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Playstation 2






Electronic Arts



Electronic Arts



E (Everyone)



Q4 2002



- Great Level Design

- Beautiful Graphics

- Challenging AI



- Feels a bit like a Frankensteinís monster, pieced together from the best bits of other racers.

- Some tracks feature way too much real estate to slide off into on the edges of the course.

- Control a bit slippery



Review: Rally Fusion (Playstation 2)

Review: Rally Fusion (XBox)

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



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Score: 8.4 / 10


EA Sports has given rally racing the Big treatment and the result, Shox, looks and plays a lot like one would suppose.  Iím tempted to say that it is Rallisport Challenge crossed with SSX: Tricky, but that description would leave out about a half-dozen game whose influence Shox wears right on its sleeve.  Normally Iím a sucker for originality, but Shox shines by mixing some of the best elements of famous arcade-style racers into one fast, attractive package.  


shox-2.jpg (38214 bytes)          shox-3.jpg (26410 bytes)


Despite it not being a rally game, the older title that kept coming to my mind while playing Shox was Speed Devils for the Dreamcast.  These flashbacks were triggered mostly by Shoxís exciting Shox Zones feature.  These zones are areas of the race track where the player's time between two points is measured.  Completing the section at a certain speed earns the player a Gold rating, slightly slower Silver, and so on.  This feels nearly identical to the speed zones on Speed Devils that had the player trying to bust police radar at a certain speed when leaving a zone.  It was fun in Speed Devils and it is fun here.  As an added bonus in Shox, players earn a Shoxwave for rating Gold in successive zones.  This causes a cool shockwave to rave around the course.  As long as the player can stay in the area of the shockwave, he or she earns bonus prize money.  More importantly, it looks incredibly cool.


Also like in Speed Devils, players can make wagers in an attempt to win cars.  Unfortunately, unlike Speed Devils, there arenít any cool AI personalities to wager with.  It is simply man vs. machine.  More and more cars are made available to wager for as players finish first in different sets of races.  These races range from easy to near impossible and their presence accounts for a good deal of the gameís replay value.





- Playstation 2 Game Reviews

- Racing Game Reviews

- Reviews of Games Developed/Published by Electronic Arts

Shox is a marvel to look at.  It is perhaps the best looking racing game on the system.  Sure, GT3 has more realistic backgrounds and more polygon rich car models, but Shox makes up for those with cool, real-time damage, the stunning Shoxwave, great lighting and particle effects, and amazing track variety.  All that and the frame rate never seems to let up, no matter what is going on on the screen.


Shox features a pretty generic set of game modes from the first boot up:  Single Player Mode 


and Multi-player Mode.  The single player mode consists entirely of racing for championships (though, as said before, head-to-head races to win cars also happen in this mode).  The multi-player mode allows up to four players to go at it either in a straight forward race or in Mayhem mode.  Mayhem mode is basically like the modes in FPSís where players try to hold on to an object for the longest amount of time (here it is first player to possess the flag for a total of one minute.


shox-4.jpg (21590 bytes)         shox-5.jpg (22812 bytes)


Regardless of what mode players choose, they will find the gameís controls noticeably looser than even your normal rally racer.  Power sliding is the name of the game here, and mastering the power slide is a must before players can hope to win any but the easiest races on the most boring courses.  The only complaint I had about the controls actually has more to do with the track design.  Some of the levels feature an acre of real estate on the side of the roads, making power sliding through the looping curves a true headache.  If a player misses the curve and slides into one of the large gravel or sand areas, most hope of winning the race is lost.  The car simply goes too far off the track to get it back on in time to win the race.   This was fine in GT3, where the controls were so precise that going off the course wildly was a rarity.  With Shoxís ultra-loose controls, it happens far too often.


Still, this complaint aside, Shox is arcade-style racing at its best.  It contains lots of colorful and detailed levels with a variety of track designs.  It also features solid, challenging A.I. with rubberbanding that seems realistic instead of artificial. Most importantly, Shox offers an exhilarating sense of speed which, in the end, is what draws many of us to racing games in the first place.  Go get this one now.


- Tolen Dante

(January 27, 2003)

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