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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Exakt Entertainment LLC

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2001

 

 

- Great idea

- Some official licenses obtained

- Quick learning curve

- Cool box art

 

 

- Outdated graphics

- No damage model

- Extremely unrealistic physics

- Not challenging

- Unexciting tracks

- Useless car tuning options

- No sense of speed

- Disappointing design studio

 

 

Review: Rally Fusion (XBox)

Review: Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (Playstation 2)

Review: Ridge Racer V (Playstation 2)

 

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Supercar Street Challenge

Score: 4.0 / 10

Please make the pain stop.  Why oh why must we have games like this on the market?  Why did they have rush the release of this game to coincide with the video release date of the Fast and the Furious?  I will forever be haunted by the sadness of these burning questions and the lost potential in what could have been a fantastic game.  

supercar-street-challenge-1.jpg (97355 bytes)         supercar-street-challenge-2.jpg (91079 bytes)

Many of the problems with the game can most likely be attributed to the product being rushed to market, most likely to have it close to the release date of the DVD of the Fast and the Furious.  The marketing ties between this game and the movie are obvious.  In the back of the instruction booklet is an ad for the DVD release date of the Fast and the Furious.  I own the DVD of the Fast and the Furious and listed in the myriad of extras on the disc are web links, one of them being a link to the download of a demo for this game.  As a side note, the cars in this game have very little to do with the appeal with the cars in the movie.  My advice to anyone who is interested in purchasing this game is to download the demo, and try it.  Hopefully, the pain in playing the demo will make you change your mind. 

Supercar Street Challenge (SSC) begins with a very promising look (on the box), and idea.  With nine officially licensed exotic cars, seven tracks based on the streets of famous international cities, and the ability to design the body of your own custom exotic car, you would think that making such an idea work would be fairly straightforward.  Having said that, if the game had stayed in production for about another year, I think that I could have easily awarded it an 8 out of 10.

 

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The most glaring sore spot of production has to be the graphics.  It is possible to select from high, medium, low, and lowest levels of detail as well as to cutomize the desired level of detail.  Even with the game set at 32 bit, 1024x768 resolution and with detail level set at high, cars still did not look natural, and detailed.  Buildings had a flat, cardboard feel to it, and shadows appeared blocky and unnatural.  Aside from being just 

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plain ugly, the graphics are actually able to hinder gameplay.  The lack of appropriate textures on the roads and barriers can make it confusing as to where the road is going and where shortcuts actually exist.  Although shortcuts are meant to be secrets to be discovered, I doubt that many gamers will appreciate hitting a road coloured barrier, thinking that it was a shortcut.  At low detail settings, the game looks like the original Test Drive.

First and foremost, SSC is an arcade racer.  By definition, an arcade racer will have unrealistic physics, but the complete lack thereof in any racing game is inexcusable.  Cars never spin out or slide, they cannot be flipped or rolled, and bouncing off of barriers or other cars produces very little slow down.  There is no damage model, so a car crashing head on into a barrier will produce a dead stop and a wimpy thud.  Arcade racers are meant to forgo realism to produce excitement, usually by enhancing things like crashes, and drift turns.  Without anything but the most basic physics model, SSC has reduced the racing experience to that of circling a track with no surprises. 

The tracks included are from the city streets of L.A., London, Monaco, Munich, Paris, Rome and Turin.  Apart from the scenic differences, the tracks are not different in any way which affects the style of driving you will have to do.  The shortcuts in the tracks are not too difficult to find, and are very short with some being more akin to alternate routes that really do not provide any advantage in the race.  With generally wide roads, and the ability to take turns at high speeds without sliding out, there is very little challenge in the tracks.  Overall, the terrain on which you drive will not provide you with the excitement that you will be looking for after being disappointed with the lackluster graphics. 

The aspect of speed is very important in a racing game, and most arcade racers go out of their way to create an overwhelming sense of speed.  In SSC, even though it is easy to make your car go well over 100 mph, it still feels as if you are going 30.  This can be partially attributed to the inappropriate spacing of markers, such as street lamps and lane lines.  It is also likely in some way related to the poor graphics and the plain, flat feel of the surroundings.

The game types are fairly simple, with Championship career racing mode, Time Attack, Head to Head, and Quick Race available.  The championship mode is where the main racing takes place and is where new cars, tracks, and design studio parts can be unlocked.

The design aspect of the game is probably where the greatest appeal lies for most racing fans.  In it, gamers are allowed to design the chassis of their own dream car.  Ultimately, this aspect of the game also disappoints.  Design of the chassis is split into front and rear.  Gamers, begin with a limited number of parts to choose from with more being available after championships are won.  After choosing a part, gamers can choose what percentage of influence that part will have on the final look of their car.  Players can also choose the type of headlights, mirrors, spoilers, and wheels their car will sport.  None of these design decisions will affect the performance of the vehicle.   

supercar-street-challenge-3.jpg (90179 bytes)         supercar-street-challenge-4.jpg (91790 bytes)

The primary disappointment in this part of the game is due to the graphics.  With jagged edges all over the car, poor lighting effects and little detail in the fine points of the accessories, designing your car for its looks is almost completely countered by the poor graphics.  The inability to view your creation in a showroom type format also greatly detracts from the potential enjoyment that this aspect of the game could have provided.  Where graphics are usually only of secondary importance to gameplay, here, graphics are of the utmost importance, and would have made this fun.  Also, separating the car into more parts in designing the chassis would have allowed for a greater level of customization, and ultimately, fun.

Players can affect the performance of their newly designed car through the application of points (also won in the championship game mode) into the braking, handling, acceleration, and top speed of their creation.  The effect that the distribution of these points has on the performance of your car is hard to notice, with the general rule being that more speed is better.

If after watching the Fast and the Furious you want a game that really conveys a sense of speed, allows customizations that affect the performance and look of your car, and is fun, get Tokyo Highway Challenge 2 for the Dreamcast.  You should be able to get a copy and a DC, if you donít have one, for not too much more than the price of this game.  With gameplay that feels slow, poor graphics, unexciting tracks, and a design studio that lacks depth, SSC will not quench your thirst for speed and customization.

- Mark Leung

 

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