Speed Racer (2008)

Video Game   |  Action, Adventure


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26 April 2011 | TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews
| About what you could hope
Licensed games tend to suck, and are certainly hardly ever great. This one fits the latter, not really the former. They're rushed, they're forced to follow whatever they are an adaptation of(especially when that's a movie), they're glitchy and they are occasionally downright incomplete(not the case here). With this one, this portion of the film was essentially already a video-game, only you weren't given a joystick. All they had to do was program and draw what was already there. And it seems like that's what they did. There may be new designs in this, but I certainly don't recall anyone in the motion picture not also in this, and yes, the leads do have the same voices(including Lost's Jack Shepard, and the hot Christina Ricci). I think the same is true of the tracks(please don't ask me if they're from the cartoon, I barely know of its existence), all 5(two laps to each, if length varies) of them(well, they made a couple of versions of each, at least), with a Las Vegas style one, one that takes you by and into(!) a volcano, one that's like being in a pinball machine and an island one. All of them are colorful, with tight corners and several have insane loops(you *will* drive upside down, repeatedly, in this, gravity gets broken like nobody's business, so during that, don't take your foot off the pedal, you'll fall off!). There are about a dozen and a half characters(most have to be unlocked, along with cheat codes(purely basic, "playing around with the code" stuff, they can be amusing enough) and a short compilation of concept art), each with their own car(and you can't make changes to it) with different stats(the usual, handling, strength, etc.). They'll taunt you(and yes, the tone is somewhat childish to all of this) every time you pass them or vice versa, and this can be kind of annoying(you can choose not to have the headshot and subtitles appear... thankfully, as it covers important things). The menus are kind of lazily(very cut and paste) and minimalistically done, and there are essentially no rule settings, you can choose arena and AI amount/difficulty from four levels. Why not something about any vehicle that explodes being out of the match, instead of it merely being delayed a bit? Yes, your mode of transportation has health in this, and if it runs out, "boom". You can take damage from running into the obstacles(only one type) on the track(there are also these things that let you briefly accelerate, keep an eye out, they can really make a difference), and from the Car-Fu. Yes, you can fight each other, and this goes into slow-mo whenever you hit with one of them(that's as far as they could go in doing the stylish thing, the cinematography is standard in this, of course). Land on or bump into the others, and try to get them out of control, by jumping, doing somersaults, tossing yourself sideways into them, launching yourself ahead, and spinning. That actually also grants you points, so if you think you aren't doing as well as you should(from where you place), try doing that more. Not only do you hold the Wii-Mote sideways like a steering wheel, you jut it up or to one of the sides(sometimes combined with the arrow pad) to pull off the aforementioned maneuvers, so it's incredibly immersive(you really feel like you're the one doing these things) and easy to get into to boot(yet allowing for a pretty reasonable range of moves). Heck, this does a great job of training you with the tutorial that is quickly gone through, and if you happen to forget, you can always go back and practice there. You may find yourself pointing in the completely wrong direction in this, and righting yourself is one of the biggest problems. Sliding allows you to proceed ahead when in that position, and that is easy to get into and out of, but it doesn't help in that situation. The T-180 that you chauffeur can do this at any time, and no, you won't necessarily stop instantly if facing the wrong direction, still, it can be an issue. They had to address this(it's in the Wachowski flick, and presumably the old series), and with their limited time, they did an OK job of it(mostly, this auto-corrects over a realistic period of time). Since you seldom go off the edge(yes, instead, you'll grind, something that can give you an advantage, not to mention save you if you're almost going over... don't linger, however, you'll do better for avoiding it) , maybe this needs a self-destruct button. As you move around in this, you'll gain Speed Boosts gradually, a meter will fill to allow 4 stages of it, the last one named The Zone, giving a psychedelic color shift and making you basically impossible to impact. You can choose to sacrifice some of this energy for repairs, you even get a second or so to do this right before you go kablooey. In this, you can go from 20th at the beginning of a lap to 1st at the end of it, and vice versa, it's always tense. Please forget the words "insurmountable lead". You go at 4-800 Km/h in this, and you can really tell. Game-play is fun and relatively addictive, if you won't stick with this that long after you start(there's not enough to do), so you may want to go for a rental. This allows split-screen MP, 2 players at the most at any given time, and can play almost the same stuff as in SP, including one of the 18+ championships(all of 2-5 races per), and if just one of you finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd, you'll win. Time Trial and a single one is of course also possible. Graphics are fine, and not a strain on the eyes in spite of what you might think. HUD is decent, a map would be ace. I recommend this to fans of the genre. 7/10

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Action | Adventure


Release Date:

6 May 2008

Country of Origin


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