Review by Spector

"Could this be love?"

Welcome to the underground race scene. Please prepare yourself for, quite possibly, the best racing game l have ever played. Now I’ll tell you the truth, l’m not the biggest racing fan in the world, but this has changed my mind. I think I’m in love with this game.

Story – 8/10

Simple enough story. You’re a goon with some money ready to fork out a bit of it to buy a new car. With your car, you will now proceed to enhance it’s visual appearance and physical performance. Through a number of races, you slowly earn a small amount of cash. With this money you will buy the objects desired, such as a new spoiler for your cars looks, or a new set of tires to enhance your cars performance on the road. A few main characters are noted early on. Samantha is the first, she comes in after 1 or 2 races and begins to tell you how the underground scene works. We are also introduced to Eddie, he will be our man-to-beat in this game.

Graphics – 10/10

Wow. Let it be said now, X-Box does indeed have the sexiest graphics out. The cars in this look perfect, they are rounded to perfection and show exact replicas of the cars. You will also notice that we don’t stumble across jagged edges. Another interesting design is the use of light. With many neon signs surrounding the streets you will notice the reflection they leave on the car. Pink signs will reflect similar pink shapes on your windows as you fly down the street at 200 miles an hour.

Gameplay – 9/10

Yet again, wow. The game seems to run at a very high frame rate almost 100% of the time. It’s highly irregular to notice any slowing down of the game even though the high detailed models race side by side. The game involves you instantly. It teases us on the first race with a test drive of what our cars can become, then sends us back to the junk-heap cars we just bought. By our own choice [usually] we are shown 3 or 4 events that we may partake in. These range from:
Circuit – Where racers do anywhere from 2 to 7 laps around the same area.
Drift – Where racers are offered style points for holding onto a powerslide without hitting the wall for as long as they can around curved courses.
Drag – Drag racing at its finest. Quarter mile events down a main road.
Lap Knockout – Racers compete against 3 other cars… like circuit, but on each new lap the last placed racer is knocked out of the race.
Tournament - A mode where racers compete in a tournament with the same 3 competitors. Final race placing matter only as to how many points you gain. First place 8, second 6, third 4 and last 2 points.
Although the game is filled with over 111 races, you will begin finding that the levels become a tad monotonous. The races all take place in the same town, so the amount of track is limited. To battle this problem, the level designers have cut and chopped certain parts of the town together, which can be come rather annoying. Another con about this game, the “cheating” AI. Though offered with the choice of Easy, Medium or Hard at the beginning of the race, there is no option as to how annoying the competition is. I myself did not find the competitors too difficult, but many people have had problems with them so far and complained about this.

Replayability - 9/10

I beat this game in about 5 days, a feat I was most proud of. I often find myself finishing games and not playing them again… this is where this game has changed me. I was so addicted to this game I found myself lugging my X-Box around with me to my brothers house so I could play it whilst there. I have just restarted the game with a new profile, and am not tired of it yet. This game doesn’t get too repetitive quickly, so the replayability level is very high.

Rent Or Buy? BUY

As you may have noticed, I am absolutely in love with this game. I scratched my copy of the game slightly, and was seriously considering buying a new copy for $99.95AUS so I could return to gaming euphoria. Definitely buy this game, if you rent it you will only hate yourself for returning it

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/09/04

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