GBA REVIEW: SMASHING DRIVE

Are you familiar with the word "relative?" I'm not talking about uncles with a predilection for accordions and woman's clothing, but a term used to for illustrating comparisons. The term "relative" is responsible for Smashing Drive being considered a bust on the next-gen consoles - and a smash on the GBA. If you examine that philosophy closely you will see that what it means is that games that are considered inferior on other systems can be presented on the GBA where they will be welcome with open arms. I don't really get it - but it's all relative.

Did you even notice that an average-looking girl suddenly appears stunning when she's in a group with three ugly fatties? That's another example of "relative." The Special Olympics is another example but since any further elaboration will slam the needle into the bad-taste zone, I'll assume you understand the concept.

Smashing Drive looked crappy on the Xbox. It was boxy, busy, void of detail and much to cartoonish for a 3D racing game. The GBA version is even worse looking but since we don't expect much out of the GBA it looks sensational. The 3D graphics are some of the best to date on the handheld.

Smashing Drive is a Crazy Taxi- inspired racing game where you have to get from point A to point B within a given time limit - while driving a taxi of course. The routes take you through the heart of an urban city which is peppered with traffic, ramps, secret shortcuts and various power-ups. Often you will have to progress through the levels using trial and error methods; keeping track of where the shortcuts and power-ups are so you can make the better use of them next time. All of the shortcuts, cities and power-ups that appear on the nest-gen console version have been included.

Perhaps the best power-up is the Turbo which gives your vehicle an insane boost of speed. Trying to steer your vehicle out of trouble on the little screen is a daunting task. The scenery moves by very quickly. Fortunately the game is very forgiving and even if you smash into traffic, building, trees and other obstacles, you won't take on much damage and you can get right back in the race against time. Other power-ups include a glider, cannon, buzz saw and damage repair which is essentially health for your taxi.

Smashing Drive won't take very long to complete once you find the shortcuts but there is a head-to-head mode as well as a survival mode that will give you some replay value. Having played the Xbox version I can tell you from experience that this game reeks of arcade. So much so that it won't hold your interest for any extended sitting.

The most impressive feature of Smashing Drive is the graphics, which ironically was the least impressive feature when it was released for the Xbox and the Cube. It's a busy, cartoon, racing game that is fun on the GBA - but not so on the next-gen consoles. This may sound like a paradoxical - but it's all relative.

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System: GBA
Dev: Raylight
Pub: DSI Games
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Shelby
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
3.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
2.5