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City Racer Package Art
 GENRE
  Racing
 DEVELOPER
  Ubi Soft
 PUBLISHER
  Ubi Soft
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1-4
 CONNECTIVITY
  no
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City Racer

There are several racers to choose from on your GameCube these days. The cream of the crop is definitely Burnout 2. However, UBI Soft has created an interesting arcade racer of its own in City Racer that is worth checking out if you’re a race fan.

The name of the game (City Racer) is fairly generic and its content tends to follow suit. However, City Racer is like that 1990 Honda Civic DX. Nothing flashy, but plenty reliable.

visuals

The cars in City Racer seem rather large on the screen. By that I mean that they seem to be a bit bulky and lacking in either polygons or “skin” effects like reflection mapping and what not. In relation to other racers, City Racer seems a tad basic. In addition, the game doesn’t have the blazing speed that F-Zero and Burnout 2 boast. I thought about it and I realized that if the development team sped up the game any further the pick ups that you get on the course would come into play way too quickly, which might serve to disorient the player. It appears the slower speed of the game might be deliberate to allow players to appreciate the variety of different attacks and pick-ups available, and incorporate them into their racing strategy. Think Mario Kart 64.

One thing I have to say: when your car gets airborne and starts twisting around like a convulsive AMC Gremlin, things look pretty ridiculous. That aside, the game keeps a solid frame rate, has a solid front-end menu system and has fairly detailed environments.

audio

I wasn’t taken aback by the soundtrack here. One thing that definitely could have been eliminated was the “cool” commentator that throws in his lines every once in a while. The game is fun without ninny boy adding in his two cents.

Overall though, you’ll hear all of the sound effects and soundtrack in the game in a way that intermingles with the other elements of the title.

gameplay

I have to say that I’m not the biggest fan of the “pick up” system in car games. Burnout 2 works because the only “pick up” is a nitro. Here you get the ability to restore your car’s integrity, create an invulnerable field around the car and then there’s a whole host of offensive weapons. At times, the weapons were fun. When I first picked up this title I thought of Paradigm’s Beetle Adventure Racing. Unfortunately, City Racer doesn’t deliver the same grandiose environments and fun power that BAR had. One thing that bothered me was that no matter how badly I wiped out, the pack of cars I was chasing was always around the next corner. That’s probably due to the difficulty level but I still found it like cheating. Also, I love cars so the line up here works for me, but I think that some of the less refined North American car enthusiasts may find the line up of Euro cars a bit too foreign. The line up of vehicles seemed a bit short as well.

I don’t think that the hand brake back-end power slides came across that well either in the control scheme. By that I mean that the cars (especially in the early going) didn’t want to fish out their tails as aggressively as they should. I think that exaggerating this in the control scheme (ala Ridge Racer) would’ve helped the game along a bit more.

The championships seemed like racing the same tracks over and over again rather than providing variations on the tracks or new tracks (although, I can race through a pseudo Montreal all day long!!).

Overall the control seems a bit clunky and while the game play gives you some strong moments of flavor, it leaves you with that distinct aftertaste of “average.”

multiplayer

Nothing like getting hammered and blasting your buddies Audi with tire nails is there?! In other words, multiplayer ROCKS!

overall

I found City Racer to be a solid racing title that effectively pulls off the “pick up” system. That’s saying a lot because many an Acclaim racer had pick ups that were completely lost on me and way too confusing. Whereas, in City Racer, the pick-ups are easy to understand and you aren’t scratching your head when your car spins out. I think UBI should be commended for delivering a solid system in this regard. City Racer is a decent effort that can still be improved both in terms of car and course line-ups, and the control scheme. However, I like that the game keeps you honest with a health meter for your car so you can’t go apeshit on everything. Give City Racer a rental and see if you’d like to add it to your shelf.

final score 6.0/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Eric Mattei
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"Lost like tears in rain"


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