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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Microsoft

 

Developer

Curly Monsters, Inc.

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q3 2002

 

 

- Just like Wipeout
- Great graphics, particularly particle effects and super-realistic splashed water and rain on windshield
- Well-mapped control scheme

 

 

- Just like Wipeout
- Mediocre soundtrack
- Story mode behind drivers not well developed

 

 

Review: Project Gotham Racing (XBox)

Review: Crazy Taxi 3: Highroller (XBox)

 

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Quantum Redshift

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

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The very second the new Xbox title Quantum Redshift begins, you will instantly be reminded of the futuristic racer Wipeout series that appeared most prominently on the PlayStation consoles. There’s a mighty good reason too. Many of the team members on Quantum Redshift’s development staff helped create games in the Wipeout series. With that developmental lineage, you would think that their newest project would be just as good as what has appeared in the Wipeout series. But while it certainly is an overall solid finished project, Quantum Redshift just doesn’t quite seem to reach the “A” list title echelon it may have attained if some aspects of the game had been more polished.

Right off, the single most impressive feature of Quantum Redshift is its absolutely gorgeous graphics. This is one of the Xbox’s best looking games to date, and that’s saying a lot. The weather effects really stand out, especially water from either rain or that has been splashed or sprayed on your SPARC’s (Single Person Armed

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Racing Craft) windshield are ultra-realistic. It sets the standard from here on out for games that need to incorporate water effects.

Quantum Redshift’s levels, SPARCs, and character models are also beautifully crafted, with vibrancy galore gracing your television set. The character models are almost on par with the heavenly creatures appearing in Dead of Alive 3. Also

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really top-notched are the particle effects from the SPARC’s weapons fire and engines.

When it comes to the game’s controls, Quantum Redshift gives the gamer a nice and responsive scheme to roar through races. Although each SPARC controls differently because of their individual construction, they are all relatively easy to control. Not only does your craft have driving controls, but also weaponry, a shield and turbo at your disposal. These are all mapped out effectively on your Xbox controller, making Quantum Redshift easy to learn to play.

There are various power-ups throughout the tracks that upgrade your weapons, shield and give you points that build your score, which gives you more money to upgrade your SPARC. You must finish in first place in each race to advance, but there isn’t much challenge in accomplishing that feat once you get a few races under your belt.

The game’s challenge increases as you advance into harder settings, but Quantum Redshift is better suited for multiplayer gaming, where up to four players can race each other throughout the game’s tracks. There are 16 tracks and 16 individual racers who race one of 16 unique SPARCs. Each SPARC has different weapons, but most are either rocket or laser types. As you progress through the game, more characters and tracks become available to race in either quick race or multiplayer mode.

But Quantum Redshift does have its blemishes. The game is set 100 years in the future, where you battle it out against other racers and their SPARCs through courses all over the earth in the quest for the world championship. Unfortunately, the story mode of the game is severely underdeveloped, almost as if it was an afterthought to include it in the game.

 

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All of the cut-scenes have two racers facing each other in the middle of a racetrack throwing comments and barbs at each other. After the first racer you select works their way through each of the levels (novice, amateur, expert, master, and Redshift), for any other racer you select you will skip through the worthless cut-scenes. Thankfully, the single-player story-less mode is overshadowed by Quantum Redshift’s excellent multiplayer mode and pushing challenge on the upper difficulty levels of the game.

Another suffering facet of Quantum Redshift is its terribly insufficient Snoozeville soundtrack. Where the Wipeout series is known for the great music that elevated the gameplay to a new level, Quantum Redshift has a so-five-years-ago techno-beat sound provided by Junkie XL, supposedly a big European techno group. The music rarely ever matches the frantic action happening on the course, which is a big disappointment. But Quantum Redshift fortunately allows you to take advantage of the Xbox’s soundtrack feature, so you can rip a much better soundtrack to use while playing than what’s given to you.

It never really feels like you're going exceptionally fast as you race from track to track (you're capable of up to 900 mph speeds), but there are vertigo moments where the combination of speed and flying up or down large distances does give the gamer a sensation of velocity. On the plus side, the frame-rate seems to be flying at a smooth 60 fps as there isn’t any noticeable stuttering, clipping or pop-up of visual elements. Considering the game has a good frame-rate, its load times are a little longer than would be expected. But the loading screen has a hint system to peruse, so as you brush up on ways to race a better Quantum Redshift race, the load time doesn’t drag by quite as much.

While Quantum Redshift plays it safe by copying the basics laid out by the Wipeout series, the coma-inducing soundtrack and ill-advised (or at least weakly developed) story mode hold it back from being a great game. Still, it has enough redeeming qualities, particularly if you will be getting a lot of mileage out of the multiplayer fun packed into the game, that I would recommend the title to Xbox gamers who want a racer that resembles Wipeout’s gameplay style. But if you are looking at Quantum Redshift solely as a single-player excursion, you may want to rent it first before deciding to buy.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

 

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