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SummaryThe best racing game for the PS1 !
The GoodWOW ! This is by far the best racing I've ever played for the PS1. Originally a arcade title, Namco pulled out all the stops for this Playstation version ! (No pun intended.)
As a first generation Playstation title, especially a polygon one, you would expect this would be butt ugly by today's standards. Not so ! The clean, simple style of the graphics are just as pleasing to the eye today as they were in 1995. Another surprising aspect of this game is the somewhat meticulous detail. The big TV at the starting tunnel has Galaxian playing on it. At night, the hotel on the beach stretch, all the lights are lit up in the form of a smiley face. The cars have old Namco game logos and names on them. And the overall look of the game is pleasing. And it's colorful. Something else that's rare in a early PS1 game.
Not to say they're perfect though. There is some clipping occasionally, and some pop up, but this is forgivable. It never gets in the way of the track, and is always very far off. Even the sprite based girl at the starting line is well animated. All the menus were well laid out and easy to use. And the last thing I want to harp on is the exceptionally smooth frame rate. Not once did I notice any drop whatsoever in it. For graphics, superb !
There is a downside to the sound, but I'll get to that later. The first built in music track is the best one of the bunch. But one gimmick that never caught on, was the fact that once the game was loaded, you could put in your own music cd and listen to that instead. It's a cool idea, that works well enough.
The cars should obviously sound the best right ? Well they do. Not the type that roars, but whines up like a turbo car. That may sound lame, but it really doesn't matter much when you're racing. Overall for sound, decent.
The type of control actually depends on your car. I'll get to that in the gameplay section. But the controls are pretty simple. X is the gas, square is the brake, triangle switches views from first person, to third person, and the top shoulder buttons shift gears up and down. A classic setup that really can't be beat.
Where the rubber hits the road ! Yes, that was a terrible pun. I promise no more. Maybe. Anyway, this is the best arcade style racing game on the Playstation. I can see why this was so popular when it came out. It can all be summed up in this phrase: car go fast ! Really fast ! Almost 200 mph fast ! Plus at the initial load screen, you get to play a round of Galaxian ! If you manage to kill all the invaders, you get a whole mess of unlockable cars ! It's a blast trying to go around the track full throttle. And trying to weave in between other cars for a better position. It's really exhilarating when you nail a turn at full speed without bumping the walls. Why don't you wan't to hit the wall ? It'll slow you down, or knock your gears lower if you hit something hard enough.
Oh yeah, you have gears to shift. Not to worry though, the auto transmission is the default. And since I don't know how to shift gears, that's a good thing. Speaking of car parts, I'll get to the cars.
Awesome selection ! You only get four cars initially, but that changes later on. The cars come two basic models. Compact and sports car, Ferrari style. The compact cars tend to handle better, but the Ferrari wannabe's go the fastest. I like the RT Ryukyu car best. It's got the best steering. All the unlockable cars have old Namco game logos and names splattered on them. They only steer slightly better than the other cars, but the Galaxian Ferrari style cars go really fast ! There is one more car to unlock, but I didn't have patience to get it.
But now that you've got a awesome set of wheels, where are you going to take them ? To the track ! There's really only one track in the whole game (it's timed), but it has different areas that open up at higher difficulty levels. Each difficulty level has two, to three laps respectively. The harder levels tend to have sharper turns. This hurts you if you picked a car with poor steering, but is forgivable, because all the tracks can be easily memorized. Another reward you get for finishing first on all the tracks is the extra tracks you get. They're just the same tracks backwards, but some are set at night. But they tend to very hard. Make more than two mistakes, and you run out of time. But finishing these tracks won't get you anything extra that I know of. And if you don't finish first, you can still set record lap times.
And this is where the memory card comes in. You not only save your records, but any tracks and cars you unlocked as well. What a relief ! No worrying about loosing your hard earned extras. So to wrap up gameplay, excellent !
Well not much to say here. Like almost every Playstation 1 game, it uses the memory card. It only takes a minimum of 1 block, but if you want to save in more slots, it'll take up a lot. Another aspect I'll be noting from now on ,in regard of Playstation 1 games, are the icons for the saves on the memory card. When you go the memory card screen without the game inside, you can see the boxes that represent the saves. It's just a big R, but sometimes they're animated. So great tech specs !
The BadWhere the game stalls. I know I know. But it was too good to pass up !
As you might have noticed, the good section about the sound was pretty thin. Now I'll tell you why. Remember how I said the first track was OK ? That's because it's the ONLY good track in the game ! All the rest are some of the worst garbage I've ever heard ! And if I'm not mistaken, one had sample of Urkel ! What were they thinking !? And the announcer is almost unbearable. And you can't turn him off. "Wow, I've got that I'll on tape so you can see it later ! You're the greatest!" Well duh ! I finished first didn't I ? I don't need to be reminded ! It's not so much that the lines are bad, but it's way they're delivered that's obnoxious. And he says the same things over and over. The only time he was helpful was letting me know when I was being tailgated by another car. And even though the use your own cd feature is a good idea, it doesn't work all that well. It never starts at the beginning of the song. Who wants to hear "Lazey Eye" mid song ?
The game can be a bit much for new comers. The turns are very hard sometimes, and if you hit them a lot, you'll be screwed for the rest of the race. Plus it knocks you out of gear if you hit it hard enough. And even though there are lots of different track variations, it's still the same track, and it can get repetitive later on. And no two player ? Come on !