Monday, 30 July 2007

More racing goodness

By now you should all know that I have two passions when it comes to the Saturn. The first is obvious, Japanese imports, since every Saturn fan knows that there are so many awesome games those selfish bastards kept for their own. The other is racing games. Due to the immediate nature of those games, where you just put the cd in the console and in a matter of seconds you're already burning tires in the highway, they're perfect for a busy gamer like me. Recently I acquired two new racing games, and after playing them for some time, here is my opinion of them.

The first is Street Racer, an Europe/Japan exclusive (sorry caleb). Needless to say me version is the european one, since I only have Japanese games that are exclusives. Don't be fooled by the name, though. I now what you're thinking, "street racer", where there tuning games for the Saturn, where you compete in street races to earn cash and "pimp your ride"? No, and this game definitely has nothing to do with that.

This is in fact a rip-off of Mario Kart, so expect cartoon-like characters riding little cars in wacky tracks covered with powerups. This games isn't anywhere near the greatness of Mario Kart (or Crash Team Racing, my other favourite), though, for the controls are complicated, the powerups are shit and the CPU drivers race like Airton Senna. In multiplayer the game is better, of course, and the graphics have same charm to them, but overall this is a game to avoid, considering the many great racers the Saturn has.

My other game is much better, and even combines my two passions for this is a Japan-only release and, obviously, a racing game. I'm talking about Drift King '97. Doesn't sound familiar? Well, let's put it this way, know the Tokyo Highway Challenge games for the Dreamcast? This game is part of that series, so you can expect similar races against a rival in some busy Tokyo highways.

I haven't played much yet, maybe because I suck at it and wasn't able to win a single race, but fortunately for me, even if I lose I still earn money. This money is then spent in upgrades for the various components of the car, like engine, exhaust, brakes, etc... This is where the Japanese origins of this game kick in, because the names of the various parts are all in japanese and I can't understand shit. Fortunately the menus and stuff are all in English.

The handling of the cars is pretty good, but more realistic than a sega rally or daytona, so don't expect the car to turn so easily. As the name implies, drifting plays a big role, to the point where there is even a button just for it! Of course you can still try to do it manually, but it's just more practical to simply press the button. It doesn't do all by itself, though, so if you're not careful your car will be out of control in no time.

Graphically this game is just great, simple as that. You see a lot more pop-up than in other games, but this is due to the tracks being based on highways, allowing you to see the buildings surrounding it, unlike most games with "tunnel" tracks, with barriers along the road that prevent you from seeing much, thus saving the graphics processor.

Being as it is you can expect lots of buildings, including some pretty interesting ones, like the Tokyo Tower, for example. The traffic is also well done, with "neutral" cars being numerous and nicely modelled. There's also a retro flavour to this title, with the time passing by as you race (from afternoon to sunset and then night) just like in OutRun, Hang-On and other old SEGA racing games. On top of that there is also a great attention to detail, like the speedometer lighting up whenever you enter a tunnel.

Definitely a must have for any import/racing fan.


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fatherkrishna said...

What the hell was that all about? (The comment I mean...)

Very interesting stuff! I have mentioned Street Racer before, and was going to play it and post a proper review, but then I forgot about it... I liked it though! I felt it looked like a quality game in the Mario Kart genre... And its one of those Saturn games that utilises the multi-player facilities... I think up to eight players can play at one time!

I LOVE the sound of Drift King 97!

Oh and BTW I found some Princess Crown video on Youtube, but unforunately it was crap... :(

NebachadnezzaR said...

Hmm...I haven't really tried Street Racer in multiplayer and my standards are pretty high due to being used to mario kart and the excellent crash team racing.

Play it hard and tell us what you think of it! ;)

Nights said...

I have the Street Racer it's pretty cool. But the images are a little different of my version (it's the pal version). And the hard difficult it's not that hard (for me, yeah I've played a lot).