Speed Punks Review

By: John Doe

Hey what do you know, another Kart game! That's what I thought too until the game started and quickly proceeded to shut my big mouth. Crash Team Racing was phenomenal, but Speed Punks threatens to yank that title away from it as best Kart game on the PlayStation. Heck from what I've seen from this title it's gonna steal awards away from Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing! Sure there are a ton of Kart games and more on the way, but when a title is this good, there is definite room for it. As the saying goes, "There's room at the top, it's at the bottom where everything is crowded."


We already know that Speed Punks isn't going to win any innovation awards. What this game does excel at is speed, graphics, framerate and control and as already mentioned, even bests CTR! Who would have thought that possible? The same tried and true gameplay is here that originated with Mario Kart on the SNES: Floating item boxes, a healthy array of weapons that are executed from the front or back of your vehicle, characters with different control abilities etc. It's the Boost implementation that makes this game so much fun. Acting like Midway's Hydro Thunder, speed boost tokens (small and large) can be acquired and saved - to be used when absolutely necessary - making this game infinitely more exciting than previous Kart racers.

Graphically the game is one of the finest looking on the PlayStation, in fact I dare say it's better looking than Mario Kart and Diddy Kong for the N64. I am simply amazed at how many polygons, textures and animations are on the screen at once without even crippling the sense of speed. Games just don't look this good on the PlayStation; I am in awe of what FunCom has achieved here. The look of the characters are cool and fit in perfectly with the style and design of the game. The look may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's the gameplay that counts.

The level designs alone would be enough to sell this game. Simply put the environments are not only beautiful, but very well designed to produce that feeling of speed. The levels ran the gamut from beach areas to forests to caves and more, sometimes even changing within the same level! And there are more than enough tracks to keep you occupied and a challenging opponent AI to ensure you won't beat this game any time soon. At the start of the game 12 tracks are open with another 12 waiting in hiding. That's a total of 24 tracks! Not to mention the amount of unlockable racers, even though you start with 6 to choose from.

Musically the game is pretty nondescript, but does it really matter? The sound effects are decent enough and get the job done. What the heck does that mean? I'll tell you what it means. It means I've written too many reviews and I can't think straight anymore. After the zillionth review, what else can I say? How many different ways can I say that the music is okay, the sound effects are decent? How many different ways can I say anything anymore? I'm burned out people. Time for a break.

Getting down with 4 players is equally as entertaining. Even the graphics and framerate don't take that much of a beating. In fact, you'll probably find the game easier to play with friends, then against the CPU. That AI is tough, let me tell you.

If you are a Kart racing kind of person, then I'm happy to say that the PlayStation now has two of the very best. Beating Nintendo at it's own game (literally) is an amazing feat, but to pull it off on the PlayStation which doesn't have quite the horsepower that the N64 has, is worthy of some kind of award. Although Speed Punks may look too cutesy, don't ever judge a book by its cover, right? Pick this one up. Highly recommended!






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