TOKYO XTREME RACER ADVANCE

Tokyo Xtreme Racer Advance is not that much different in concept from other "outlaw" racing games based on bigger, better and badder console versions. It's in the execution that it differs. Everything comes together to create a game that looks like it was made specifically for the GBA. This may not be the definitive version of the genre but it's the best one so far.

You know the drill. Race against other skilled opponents and win money to purchase new cars and upgrades. Races take place in three major cites: London, L.A. and Tokyo. The city highways and byways can be filled with traffic so you have to be careful not to cause any collisions as you will lose time and positioning. There are hundreds of drivers to challenge and lots of tracks, cars and upgrades to unlock.

TXRA is also loaded with modes. Take part in time trials, quick race, free run and quest. With so many features it's hard to imagine that this version is actually scaled down from the console title. The quest mode is the main mode where you challenge, and are challenged, by other drivers. The other modes are good practice for the quest mode where you will spend most of your time.

The vehicles control very well. They have some weight to them and respond nicely around corners. However, this isn't always the case, especially when you're starting out, but as you earn more performance enhancing upgrades and all-round better vehicles, things do get a little easier to handle. The courses will get progressively more difficult so even when you have a tricked out vehicle on hand you'll still have plenty of pure racing challenge ahead of you.

We all know not to get our hopes up when it comes to 3D graphics on the GBA. TXRA hasn't solved that problem but it's one of the best faux 3D attempts so far. Sure the draw distance isn't all that great but you get a few seconds to react to things such as sharp turns, walls, trees and ambient traffic. It makes for an exciting game. At least nothing pops out at you unfairly. The only problem I have with the game is that if you let your opponent get too far ahead of you, that is, out of your sight, it's almost impossible to catch them. This isn't much of a concern at the beginning of the game because you have a lot of straightways but when the traffic gets congested and you have a lot of curves to negotiate, forget it.

Sound effect such as tire squealing and accidents are good. The techno music would also be good if it were sampled properly. It sounds distorted and heavily compressed. At least you can turn it off.

Not that I want to end off on a bad note but TXRA would have been that much better if it included a two-player mode. As it is, the AI puts on a good show but it doesn't react quite the same when you get right in its face when it loses.

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System: GBA
Dev: David A Palmer
Pub: Crave
Release: April 2005
Players: 1
Review by Fenix
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.5