a game with lots of horsepower, Tokyo Xtreme Racer
DRIFT is a one trick pony. by
8, 2006 - When
it comes to racing, horseracing can be a sure bet
but I think we can all agree there's nothing very
exciting about a pony race.
a one-trick pony game, that one-trick better be pretty
darn good if it's going to hold our interest for hours
on end. Unfortunately the focus placed on drifting
is marred by an unresponsive control system. Drifting
is undoubtedly an adrenaline rush in real life but
the developers have failed to translate that level
of excitement to this game.
is a relatively recent phenomenon that has gained
a lot of popularity in Japan. It involves what videogame
enthusiasts know as power-sliding. It's when you force
your vehicle to slide, or otherwise drift sideways,
into a turn until you are basically facing your intended
direction. Drifting can take place on city streets
where crowds of spectators gather or the more adventurous
will ply their skills on treacherous, winding mountain
roads. Drifting can be initiated by any of these four
elements or combinations thereof: Braking; accelerating,
hard turning, and downshifting. Expert drifters attempt
to make each drift last as long as possible, cover
the most distance and then make a smooth transition
into the next drift. The closer the curves are together
on a particular track the more drifts you can try
to link together.
seems to be lost in translation is the finesse of
the control system. A game like this requires precise
controls and excellent physics. The cars feel a little
on the light side and there is some delay with the
control commands which compromises their precision.
It's really difficult to develop a feel for the controls
since they are very inconsistent. One time you may
pull off a perfect drift and the next time, using
the same technique on a similar curve at the same
speed, you lose control and spin out. There is no
way to gauge the controls, going into a turn is almost
a random event. Vehicles can be upgraded and at first
I thought it was because I needed better tires, brakes
and a bigger engine to pull off consistent drifts.
After a few hours I finally got some serious upgrades
but the vehicle handled just as poorly.
the not-so-distant future, the beautifully scenic
but treacherous mountain roads of Japan have been
turned over to the drifters to practice their craft.
The government is behind this and now the races are
totally legal. But of course the government has to
go one step further and make the roads totally safe
for racing. We don't learn what they've done we only
see the results which is no damage to you or your
vehicle. I don't know if there is an invisible force
field that perimeters the track or if the scenery
is just made out of rubber. When you hit the side
of a guard rail or mountain face, the worst you can
expect is be slowed down a little before getting back
on the track.
the extra lengthy Conquest mode you attempt to shame
all of the competition by cruising parking lots at
night and challenging them to races. When you beat
all of the guys in one parking lot, you can move on
to another section of the city and do it all over
again. It's not even accurate to describe these as
races. The winner is the person that acquires the
most points, and the points are disbursed for drifting.
The longer and smoother the drift, the more points
you will be awarded. You can use the points for upgrades
and eventually to purchase new vehicles but everything
is expensive in this game. I guess that's to be expected
after the world learned of the six-dollar cup of coffee
in the Tokyo airport some 15-years hence.
will make themselves available from time to time to
temp you with money and upgrades for taking on various
challenges. The problem is that the challenges are
all based on drifting. Remember, the pony only knows
the Conquest mode, the days are open for you to test
your mettle against your high score. It's basically
an arcade-style practice mode. You don't compete against
anybody else. One tip I will give you is that in order
to beat the AI in an actual race, you don't want to
make any mistakes. Although hitting the side of a
wall and spinning out of control won't even damage
your vehicle, it will slow you down. The AI doesn't
make those mistakes often and will greedily grab the
lead when you let down your guard. Due to the unpredictable
nature of the control system, some accidents may be
unavoidable but it's best to initiate conservative
drifts to see how the car reacts. You can then apply
some extra acceleration and braking in an attempt
to extend your drift. It doesn't always work but it
will help keep you in the running.
addition to the Conquest mode there is a Career mode
and a Multi-player mode that features a split screen
for one extra player. It's a pretty decent mode if
you think you've really got the hang of the controls
because you'll be playing against another human that
is bound to be less perfect than the AI in the single-player
graphics, Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift falls firmly into
the you-can't-expect-much-for-a-budget-game category.
While the environments look decent, they are much
too repetitive. The vehicles are void of any streamlined,
futuristic vision. The further away you view them,
the better they look. When you get in close you can
see all the aliasing and big boxy polygons. The fact
that the cars don't display any damage instantly hurts
the game's credibility.
tunes are a good mix of rock and rocking blues with
some J-pop thrown in for balance. The sounds of the
vehicles are good but not what I would call in-your-face.
It's like your listening to the sound of the engine
with your windows rolled up. At least the screeching
of the tires matches up with the onscreen action.
Xtreme Racer DRIFT very similar to the Midnight Club
series but less dimensional. It's priced under twenty
bucks but I've seen it available on the net for less
than ten - and frankly it might not even be worth