Megarace 2 Cut Scene Videos (Lance Boyle is a God!)

Megarace 2 was one of my favorite DOS racing games from the 90s. Sure, the AI in the game was really cheap (think of the catch up option always ON for the computer opponents only) but it had a unique style that in my opinion made it the best game of the entire Megarace series. Part of that style was the hilariously funny videos that were used as cut scenes before and after battles.

megarace 2 lance boyle and girl

These cut scenes consisted of Lance Boyle, the game’s host, and always his lovely assistant which either is a different clone every time or Lance is enough of a dick that he never remembers her name or calls her a random woman’s name just to troll her. If you’ve never seen it before press play and prepare to have your mind blown. Here are all the Megarace 2 cut scene videos!

You know that just became your favorite cheesy game scene set in a dystopian future!

Games I wanted when I was a kid: The Tomy Racing Turbo

[youtube id=”1aCeg-EbOAI” width=”633″ height=”356″]

This thing took four D batteries; does anything even take D batteries anymore? ~J.A. Laraque

The Tomy Racing Turbo

If you read this blog often and you should, you heard me talk about my friend, Jimmy that is/was rich. He had all the toys and was really cool about it in that he was a good friend and would allow me to play with all of them and never was a jerk about it.

There were a ton of toys he had that I never did so I will tell you about the video game related ones in a series of posts starting with the Tomy Racing Turbo. Now in the days of Hi-Def video game racers a gamer like this may seem crappy, but back in the 80’s this was the shit.

The Tomy Racing Turbo

Not only did it have the look at feel of a cool sports car, but the sounds and cool lights to boot and to us kids at the time, it felt like a true driving sim. This thing took four D batteries; does anything even take D batteries anymore?

The video above features a great review of the Tomy Racing Turbo by YouTube member Ashens.

Motor City Dragstrip

Motor City Dragstrip

In today’s world, online multiplayer gaming is an everyday thing. People rutinely go online and can fight, wrestle, and shoot others in real time. But back in MY day (I say as I feel my hair greying), for online multiplayer games we had only a few options. One was a major online service like CompuServe, PlayNET, GEnie, or Q-Link (a direct descendent of the above PlayNET, which later begot America Online). Another were MUDs on the then nascent Internet, which
was only available to government workers or college students and staff. As for my family, however, we chose BBS, or Bulletin Board System, door games.

Motor City Dragstrip

For those who don’t know (and for those who already do, please bear with me here), a BBS was a computer system, usually owned and operated by a hobbyist, that other computer users during these primitive times could call up and do any number of things: send e-mail (though at this time, not exactly what WE would consider e-mail), download or upload files of various types, and play games. And many of these games allowed for multiplayer play, although most forced a turn-taking scenario. This meant that while YOU were playing a game against a human player, the computer was actually doing the playing using the stats that player had built up while he WAS online. And when you were done, your opponent’s stats would be updated, and this would likely affect how he plays the next time he logs into the system.

There were many different genres of such games: from gambling, to sports, to even multiplayer RPGs. But the one that yours truly, Chris “Sledge” Douglas used to play the most, was Motor City Dragstrip, commonly known as MC Race due to the zip file that the game was packed into.

Motor City Dragstrip

Motor City Dragstrip was written by John Parlin for Motor City Software in 1990. There may have been a number of versions, but the one I have played the most and still currently use is 2.0, which was released in 1991. The game consists of a one on one racing mode, but your racing is not controlled directly by you. In fact, the only skill required is the ability to press the Enter key when the ANSI light turns green. NOT before, or you will forfeit your victory, and certainly not after.

As BBS users of the day used modems which had extremely low bandwidth compared to what we have today, there are no “graphics” per se. Everything is drawn on screen using ASCII text and shapes and ANSI color codes and animation. Many other such door games are done this way as well and it’s… fine. It’s perfectly functional, but not particularly good, even compared to other ANSI work.

Motor City Dragstrip

The winner is simulated by the computer based on your stats, which include fuel level, engine type, and condition of your tires. You can also choose your favorite brand of car, but I honestly have no idea if that aspect factors in or not.

Motor City Dragstrip

In between races, you can do a number of things to better your chances of winning in the Pit Stop Menu. Here, you can fuel up, change your tires, change your engine, or even change your car entirely. Of course, this all costs money, but if you don’t you can have your engine die, fuel run out, or even blow your tires which (apparently, as you can’t actually see it happening) can send you careening out of control destroying your car and potentially kill your crew.

Oh, and speaking of your crew, be sure have enough crew. You start off with one, but if you don’t hire more, he will get fed up and quit.

Motor City Dragstrip

Of course, with a game like this, there are some major flaws. First, if you buy a Supercharged Hemi right away, really the only opponents who can beat you are those with the same engine. Sure, the next engine below it may have a tiny fraction of a chance to pass you out, but odds are that you will always come out victorious. Add that to the fact that you get $15,000 to start out with and everything is pretty affordable, and this game can become boring real fast.

Motor City Dragstrip
You’d probably have more fun being a little LESS conservative.

There are two aspects that do actually help this game out, despite what I just said. Of course, playing against another real BBS user rather than the computer is always fun. Again, this is done in the aforementioned turn-based style, and your opponent will have no idea what happened until he logs back in to that BBS. The other is the gambling system. This definitely helps balance the game out, as when you do keep piling on the wins, you get tempted to wager more and more money on the races. In fact, my most recent playthrough had me absolutely dominating until I made one HUGELY bad bet and lost. Of course, blowing out my tires and killing one of my crew wasn’t a huge help either.

Motor City Dragstrip
I’M SO SORRY! Please send my regards to the family of…
umm… squinty??

In conclusion, Motor City Dragstrip was a fun little trip back in time for me… but I really can’t recommend it to today’s modern gamers. Even though there really is no skill involved other than some light inventory management, the race wager functionality does certainly add a bit of excitement to the procedings. This game was definitely WAY more of a fun experience on an active BBS with multiple real life opponents.

If you really want to give it a shot, look for a zip file starting with MCRACE. With all the BBS CDs that are available through textfiles.com or even archive.org now, it shouldn’t be hard to find. The registered version, however? That’s a completely different story.

Here’s a video of the gameplay in action… and as you will see, it was not without tragedy…

LeMans

LeMans - Commodore 64Format: Commodore 64 (C64)
Media: Cartridge
Year: 1982
Developer: HAL Labratory, Inc.
Publisher: Commodore
Game Mode: Single Player

LeMans

Gentlemen, start your engines! How apt that I pull out the LeMans C64 cartridge on this day, the start of the 2013 Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix season. I am aware LeMans and F1 are two separate sanctioned sports, but hey, it is a racing game, and that is all there is to it. Perhaps I should have ripped out Checkered Flag on the Atari Lynx. I just have to stop second guessing myself and stick with this old game.

LeMans - Commodore 64

LeMans on the C64 is a top-down up-the-screen driving game, where you as the driver, must hit the pedal to the metal and drive to a never ending finish line. The goal of the game is to pass as many cars as you can. The more cars you overtake, the more points you earn. It’s not about the finish line in this game, it is all about accumulating the highest points score.The faster you go, the more points you earn – 2 points per metre to be exact. Every 10 cars passed you earn 1000 bonus points. Keep an eye on the countdown timer, as you will only get time extensions every 20,000 points. This is old school tough.

LeMans - Commodore 64

The strategy to doing well in LeMans is to drive as fast as you can for as long as you can, passing computer drivers (watch out as they veer in your path!) and traversing all kinds of terrain. The terrain sections in LeMans is what makes the game quite interesting – there are icy roads (your car slides as if it’s on skates), divided highways (squeezing into 2 lanes), night driving (relax, you have headlights) and the famous “LeMans Esses”.

LeMans - Commodore 64

Every time your car is hit by another vehicle or if you steer into the walls, your car turns into a wreck and you must “Pit” to the left as the on-screen message tells you to. This kills off precious seconds, so try and avoid hitting or being hit by cars and stop steering into walls. If you can avoid damage to your vehicle, then you will be well on your way to that precious high points score.

The only (fun) way to play this game is with the ‘Commodore Paddles’. The Paddles add to the playability of the game as you hold the accelerator button with your left thumb and steer with your right fingertips. There were no “steering wheel” contraptions for the C64 back in the day. The Paddles did (and still do) the job just right.

Well, enough of my ranting, I am off to play another game before the F1 race kicks off.

Pitstop II

Pitstop II

Pitstop II (1984)
By: Epyx Genre: Driving Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Commodore 64 
Also Available For: PC, Amstrad CPC, Atari 800, Apple II, TRS-80
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Pitstop II

One of my many objectives when starting this humble blog was to finally force myself to try out some titles on the systems that have gone largely ignored by me over the years. The first one to enter my mind was the mighty C64. I may have become somewhat distracted since, but the process began with the pair of ‘Exploring the C64‘ posts for which I requested some game recommendations from seasoned C64 veterans. One of these recommendations was Pitstop, a game that turned out to be so bad I immediately thought I’d been the victim of a practical joke. Subsequent research, however, has revealed its sequel to be substantially better thought of. It’s taken me a good while to work up the courage, but here I shall find out if the ‘Pitstop’ name has been redeemed…
Pitstop II

It’s no surprise to find that it’s an F1-based game once again but it’s immediately apparent that it offers far more than its prequel. Impressively for the day, it’s a one or two-player game but regardless of which you choose, the game employs a split-screen viewpoint anyway – player one occupies the top half of the screen and drives a red car, player two occupies the bottom half and drives a blue car which is controlled by the computer in one-player games. The pre-race options screen offers you the choice of three difficulty levels, you can set the number of laps (3, 6, or 9), and you can select any of six real racing circuits from Europe and the US. As the name hints at, however, it can get a little more complicated than that.
Pitstop II

As well as the ‘red’ and ‘blue’ cars, there are also a seemingly unlimited number of other racers pootling around the circuits, at a much slower pace of course, which means they’re pretty much just there to make your life more difficult. That’s to be expected with a game of this nature but unlike most similar games, or at least ones from this time period, you also have to be careful how you drive as not only can you run out of fuel but you can also wear out your tyres too. Driving too fast around corners too often, for example, will soon see your car squeal off to the side like a burst balloon and stop dead. This, as well as the fuel situation, can be overcome by making one of the titular pit-stops. These can take some time but are unfortunately necessary if you want to make it to the end of a race in anything resembling a decent position.
Pitstop II

Mercifully, the CPU car also makes pit-stops from time to time as well which makes this a surprisingly fair game. It looks a lot nicer than the first game too – it’s far from a stunner but streets ahead of the hideous original. Control of the cars is a bit odd to start with – they feel very skiddy, as if you’re actually playing a bobsleigh racing game or something, but it’s fine after a bit of practise. There’s no in-game music here either, but apart from these minor grumbles Pitstop II is notable improvement over the original which scared me so. You’ll probably tire of the one-player game before too long but this was meant as a two-player game and in that capacity it’s fantastic. It’s still hardly the most complex racing game, even for its time, but Epyx have certainly made this a much more enjoyable game than the first effort.

RKS Score: 7/10

Need For Speed The Run Review

Need For Speed The Run Shelby Mustang

Need For Speed The Run Review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:
“Need For Speed, Michael Bay Edition”

Overall Score:
8 out of 10
Need-for-Speed-The-Run-gameplay-screenshot
The Good:

– Pure action
– Think of this game as Gumball Rally and Cannonball Run meet Ronin.
– Music keeps the action pumping.
– Most cars that you would drool over are in this game; the problem is that many of them require a little grinding to unlock them. I enjoyed my 2nd playthrough more as a result of this since I had unlocked just about everything.
– Super customizable difficulty that you can change on the fly per race. Hardest difficulty is even challenging.
– Pure will make your computer and eyes orgasm eye candy.
– It actually feels like you are racing across the United States.
– Every girl in the game looks like a slut.

Need-for-Speed-The-Run-gameplay-screenshot

The Bad:
– Not the most realistic racing game.
– Most of the driving in this game would get you killed in real life, like instantly.
– Damage engine? Never heard of it other than super wrecks where there wouldn’t even be a finger left from the crash.
– Many races don’t make any sense. Yes, a Nissan 240Z would NEVER beat an upgraded Nissan GTR Skyline (the newest one), no matter if you drop over a million dollars of parts into it, in an open road race. YES, an Audi R8 will always beat a piece of shit Nissan 370Z. The list goes on…
– Ridiculous Nitro system where the more dumb shit you do the more Nitro you regenerate from air.
– Storyline written by porno writers.
– Quicktime events don’t belong in games especially racing games. This isn’t Dragon’s Lair!

Need-for-Speed-The-Run-gameplay-screenshot

Conclusion:
Finally a Need For Speed game that’s as much fun as Need For Speed Underground (1).

My Favourite Games – Part 2

Well, much of today has been spent in the fruitless pursuit of an obscure Japanese game and an emulator to run it on. I’m starting to think it’s impossible to find the combination of desired game rom and the relevant emulator, despite the help of couple of good chaps from Retro Gamer forum. Anyone know how to emulate the Sharp X-1, or the NEC PC-98, or goodness know which other previously unknown 25-year old Japanese computers?! Oh well, I’m sure I’ll figure something out!

And so, to continue with the fairly unremarkable list of my favourite games, numbers 6 -10… Behold!

Super Mario World – SNES (1992)

Super Mario World

Proclaimed by many to be the greatest platform game of all-time, who am I to argue? After spending all of the preceding generation as a Sega fan-boy, I really didn’t want to like this game, but I finally relented and got myself a SNES along with this game, and I was soon converted! Despite looking far less flashy than a certain blue hedgehog’s debut on the rival Mega Drive, this game soon proved to me that looks aren’t everything! I can still remember the first time I completed it, I was so proud of myself but my parents didn’t even care about my achievement! Consisting of a sprawling 96 levels (many of which are secret), I felt justified in being proud of myself too! Despite its size, it never failed to consistently introduce new and creative features either, not least of which was Yoshi, now almost as famous as Mario himself, but the game was just so enjoyable to play through, and has so many nice touches. Has it ever been bettered? Not in my opinion…

Star Fighter – 3DO (1996)

Star Fighter 3DO

Now here’s one that most people haven’t even heard of, nevermind played! I bought this from the 3DO clearance bin in my local second-hand games store towards the end of the 3DO’s brief life for a mere £5, or something like that. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I loaded it, but then came one of just a few genuine ‘wow’ moments in my gaming life! It was the first free-roaming 3D flying game I had ever played, and it was amazing! Sure, visually it’s looking pretty ropey nowadays, as all early polygon games are, but back then it was a revelation! Originally an Acorn Achimedes game, this spruced up version is, at its core, a mission-based 3D combat game, but it’s not just an out-and-out blaster, no siree! Strategy plays a big part too, especially during later missions, and there’s so much to do. Star Fighter was way ahead of its time; I’ve still not played anything else quite like this, and I’d dearly love to! If you want to try it out though, just steer clear of the horrifying Sega Saturn and Playstation versions!

F-Zero X – Nintendo 64 (1998)

F-Zero X N64

Along with Burnout 2, this is easily my favourite racing game of all-time. Nintendo took the controversial decision of reducing the graphical detail in the game (especially backgrounds) in order to keep it running smoothly at 60fps. Was it worth it? You’re damn straight it was! This could be the most exciting, edge-of-the-seat, sweaty palms, racing game ever made! Racing at speeds of up to 1500kph over courses that often look more like rollercoasters, I’m sure you can imagine why too! There are over 20 varied courses, each race is contested by 30 distinctive racers, and there’s even a four-player battle mode, so there’s no danger of getting bored anytime soon either. Simply the fastest, most exciting racing action to be found anywhere!

Space Station Silicon Valley – Nintendo 64 (1998)

Space Station Silicon Valley N64

This is another under-appreciated classic which I discovered thanks to the short-lived magazine, Total Control. I can’t even find any reference to that magazine with a quick Google search, but I’m glad it did exist or I may never have played this game! It’s a 3D platform/puzzle game in which you control the microchip of a malfunctioning robot called Evo, damaged when the ship he was on crashed into the titular space station it was meant to be landing on! Populating this space station are many robotic animals, which you can take over by leaping into them. Each animal has unique (and often very strange) abilities and, using them, you must perform set mission objectives (also often very strange) before you can move onto the next. It’s a highly original, creative, and funny game in which you never know what’s around the next corner!

The Revenge of Shinobi – Mega Drive (1989)

The Revenge of Shinobi Mega Drive

Or Super Shinobi, as it’s known in Japan, and this was the version I first played. When visiting my good friend, Stu’s, house one day after school I was excited to see that his brother had a gleaming new imported Japanese Mega Drive sitting in his room. It wasn’t long before Stu and his brother, Darren, were demonstrating the power of this new console, and this was the game they used to do it. And it worked! The awesome intro sequence, the breathtaking graphics, the now legendary music… I was still used to my Sega Master System and trusty Speccy at this time, so the effect this game had on me was profound, and it still holds a lot of good memories for me. And after all these years, it’s clearer than ever that this wasn’t all window dressing either, it still plays like a dream. Still the best game in the Shinobi series if you ask me!

Next five to follow tomorrow…

Super Sprint

Super Sprint - Title Screen

Super Sprint (1986)
By: Atari Genre: Overhead Racing Players: 3 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade
Also Available For: NES, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum

The overhead viewed racing game certainly didn’t start with Super Sprint – the genre goes right back to the pre-microprocessor, black and white games of the 70’s – but it’s possibly the most fondly remembered example of this all but dead genre. In the eighties and early nineties, there were a lot of these games around. Some were variations on Super Sprint, such as Super Off Road, others experimented with games that only showed a small part of the course at once, such as Motoroader for the PC Engine and, of course, Micro Machines (most popular on Amiga and Megadrive), which required lightning reactions by the player, and there were some which were viewed from an isometric viewpoint like Rock ‘n’ Roll Racing for the SNES. All of these variations on the original blueprint were exciting and good fun, esepcially in multi-player, and I’ll be looking at some of them later in this series of features, but it’s Super Sprint and its sequel, Championship Sprint, that old timers like me most fondly recall.

Super Sprint - Select Screen

There can’t be too many people that don’t know all about Super Sprint, and there’s not really too much that you can say about it. It was a simple game, even compared to others of the time. It’s based on either Formula One or Indy/Cart racing (probably the latter considering how unpopular F1 is in the US) and can be played by between one and three players simultaneously, whilst a fourth ‘drone’ car is controlled by the computer. This was before the days of linking machines together of course, so this is achieved by presenting each course in its entirety from an overhead perspective. The races are contested over four laps by four cars regardless of how many human players there are. If there are less than three players, the remaining places are taken by additional drone cars. Though there are only eight courses, the competition can go on for as long as the player(s) like, since the courses just keep repeating over and over again. The object is obviously to finish in as high a position as possible, but only the first three positions score points; the higher the position, the more points are awarded, but if you finish fourth, you’ll soon have to insert (giggity) more coins.

Super Sprint - Gameplay Screenshot 4

As can be seen from the screenshots, each of the courses feature a wide track, and they pretty much fill the screen. Since the whole course has to be shown at once, however, there are lots of bridges and sharp corners (including some 180 degree, and even a few 270 degree turns!). There are also a few features that are not exactly common on F1-style circuits. Some of them hinder your progress such as jumps (if you fluff it, at least!), tornadoes (which make your car spin around if you drive near them), and pools of oil (which do something similar to tornados), and some are there to help you like short cuts, bonus points, gold wrenches and gates. Not all courses have gates but when they are present, they allow you to take further short-cuts. Beware though – the gates aren’t always open – they open and close in regular patterns (and often seem to favour the computer-controlled cars). If you head towards one at high speed and it closes just as you get there, you often can’t avoid it in time and…….. BOOOOOM!

Super Sprint - Gameplay Screenshot 1

When you start the game you don’t get to choose which car you want to drive as they’re all identical (except their colour), but every time you pick up three gold wrenches, you can choose one of four upgrades. Three of them – higher top speed, turbo acceleration, and super traction – can only be chosen up to five times each, but the other, which gives you bonus points, can be selected as often as you like. Be careful if you upgrade your speed too much though, as hitting a wall too fast will result in your car exploding. A replacement is soon ‘choppered’ in enabling you to continue on your way, but it all takes time. It’s also possible to make the others cars crash by driving into them and knocking them into the wall, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, they can also do this do your car.

Super Sprint - Gameplay Screenshot 2

As mentioned earlier, Super Sprint was a pretty simple game, even back in 1986. There’s precious little music (including none in-game) and a few weak effects, and, while the colours are bold and the title and presentation screens are nice enough, the graphics aren’t particularly impressive either. The courses all look damn near identical (aside from their layout, obviously), the cars and other objects are all small and not especially detailed, and animation is almost non-existent, but this is one of those games that doesn’t need flashy or detailed graphics to be playable. Even far more modern variations on the theme don’t usually look particularly great – playability is all that counts here, and fortunately Super Sprint has that by the bucket-load. The cars here handle very precisely and have tight and quick turning circles. In fact, since the track is mostly very wide (compared to the cars) it’s easy to turn too sharply and end up driving backwards or something! This just adds to the fun when racing against friends though, and is rarely annoying. What is a little annoying, however, is something that’s commonly annoying in racing games – the computer-controlled cars. They’re inconsistent in their performance and are ‘magically’ unaffected by the hazards present on each circuit, like the tornados, but this was always intended as a multi-player game anyway. The courses are nicely designed for the most part though, and are varied enough in their layout to keep things interesting too.

Super Sprint - Gameplay Screenshot 3

Racing/driving games are among the most enjoyable multi-player games there are today. The strong sense of competition, not to mention the ability to fight dirty by making your friends crash, have helped to prolong the lifespan of many games that would otherwise have started gathering dust long before, and this game proves that this has been the case for almost as long as there has been videogames. They may have changed dramatically over the years, particularly as far as their appearance is concerned, but their roots run deep, so to speak. Super Sprint may be almost 25 years old but it has stood the test of time better than many much newer titles.

RKS Score: 8/10

 

Snowboard Kids 2

Snowboard Kids 2 Cover
Snowboard Kids 2 Cover

Snowboard Kids 2 review by metalfighterriku

Overall score:
7.5 out of 10

Overview:

Snowboard Kids 2 is a fun party racing, mario-kart-style game, with a cute story mode and tons of cool options like unlockable boards, costumes, and characters.

The storyline for SBK2 is simple: Some stupid bratty green demon kid named Damien is wrecking havoc around Snow Town, and it’s up to a bunch of snowboarding 10-year olds to stop him!

SBK2 hosts the same cast of characters as the original, such as Slash, Jam, Linda, Tommy, and Nancy, but also adds a few new characters like Wendy and Damien. Each character has different attributes: speed, trick, and all-around, giving them advantages or disadvantages in certain courses and even boss stages.

The game consists of racing through 12 crazy courses, taking snowboarding off the slopes and into jungles, houses, and even outer space! In story mode, you occasionally run into a boss stage, where you race against or battle a boss character to keep it from reaching the finish line.

There’s also a variety of cool items, power-ups and weapons to use throughout the courses. There’s fan propeller that speeds you up, and a rocket that shoots you super fast for a short period of time. Some weapons send your opponent tumbling over, like the bomb and the glove, while others can immobilize your opponent for a few seconds, like the frying pan that flatens everyone and the parachute bomb that suspends a character in midair.

In order to use weapons and items you need money to purchase them. You can get money by collecting coins that are scattered around the course or by doing tricks. There’s also an item you can use to steal money from your opponents, but can be really annoying when used against you.

The story mode let’s you walk around Snow Town, which is basically a small strip of random buildings. There’s a board shop where you can purchase new boards using the money you acquire from racing the course. There’s also a schoolhouse, where you can change your character, an internet cafe, where you can view all the characters, course, boards, and songs you’ve unlocked, and there’s even a paint shop, where you can change the design on your board.

Snowboard Kids 2 is available for N64 or its emulators.

Fun Factor:

Its super cuteness, bright colorful cute big-nosed characters, and simple cartoon-style party racing gameplay is what makes this game fun to play!

Difficulty:

The game is simple but can be quite challenging when a massacre of items and weapons are being used against you. The boss fights in story mode can be difficult and sometimes annoying, especially when they scatter debris for you to trip over. Some characters use special boards in certain stages, making it difficult to pas them without the aid of a special board. After beating story mode, it gives you the option to play it on expert. I found the dinosaur in Crazy Jungle to be extremely difficult in normal mode, even with the dragon board, so I imagine on expert it is probably impossible.

Replayability:

Very high. I played this game over countless times because its a simple racing game with not much thinking to it.

Music:

8 out of 10. One of the things I love about SBK2 is the music. All of the course tracks are catchy and fun to listen to. Some of my favorites are Jingle Town, Linda’s Castle, and Turtle Island. There’s even a channel in Wendy’s Internet Cafe, in story mode, that let’s you listen to all these wonderful tracks!

Graphics:

7 out of 10.  For its time, SBK2 had awesome graphics. The characters were a bit polygonal but cute, smooth, and colorful. The background enviroments looked flat, but everything else was nicely done like the buildings and the water. One stage had flying fish and there was even a stage where you snowboard on a giant piano that made sounds when you jumped on it. Really cool!

Control:

The controls were very easy to understand. You start off a bit slow but then pick it up quickly. Speed characters are more difficult to maneuver than trick and all-around type characters. Doing tricks was also very easy to do, depending on which direction you have the joystick when holding down and letting go of the A-button lets you do different tricks.

Conclusion:

If you’re into racing games like Mario-Kart and Diddy Kong Racing and aren’t really big on graphics, but love cute looking characters in cartoony environments, then you should check this game out!

Free Stuff: Death Rally full game

Death Rally
Death Rally

Free Stuff: Death Rally full game

Remedy Entertainment, creators of Max Payne 1 and 2 are offering the full game of Death Rally for free. The game is a top down racing combat game similar a little to Vangers and Burnout (except not 3D).

The game is pretty fun, even for an old game. You race based on what difficulty you pick each time and get money based on how good you did. You keep buying better cars and upgrades both for performance and different weapons as well.

You can download the full game by clicking this link.

DiRT 2

DiRT 2 CRUNCHHH
DiRT 2 CRUNCHHH

DiRT 2 review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“More dirt slingling, car crunching rally madness from Codemasters!”

Overall Score:
8 out of 10

Overview:

Codemasters surprises us again with another great Colin McRae Rally racing classic.

For the campaign game, you take the role of an up and coming rally race car driver that’s finally making it to the big time. You start entering races in the lower tiers and eventually you “level up” enough to take one the mid grade tiers and up, eventually getting invites for special global events and championships, such as the X-Games, special historical races, etc.

As you do more races you keep getting paid, letting you buy different cars but there are mainly 2-3 cars that will dominate each race mode. If you figure out which those are, the rest of the cars (and money is sort of irrelevant). Some of the cars are much funner to drive than others and you might want to get them simply for the challenge of trying to take on cars with better handling (pretty much the most important characteristic for cars in this game).

The game mainly has modern day rally cars that are favorites today and less of the classic rally cars of legend from the 70s-90s (as opposed to DiRT 1).

Like DiRT 1, DiRT 2 has many big names and personalities from the world of rally racing. Ken Block, Mohammed bin Sulayem, and Travis Pastrana are some, to name a few. The racers interact with you as you race (crash) them with a little pop-up and some smart ass comment to keep you in good spirits. Once in a while, in between races, if you really owned it up or sucked big time, the game will offer you a special challenge against one of these personalities. The challenge will depend on the kind of event you just did and what kind of racing that racer favors the most.

The game offers an online racing mode, which I will discuss in detail below.

DiRT 2 is available on PC, Nintendo Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, and PSP.

Fun Factor:

I’m a big fan of racing games, particularly ones where you abuse the hell out of your car and you have to make it last as much as possible. This is such a game!

Some of the tracks will feel repetitive after a while but they do require mastering if you want to take this game on at the max difficulty or make a legend of yourself racing online. Learning every pebble can be fun in itself.

Fun factor gets a score of 7 out of 10 from me. It’s not the funnest racing game I play but it is entertaining, especially when I’m in the mood for off-road racing.

Difficulty Versatility:

DiRT 2 is a lot harder than the first game. The customization for the diffuculty is more detailed and it’s a lot like Grid’s system. You have a finite number of “flashbacks” which let you rewind part of the race in single player offline mode. The harder you set it the more damage you car can take faster, and the easier it will be for damage to disable it. The driving skill of the computer opponents will also get upgraded.

If you want a better challenge than the computer, you will often find better players online. Some players will just specialize in the game so unless you want to get owned, you might have to put in some time to take them on.

Since this game is harder than DiRT 1 and in some parts less annoying (difficulty speaking-wise), Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Value:

I bought DiRT 2 via Steam for about 33 dollars a few months ago. Through Steam at the moment of this writing, DiRT 2 is sold for $40, which is a bit steep considering you can beat the game in a few hours.

Overall, gogamer.com has the best prices for most system’s versions of Dirt 2. The link to find it at gogamer is the following: http://www.gogamer.com/searchresults.htm?keywords=dirt+2&categoryId=&x=0&y=0

Considering how little time I beat DiRT 2 in, I would say pick the game up for about 20 dollars if possible, around that price, it’s worth getting hands down. For the current price, mainly get it if you are a hardcore rally racing fan. At the current prices, Value gets a score of 4 out of 10.

Replayability:

I’ve played the campaign mode twice and it’s kind of like an experience of diminishing returns. I find the online mode now more interesting. The problem with the online mode is that most people on there are a bunch of cheating assholes (crashing you if you are doing well) so to me there’s only the rally mode where you can’t crash your competitors, so it’s more of a pure test of skill/luck.

All the tracks from DiRT 1 are missing in the sequel, which was a disappointment for me because they seem much more real as tracks/courses. I don’t know why they didn’t even bother to include the Pikes Peak Hill Climb course.

Overall, the Replayability gets a score of 6 out of 10. If they can manage to incorporate the non-cheating, non-crashing into the online mode for the modes other than Rally, I’d say it would be worth a 7 out of 10, solely for that.

Sound:

Wonderful sounds ring to my ears. Whether car crunching sounds of smashing your fellow racers or the roar of your rally car flying up a hill. I found it kind of cool in some tracks how they have a running fireworks display as you are about to finish the race and they do sound pretty real to me. Turn the volume ALL the way UP! Sound gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:

I found the music in DiRT 1 to be more fitting towards rally racing. The music in DiRT 2 feels as though you’re stuck in a Mountain Dew commercial hopped up either on MD or Red Bull or Monster, the two latter for which you will see ads for throughout the game in almost every race.

DiRT 2 certainly feels more commercial in this sense. I guess the music fits the current direction of where they are trying to get Rally racing to go (especially the infiltration into the US), so it’s more fitting towards the attitude this game has.

Music gets a score of 7 out of 10 in my book. I don’t like it myself but it gets the job done for what they want DiRT 2 to be.

Graphics:

Like DiRT 1 and Grid, DiRT 2 continues the tradition of being amazing eye candy. The game has about 8 or so different global locations and it is does feel as though you really are in the country where you are racing. The car models are simply beautiful and it’s always fun to see them all covered in dirt!

I do enjoy that this is a great game AND it also happens to look great as well.

Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

I’ve only gotten the game to crash once and that was after playing it non-stop for 5 hours, probably because my video card was overheating. Other than that the game is pretty rock solid. I believe Codemasters took steps to address the lag bug from DiRT 1 and it happens much less in DiRT 2. I will address that below under the performance explanation. Stability/Reliability get a score of 9 out of 10.

Controls:

Like DiRT 1, controls are fully customizable. The standard arrow keys for the PC version are all you need unless you want to remap them to your heart’s content.

For the PC version and consoles I’ve been told that wheel and pedal support has been improved dramatically over the first game.

Controls get a score of 10 out of 10 from me.

Performance:

Overall, this game runs pretty great for how pretty it is. I’ve had moments where it lags due to what I think is a bug inherent in the game engine, even if offline, playing against the computer. It’s a bit less drastic than DiRT 2 and I think Codemasters is trying to work this problem out for their future racing games.

The game will run fine on most gaming machines. Racing games are some of the most intense kinds of games because of how many different objects that are moving at high speeds have to be all computed in relation to each other.

Performance gets a score of 8 out of 10.

My history with this game:

This is one of the many games I played around the holidays of 2009. They kept delaying the PC version over and over, which I found annoying. I was a little disappointed as to how little time it took me to beat the game. I basically beat it on the first day.

The online mode is okay but I only like doing the Rally mode which gets repetitive once you master all the tracks.

DiRT 1 was a nice surprise for when it was released. DiRT 2 has been heavily marketed in comparison, and some of that hype got it sales, but the game itself is still a great game. Fans of the first game should probably give it a chance.

DiRT

Dirt cover
Dirt cover

DiRT review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“One of the best rally racing games out there.”

 

 

Overall Score:

8 out of 10

 

Overview:

This is the 6th game in the Colin McRae Rally series. Colin McRae was a world champion in rally racing and he passed away in a helicopter accident. Both DiRT 1 and 2 are made in his honor.

Back to the game, DiRT is a refinement of the previous Colin McRae Rally games. There are many different styles of racing available, all off-road. You have traditional Rally, where you race alone with your copilot/navigator that is giving you instructions as to how much distance you have until the next turn and the severity of the turn. You have Hill Climb, which is the same thing, only that you are alone without a navigator, so it’s harder if you don’t know the course. There is a mode where you race on a racetrack with about 7 other racers at the same time, whether in super rally cars or buggies or pickups or SUVs. A neat mode is one called Cross over where you race a track composed of two tracks and you alternate with your rival through a cross over section. The races either consist of who can get the best total lowest time or who can get first place at any cost.

The game has a damage engine, which is relatively realistic (compared to most other racing games). If you damage your transmission, your car will have problems shifting. Damage the cooling system and you risk blowing the engine from overheating. Turbo cars that damage the turbo will suffer a performance hit, and so on. Damage really comes into effect when you play a 3 stage or higher Rally mode race where you will have a chance to repair your car at the end of the 2nd race. You have a finite time to do repairs so it’s better to take care of the most critical damages first. If you don’t know about car mechanics the game has a help system in which two of your team mates will give you a description of real life effects of having damage on real systems. I wish they would have implemented a more severe damage system that makes you rely on having a good team of mechanics and implemented a mini game of managing your employees, but that’s not the case.

DiRT has most legendary Rally cars of recent years and classic cars as well. You will find the Lancia Stratos and the Fiat 131 Abarth as well, as well as the special Colin McRae Ford Escort and the Subaru 1995 Impresa, which he also used to become a legend in. Apart from countless Fiat, Peugeot, Suzuki cars, you will also find the classic Subaru Impreza and the old (and better) Mitsubishi Evo rally cars. The game has some fun cars such as the racing semi-trucks and the 1000-1500 horsepower Toyota racing pickup as well as some old prototype rally cars which are simply amazing. In this sense DiRT 1 is better than DiRT 2.

As far as that comparison goes, DiRT 1 has a LOT more real life tracks compared to DiRT 2, which was a disappointment to me when I got part 2. You will find yourself racing famous tracks in Spain, England, France, and classic Rally trails in Japan and Germany. Of course, DiRT also includes Pikes Peak, one of the best Rally/Hill Climb courses in the world of off-roading.

DiRT has most of the rally world racing personalities racing against you but for the most part they are just names, other than specific people having the tendency to win over others. DiRT 2 added voices and little popup portraits that interact with you as you race with them.

I would say get DiRT 1 if you want more of a classic rally experience.

The game has a multiplayer mode, whether to play via LAN or online. I played it online when the game first came out, but when I replayed it in 2009-2010, it doesn’t work for me anymore, making me think that it has been discontinued in favor of allotting gaming servers for players of DiRT 2 instead.

The game doesn’t let you mod cars, as these are race cars, not street racers. You mainly buy other cars and liveries (think of them as skins) for them. It’s nice to eventually get all cars added to your garage and it’s also interesting that they included the history of the cars, which get narrated to you by your team mates.

DiRT is available on PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.

Fun Factor:

I always enjoy most racing games as I enjoy racing fast cars in real life, whether on a desolate road, off-roading, or around a real race track (go-karts and similar stuff too!). DiRT will test your reflexes and you will be thoroughly entertained if you enjoy taking a car to its limits and keeping it together in one piece. Some game modes are more enjoyable than others and depending on what kind of challenge you want, you can just focus on those (although sometimes you are forced to do specific races to complete the career mode ladder). Overall, DiRT is a fun experience. Fun Factor gets a score of 8 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

The game allows you to adjust the difficulty through 5 different settings per race, and you will get audio ques if you are doing too well since it is too easy or it will advice you to lower it if you keep losing. If you are a pro at racing games, you will want to play it at the top or 2nd from the top difficulty, always. Since you can keep adjusting it, you can just variate it from race to race depending on how bad you want to win or how bad you want to make the challenge for you.

What I like about the physics of this game is that it actually takes very well into account the traction and suspension system of the car you are using. Knowing your car will make a huge difference in determining which one to use for the courses you are competing on. You can always make it harder for yourself if you want to artificially manipulate the difficulty for you by selecting a car with crappy suspension AND high horsepower to weight ration for a bumpy track and you will be fighting for your life to control that monster.

Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 10 out of 10.

 

 

Value:

You can get DiRT through Steam for $20. Considering how short the game is, I wouldn’t recommend getting it for that price, although you can sometimes pick it up on there for half off. When Dirt 2 came out they were giving you Dirt 1 for $2.

You can pick up DiRT for $15 through gogamer.com which is a much better buy. You can get the PS3 version from then for $19 as of the time of this writing. You can check out all the versions of DiRT from gogamer at the following link: http://www.gogamer.com/searchresults.htm?keywords=dirt&categoryId=&x=0&y=0

ebgames.com has the Xbox 360 version for $20 as well.

I would say pick up the game for sure if it’s around $10. Maybe like around $15. Otherwise, unless you LOVE rally racing, it might not be worth the money, and if you were to spend more money most people would just opt out to buy DiRT 2 instead. Value gets a score of 6 out of 10.

Replayability:

I’ve played the campaign for this game three times through and the game is still fun to me. I love most of the cars in the game and I don’t really mind that this is now becoming an old racing game, since it was great from the start.

I’ve memorized most of the tracks in the game which make the game much easier for me (this is a tactic to be employed in all racing games, if you want to dominate). The tracks are classic though and some of you will find them in other racing games as well. The tracks feel realistic as to their layout, so I enjoy racing them over and over.

Although I have DiRT 2, I find myself playing DiRT 1 more. It’s a nice game to load up once in a while if you feel like getting your car dirty! Replayability gets a score of 8 out of 10.

Sound:

The sound in this game is simply brilliant. The cars do sound like real off-road race cars and you will hear the crackle of the engine as you floor the living hell out of your car. The ground and dirt pebbles sound wonderful and real if you have ever gone off-roading in real life. Even hitting a tree or rock at a high speed sounds “wonderful” (although your car will perish… sometimes). Sound surely gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:

Like other Codemasters racing games, music is basically absent during racing, which I assume is done on purpose so that you can focus on racing and not grooving. I wish they would incorporate a an option to have it be interactive music (like Need For Speed 2 had) or have it be persistent as well. You mainly only get the hear constant music in the menu, which has a great song, and after each race with like victory music, which is nice itself. Music gets a score of 6 out of 10. The songs are GREAT but they are sparse.

Graphics:

This game might be “old” now but it sure is eye candy. Although I’ve also played part 2 and GRID, and this game came out first, sometimes I find myself staring at the background and it seems like as if you are almost racing in the real location (in some instances). Codemasters are real code masters when it comes to making the best looking, fastest running game possible. Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

The game used to hang up for me while loading rarely when the game originally came out. The latest patch/build makes this hardly ever happen though, which helps in this category.

The problem I have is that there is a lag problem, which I still believe is linked to the cheat prevention system the Codemasters games have which will make the game lag sometimes randomly, usually the faster you are going. This happens sometimes and this is sort of like a killer to have in a racing game. For DiRT often when this happens, the game will lag and then speed up to catch up with the action which can be dangerous, especially when racing. Since that bug is annoying, it hurts the game in this sense. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 6 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls for the PC version are fairly standard, using the arrow keys to drive. You can remap the controls to your liking so that you get a better interface if you are so inclined. I usually map my brakes to the letter Z. I like to drive with both feet in real life, even in an automatic car to have direct control over the brakes, for me the most important part of real racing. Because you set your own controls, if you don’t like the defaults, and they are responsive, Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

The game runs great for the most part but it does have the annoying lag bug I have discussed above. I’ve played this game on 3 computers, each one faster than the previous one. It ran pretty well on all of them, even when it first came out. Performance gets a score of 7 out of 10, mainly because of the lag bug.

My history with this game:

I thought I’d give this game a try since so many games had come out that were great of the Colin McRae Rally series. I played the first one and I thought it was great for its time. This game follows that tradition.

I’m a fan of Codemasters racing games. I always buy their stuff, no matter what (when it comes to racing games, YES). I’m looking forward to them making DiRT 3 and Grid 2.

I enjoy how they release their racing games for PC and also for consoles. I see that they are basically developing for console, but that’s where the money is for racing games, the ones that sell. Sure you have a lot of enthusiasts solely using PCs for simulator racing games but the number of people who do that is very small compared to the number of people who will have a PS3 or Xbox 360 and will play games like DiRT, Grid, Grand Turismo, Need For Speed, Burnout, and some others. The only part that bothers me sometimes is that the PC version comes out 4-6 months later, which is annoying. I hope they come out with both console versions and PC versions pretty close to each other in the coming future.

OutRun 2006 Coast 2 Coast

Outrun 2006 Coast 2 Coast title
Outrun 2006 Coast 2 Coast title

OutRun 2006 Coast 2 Coast review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“The return of the arcade classic, Outrun”

Overall Score:

8 out of 10

Overview:

Outrun is one of the classic arcade games that put Sega on the map in the arcade world and helped them later become a major player in the console market. If you’ve never played Outrun, Outrun is a very fast racing game where you are driving really fast in a bunch of Ferrari cars to get to the finish line, with a time limit. There are different game modes, some where you race against rivals, the traditional one where you are trying to get there as soon as possible with your girlfriend riding shotgun, and another one where you are trying to get the girl excited (no, seriously) by completing challenges. You do different stages depending on the game mode you set it to and unlock new courses, girlfriends, cars (which you buy with money), and music (which you buy in money if you don’t to cheat). You still have from the original, your girlfriend bitching you out when you get yourselves killed by ramming the Ferrari and flipping it over and over after hitting some palm trees or other obstacles.

The physics engine is basically an arcade game so don’t expect GRID or Grand Turismo. Damage is non existent so you’re basically immortal so long as the time doesn’t run out (for some game modes).

PC, PSP, Xbox, and PS 2 versions of the game are available.

Fun Factor:

If you like driving fast and want to get a good feeling of being out on a crazy road trip with hot girl, Outrun is the game for you. For me, the game brings a great feeling of nostalgia since I played the original arcade game in the 80s and at home on the c64 (both Outrun and Turbo Outrun). The game gets hard later but it only makes me want to master it even more. Fun Factor gets a score of 9 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

The difficulty starts out easy and gets to the point where it is impossible for most people to win at all. The later stages would even put skynet to shame, as they are designed for a god to be able to beat. =P I give difficulty versality a 6 out of 10 since you can’t do much about it and it will make you cry (once it becomes insane difficulty).

Value:

I got this game on Steam for about 7 dollars when it was on sale on Christmas. They sometimes sell it on there, but not currently. You can pick it up for console for 5-10 dollars and considering how fun this game is, it’s still worth getting, although it’s old (for most video game players). You can find the game for sale on ebay, gogamer.com, and gamestop/ebgames. I give it a Value score of 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

I played this game a few months ago and it’s still fun to pick up once in a while. I would recommend doing some practice runs before really committing on it again on a replay because the later stages will usually frustrate you. I give Replayability a score of 7 out of 10.

Sound:

Some of the sounds are kind of generic like some of the car engine sounds, that don’t impress. The tires pealing out noise is wonderful and they bring back a lot of memories of the original. Overall, Sound gets a score of 7 out of 10.

Music:

The music for this game is simply BRILLIANT! Two modernized versions of the original songs are in it, and they are even better than the originals. All the original versions for all previous Outrun games and all the Outrun sequels are included. The OGG files for these songs are available within the game directories, so that you can make your own mix CD of Outrun in real life and go for a real Outrun! ;-] Even some new tracks are introduced which sound like they come from Planet Sega! =P Music gets a 10 out of 10, simply because 1o is the max!

Graphics:

This game came out in 2006 and the game designers did a decent job of balancing graphical quality (better than arcade quality at the time) and performance. The car models for the individual Ferraris are pretty well done and since the game includes some rare car models, it’s a nice treat. I give Graphics a score of 7 out of 10 overall.

Stability/Reliability:

For the most part the game never crashes, at least in the middle of a race. I’ve gotten the game to freeze up while loading if I play it for too long or just the game launched in a bad mood. Not much data loss happens when that takes place. Overall, I give Stability/Reliability a score of 8 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls are as simple as can be and since this is an arcade racer, that’s a really good thing. Because drifting is such an essential part of the game, I usually remap the brake to something other than down on the arrow keys. It allows better control. Since the game even lets you remap while in a race, the controls are solid. Controls get a rating of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

This game is 3-4 years old and it runs fine on any computer that you would be using for gaming anyways. It would probably also run fine in a light gaming computer such as a work laptop. I give performance a rating of 10 out of 10 considering how many computers will be able to run this game.

My history with this game:

From the arcade, to the c64, and then Amiga, Outrun has always had a place in my heart as far as racing games go. I hope they keep making sequels to it, even in the arcade form because the games are always fun and they’re relaxing to play (some racing games will give you a heart attack). I can usually just load up this game and have a good time without having to worry about the world ending if I lose.

GRID

GRID logo
GRID logo

GRID review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“An ultimate refinement of the TOCA Race Driver series.”

Overall Score:

9 out of 10

 

Overview:

Codemasters might be smaller than EA but they sure do know how to code the BEST racing games in the world. This is the sequel to the sequels of Race Driver (TOCA Race Driver) but the game has been polished to perfection. The game consists of being a professional race car driver that is trying to make it as a world champion overall and within three areas of the world, the USA, Europe, and Japan. There’s 4 tiers mainly, with you starting at tier 1 for each area, and then you each championship points based on how well you performed on each race, potentially unlocking the next area within that region, and ultimately you unlock tier 4 which has the most challenging championships worldwide. Once in a while when you dominate a tier in a country, the top racer of a racing team will challenge you on a duel which usually gives a decent amount of points and a hefty lump of cash. All major race cars that are world class champions are found in the game. The game has a decent damage engine built into it and the physics of the racing are pretty solid for a non-sim racing game. You make money in the game by racing and getting whatever higher position you can and by repainting your car with the decals of better and better sponsors that have specific requirements for them to pay you. Most of the car customization ends there as the game does not let you modify the parts of your car but then again this is a game about professional racing, not street racing in the style of Need For Speed. In the real racing world, real race cars have specific rules they have to follow in order to be allowed to race in that league.

Fun Factor:

It’s thrilling to take control of a 500-1000 horsepower race car and push it to the utter limit. Since the game has a damage engine, one can’t simply drive the car straight through walls and one has to be strategic regarding making the car last the entire race. I think that makes the game a more fun vs something like Grand Turismo. The only part that kind of gets boring which you must do (not really but I’m a perfectionist) is the 24-hour LeMans race which literally is an endurance race which will take 24 real minutes to complete. I’ve literally done that over 100 times and I’m kind of sick of it. I would have liked them to have offered some variations to it like 12 hours at Sebring or some other real epic races rather than just that one over and over in between the transition of racing seasons. I give fun factor a score of 9 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

The difficulty in this game is fully customizable, with about 5-7 settings and sub-settings that let you customize the experience to be as abusive as you need or want. I’m really good at racing and racing games in general and I always find a way to make this game challenging even after having played it 4 times through. Sure, it helps to memorize the tracks as it does in every racing game but the A.I. does begin to act like true professional racers in the higher settings and that’s always a plus for a challenge. The game offers “flashbacks” which let you rewind a crash and you might be able to save the car or avoid a spin-out. This and other assists can be disabled depending on how hardcore or masochistic of a gamer you are. The only complaint I have about the difficulty is that there is basically no point to money in the game. In the beginning of the game, money is scarce but after playing the game for a good hour or two, you will basically be able to afford any car you want. It would have been neat if they added the option for me to waste my money designing my own custom race car. (Ahem) Hopefully, Codemasters will add this function in a future racing game. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 9 out of 10.

Value:

The game sells for about US$25 and sometimes you can get it bundled with other Codemaster racing games (like Dirt 1 and/or 2). Even at 25 dollars the game is worth getting because if you are a fan of authentic speed and a racing game with a somewhat realistic damage engine and well over 12-20 hours of solid game play, this is the game for you. I give it’s Value a score of 8 out of 10. Should you see it at 15 dollars or less, I recommend buying it on the spot.

Replayability:

I’ve ran 4 times through the campaign mode of the game. The races eventually become repetitive but the cars this game has are so godlike that it’s worth feeling the rush all over again. The game also has multiplayer online so you can also decide to take your competition there and see if you can best some of the other players in duels of skill. I give the game a Replayability score of 7 out of 10, despite my personal love for this game.

Sound:

The cars sound very, very mean, which I love in a racing game. When a racecar sounds like a toaster, it’s annoying. When a race car sounds like a wood-chipper with baby pumpkins being thrown into it a rate of 1000 baby pumpkin souls per second, my inner demon smiles and makes me want to drive it faster. Sounds get a score of 10 out of 10 for GRID!

Music:

The music is great especially the tracks from Queens of the Stone Age but an advantage/disadvantage is that there is no music at all while you are racing, for the most part. The only time that I really remember any music being played is during the last 4 minutes of the 24-minute Le Mans race to make you feel more tension. Because of the lack of music for the majority of the racing, but with the menu music sounding very pleasing the game gets a 5 out of 10 for Music. What’s there is great but it’s a minor detail in the game.

Graphics:

GRID is pure eye candy at its finest. Even one old hardware and DX9 the game is simple breath-taking. GRID deserves and gets a score of 10 out of 10 in the Graphics category.

Stability/Reliability:

The game rarely very has crashed for me and I’ve logged in over 60 hours of playing it. I would say it has locked up only 1-2 times while loading because my PC was by then overheating. The game has always launched, every time I’ve tried. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 9 out of 10.

Controls:

The game has pretty standard controls that basically need little to no adjustment, although you can pretty much remap all of it if need be. I played the game on keyboard and found really no problems controlling even the most dangerous, I mean fastest cars. Controls for this game deserve a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

The game runs for the most part glitch-less on even a 2-3 year old light-to-medium gaming PC. Compared to the bloated NFS games of late, GRID runs like a champ. The only problem I detected in the game is that the cheat detection system seems to create like a bug where the car will slow down stop for a fraction of a second and then the physics engine of the game will compensate and let you continue. Not that it makes you crash, but still kind of an unrealistic thing to experience. This however, rarely happens, but I’ve played this game for way too long. I give Performance a rating of 9 out of 10.

My history with this game:

I have been playing the Race Driver (TOCA Race Driver) games since they came out and I’ve always been impressed so how well done they are in the sense of making you feel like a real race driver and how they keep getting better after each version. Some of the TOCA Race Driver games got to a point where you HAD to do a race to keep going and it was basically impossible (ugh I remember one where you had to compete in the Ford GT90 that had like zero traction and the AI was godlike/had super sticky tires that used a different physics engine than what you had to deal with). Those days are gone. In GRID, you will actually see the computer making human driver mistakes, lose control of their car and wreck it. When GRID came out it’s basically all I played nonstop for a month, even after I had beat it. I come back to visit it once in a while as it’s one of my favorites in my game collection. Check out doing the super tight tracks in Japan with the prototype class race cars. It will leave a smile on your face. 😀

 

Trackmania

trackmania sunrise
typical in-game screenshot of Trackmania

Trackmania game series reviewed by Honorabili

 

One Sentence Review:

“The only racing game you’ll ever need… until part 2 comes out. =P”

 

Overall Score:

10 out of 10

 

Overview:

Trackmania is pretty much the most played racing game series in the history of PC gaming. Most people in the US don’t know it because it’s from French developer Nadeo. Also since it’s mainly a pure PC racing game (although a Nintendo DS version was released) most of the console crowd (where most people who play racing games are) never heard of it. Sure, people might play Need For Speed whichever is the newest at the time but after a month they will probably never play it again. With Trackmania, since the game has been around since 2003, and now in its 4th game “United” one can just not play it for a while and revisit it months/years later with tons of new content and the game never disappoints. There’s even the free version “Nations” which anybody can pick up. The game consists of racing online against over 5 million players across the world. There’s multiple ladders ranging from your state or country depending on where you are from. There are championships, some even with cash rewards. You get in game money which you can use to design your own tracks, buy tracks from other players/websites, buy new skins for your car, buy music for your tracks, new horns, new pictures, etc. It’s all in good fun and the game does not allow cheating in the form of ramming other people off the road as all cars drive through each other.

There’s different vehicles each with their own driving style and track styles. American muscle cars, 4×4 SUVs, and mini rally cars are the ones included in the original Trackmania game. Island super cars, Bay SUVs that are quick but can flip, and Coast drifting cars which require the most skill and drive like they have 4 flat tires are the ones included in the 2nd game Trackmania Sunrise. Stadium formula cars are the only ones available in the 3rd and free game Trackmania Nations. All car modes are available in Trackmania United.

All the expansions for the game are released for free and even the free players from Nations can play with people on United under the same ladder system.

The tracks in the game in general are something that puts Unreal Tournament to shame as you will see loops and jumps that will make your jaw drop. The speed of the game is usually on terms with other hardcore reflex racing games such as F-Zero and Wipeout.

Fun Factor:

This is one of the few games from a handful where I will forget to eat while playing it and then many hours later will finally get up and have a reality check. I sometimes keep myself from playing it if I have too many other games in my que because I know I will just forget about them if I start up with Trackmania again. Trackmania kind of became an online MMO racing game and in that sense it’s light-years ahead of other MMOs in the sense that you will not waste time looking for group or some other bullshit. You click to race and 2-3 seconds later after the track loads in 3 more seconds you’re in a race. No bullshit. Considering that I forget to eat while playing this game I would say that it’s an awful lot of fun, so I will give it a 10 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

Even trying to get a top time in practice for a track can be challenging. When you go online and you keep building up your rank, eventually you will get to the top leagues and have to face people that are really really good drivers. I play my racing games on keyboard, although people cry havoc since a wheel and pedals is much easier but I’ve still schooled people have that 200 dollars or more invested in controllers. Anybody stands a chance so long as you have the skill, so I’m quite fond of these games for that. The game will get as hard as you want it to so in this category, I give it the max also, 10 out of 10. Believe me, when you’re trying to beat a world record and somebody you live with or the phone rings and it costs you the world record, it will drive you NUTS!

Value:

You can buy the original game for $1-5 almost anywhere that will stock it. Sunrise is not as easy to find anymore but you can probably get it for $10. Nations is FREE so if you’re not playing it, you’re missing out completely. United can be bought from $20-40 depending on whether it’s on sale or not. The more games you link to your account the more in game money Nadeo gives you. Considering how inexpensive the games are and how it is just a permanent game to play, the value of the trackmania games is the best possible. I give value a 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

These games have unlimited content. New tracks get made every day since 2003. Clans rise and fall in the community for it. In the ashes of the fallen, we still have sometimes hundreds of tracks that created racing legends. Let’s just say that lately I’ve been playing Dirt 2 and I’ve been looking forward to beating it so that I can go back to playing Trackmania a game I have literally logged over 1000 hours for. Replayability gets a 10 out of 10.

Sound:

The only part that I can really bitch about is that the sound sometimes for some of the cars sound kind of generic. Some sound really badass like the super car or the rally car but the rest are just okay to me. Some sounds like the turbo boost section of the track are fun to hear the booming because you know you just hit nitro! I give the sound a 7 out of 10.

Music:

The music can get repetitive, although it’s all pretty funky. Since people make their own stuff, it’s interesting to see what “radio station” a clan might have playing that day. The multitasking alt-tab of the game is godlike so you can just lower the volume bar at the top right with the mouse and load up your favorite racing music like any Juno Reactor or Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird or Tom Petty – Runnin’ Down A Dream, for instance. I give the music a 7 out of 10 only because I’m sick of it.

Graphics:

All the trackmania games have always looked amazing. They make most other games look like shit and considering how fast the game runs and how efficient the netcode is, I’m always and have always been impressed by them. The first time I ran the game on an ATI 3870 it made me want to cry. Graphics gets a 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

The game has never crashed since we started playing them since 2003. An obvious score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:

Simple controls and great gameplay make a classic. Just the arrow keys and the reset buttons are all you really need other than 1-3 for camera controls. Good job! 10 out of 10.

Performance:

Considering the graphic nature of these games and the amazing physics behind them, and the godlike netcode, the performance is astounding. I will give it a 9 out of 10 because in super high settings the game will begin to lag but that’s to be expected.

My history with this game:

My friends and I have been playing Trackmania since it first came out in 2003. We had countless LAN parties where we would basically try to win but at the same time use the in game chat and type “COCK” and some other braindead shit to try to make the other players die. Since you can mod the looks of your car, horns, picture of your avatar, etc. my brother even went so far as to paint his cars pink, put a picture of a tranny, and put a clip of Ru Paul going “you betta work!!!”. That made the game extremely DIFFICULT to play considering he would sneak up on us racing and sound his “horn”. I can’t wait to play Trackmania 2 and I always recommend Trackmania games to any true lovers of speed and driving.