released.
Zero-4 Champ RR is not only a drag racing game specialising the power of your car starting from rest along a straight line to a distance of 400m but is also a decent RPG with an original storyline in that you're playing the role of an 18-year-old boy who failed in getting a university place and decided to be a drag racer. Now it is up to you to regain his reputation as the number one Japanese drag racer in the near future.
Quite some originality can be seen in this game. The game modes make differences in the gameplay by providing choices for players; the story mode, the vs mode, and the mini-story mode. There is one thing in common among all of them; they are all about drag racing.
The control of the game is pretty much simple. Once you have developed your knowledge in knowing what gas and clutch pedals are, you will be able to shift up to speed up your car. You have to work on a set of different optimum shiftpoints for all cars. The game is highly simulated in a way that all cars give you a different response and the output power of each car is different and you can feel it.
All cars in the game are resembled from their respective models in real life, unlike some other old-day SNES driving game which only gives you a metal case with four wheels.
After you tune your car, the power is boosted up allowing you to run shorter times. Cars in this game outweigh the drivers themselves. Your chance of winning all counts on the power of your car. As for the story mode, the control simulates a GUI interface and the directional pad is functioning as the mouse.
The story mode of the game is an RPG game containing a level-up and a class change system like other SNES RPG's, for example, Romancing Saga, and the Secret of Mana Series. The monster-slaughter of the story mode is made very fascinating; the money the monsters drop can be used to financially support your revenue for tunning your sports cars.
This makes the game very distinctive in that no other driving games will have their own storyline and an RPG mode. The development of the story, however, is a bit jerky and so I have to rate it down to 8 only.
Do not expect that much. Zero-4 Champ RR is just an SNES game produced in 1994. The graphics are generally acceptable. The cutscenes are okay but I would like to point out that the appearance of the cars should be more detailed. The monsters in the RPG story are also disappointing; I find it hard to convince myself that it is another monster because many of their skins are all the same with only a slight colour change.
The graphics should be improved in some sense. As for the sound, the engine roars so loud that it can be hard to tell which your engine sound is and which your opponent's is. If you are to hear the engine sound and judge the shiftpoints, you are then going to face some difficulties.
This game is definitely worth a replay. Purchase some other cars and choose two other party members when you start a new game. You can always have different experience out of it. Or you may enjoy the mini-game mode that you have just unlocked after beating the story mode once. If the entire game is too long to replay, the mini-game is a good choice out there. The mini-games are adapted from the story mode giving you access to the fun but trivial games in the entire story.
Go try Zero-4 Champ RR! Hardcore driving gamers or RPG gamers will all like it. As far as I know, there's, however, no English version of this game not even the ROM, so the story may be nearly impossible to be fully understood by non-Japanese speakers. Anyway, this game is a great fun and is one of the zero-4 classics that draw you into the dragging world and the life of an ex-school teen hero!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 04/07/05
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