Cars on the PSP for a nice, long spin. by
13, 2006 - Cars
for the PSP is a lot more involved than your average
kart racer. I sense that you're probably expecting
a kart racer and I can't blame you since so many movie-inspired
games are of such poor quality, from the presentation
to the lack of imagination, that it's almost acceptable.
Cars could have easily taken the generic kart racing
route and if it managed to add a few voiceovers and
some funny cutscenes it would probably still get a
passing grade. I'm proud to say the developers, Locomotive
Games and Rainbow Studios, have really gone out of
their way to give us something special. Forget the
movie, Cars the videogame is good enough to stand
on its own...four wheels.
for the PSP is more than just a simple racing game.
While it may not have the freedom of exploration that
the PS2 version has, it has a solid, arcade racing
engine that is easy to access and fun to play. There
is a surprising amount of depth to the controls and
the good part is that there isn't many buttons to
press or combinations to memorize. It's all about
timing and intuition. It has a very satisfying and
responsive feel to it that always manages to let you
maintain control of things. But probably the most
amazing aspect of this game is that it's even better
than the PS2 console version. I'm not suggesting that
this is the best game I've ever played but it's easily
one of the top movie-inspired games I've ever played
on a handheld.
McQueen and his other vehicular buddies are prepared
to defend their turf from a gang of bad cars by challenging
them to a series of races. The storyline doesn't closely
follow the plot of the movie, it just uses it for
points of reference. There are cutscenes that help
tell the tale and provide us with updates on the racing
front but the real focus of the game is on racing
and not on plot development or the characters. There
are more than two dozen races which can involve up
to four cars. Boss races involve only you and the
boss vehicle in a one-on-one, winner-take-all race.
As you win races, you gain money which you can use
to unlock various items and then move on to new tracks.
It's a tired concept to be sure, but it just plays
so well that it seems fresh when compared to other
are only a handful of control commands: acceleration;
braking, and steering. By applying the brake and oversteering,
you can cause the vehicle to powerslide around turns.
The controls are very tight and responsive. The various
tracks offer different obstacles and traps for you
to dodge. Fortunately you can turn on a dime and avoid
a lot of accidents, but since you can really wind
these cars up, the faster you go the harder they will
be to control, as far as reaction time is concerned.
Things can get moving so fast that if you don't have
a mental layout of the track in your head you'll be
at a serious disadvantage. You can't always rely on
the onscreen map because that will require taking
your eyes off of the track. Things can go wrong in
a split second so you want to be prepared for every
eventuality and get ready to get out of the way.
cars display a realistic sense of physics, at least
while you're controlling them. They have a good sense
of weight to them which makes the powersliding smooth.
It's such a great move that you'll want to use it
all the time. It's only during some of the crash animations
that things don't always look right. The cars flip,
bounce and roll as though they are made out of aluminum.
These animations are out of your hands and while they
don't affect the gameplay per se, they mar an otherwise
arrows are the power-ups in the game that give cars
the ability to increase their speed and power. By
running over these speed arrows, you can boost your
car's performance not only in terms of acceleration
but you can also launch it into the air by performing
jumps. You can really get some air on these jumps
but occasionally you'll be limited by how high can
go when you reach the invisible walls. You can also
store these speed arrow boosts for use later in the
race. It's a great option that gives you a little
bit of strategy.
confident that you'll be impressed with the graphics
in Cars. They are very strong, colorful and well defined.
Even at high speeds it's still relatively easy to
make out most of the details of the track even though
there is some motion blur. You will also notice that
some of the darker shades tend to blur and obscure
sections of the tracks. Otherwise these tracks are
very well designed and offer some interesting challenges
as well as some eye candy.
of the vehicles not only look good but have distinctive
personalities. Although the game features voiceovers
from the original cast members, there is not a lot
of original dialog. You'll hear many key phrases repeated
over and over. The sound effects are great but the
music could stand to have a little more teeth to it.
The tunes are definitely more Disney than Pixar. It
sounds like someone convinced Elton John to try to
rock again. Now that he's been contaminated by the
Celine Dion stigma, he will never be able to rock
racing gameplay is straightforward and although there
are unlockables, there isn't enough to increase the
replay value score. The wireless multi-player mode
will be the game's only salvation in terms of replay
value. It's definitely a good little mode but it requires
multiple copies of game. Certainly not worth purchasing
individual copies for, or even renting them for that
matter. But if you know a few buddies that already
have the game, you'd be missing out if you didn't
try the multi-player mode.
is definitely worth your time. Even if you didn't
like the console version, you should appreciate just
how refined the racing is in this version.
Story-based adventure that relives key moments of
rubber in over 30 races and mini-games
the open-world of Radiator Springs
to the finish line with over 10 playable characters
your friends eat your dust in multiplayer mode
all of the major voice talent from the movie