|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Playstos Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SouthPeak Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 19, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Iridium Runners is a very unique title. I never thought I'd see the day where I would encounter a racing game that had absolutely nothing to do with vehicle based gameplay. Not since Track and Field, anyway. But surprise aside, Iridium Runners is actually a pretty good title. Despite being firmly planted in the budget category (MSRP is 14.99), it has solid gameplay and is a great low-cost multiplayer game.
The year is 2050, and the world is thrown into chaos. Not because of some cruel and vicious dictator, and not because of some post-war dystopian society. No, the world has been thrown into disorder because of the disappearance of competitive team sports. I know what you're thinking: A world without football or basketball? I know; it's crazy. Replacing these team sports is an individualistic corporate-sponsored footrace. This footrace is not just your ordinary track race, however. Participants harness the power of iridium crystals to reach ultra-high speeds. And to put a little extra pressure on your competition, you will also be equipped with special weaponry to help take them out. But your competition isn't the only thing under pressure. You, as a representative of your corporate sponsor, are also under immense pressure to achieve glory for your company. No one knows what happens to iridium runners who disappoint their corporate sponsors, but my guess is that it isn't very good.
There are a total of twenty runners in the game, each with their own stats. Characters have different levels of speed, acceleration, and stamina, and these stats create a little bit of strategy when playing the game. For instance, if you are playing a track with lots of twists and turns and you are prone to taking bumps, then you may want to select a character with a lot of stamina. However, if you are the master of the race line and hug curves with no problem, then you might want to choose a character with higher acceleration stats. In addition to the twenty characters you can choose from, you can also choose from several mini robots that will pick up bonuses and weapons to aid you during the race. These bots also have different stats which help determine the types of weapons and bonuses they can pick up during races. This can also factor into your strategy because if you have a need for speed then you'll want a bot with a high bonus stat, because these are most likely to pick up speed power-ups. But if you have a penchant for running into things, then you may want to grab the bot with a preference for picking up shield items.
Gameplay mechanics are quite solid in this title, which is surprising considering its budget price. You run around using the X button and use weapons via the R1. Weapons and power-ups are obtained by running over little yellow boxes that resemble the good ol' Mario Kart question box. The power-up selector is random, but your little bonus bot may have a certain persuasion towards one type of weapon or power-up depending on its stats. In addition to using your bonus-hungry robot to attack others, you can also utilize your elbows and knock people down who are on either side of you by utilizing the L2 and R2 buttons.