Sit down, shut up and hold on...
Anybody ever heard of a company called Tyco? If you've ever owned a RC (remote controlled) car, chances are that you have. Tyco just happens to be one of the leading manufacturers of recreational RC cars in the US. Ah yes, fond memories of racing my Turbo Panther resurface... oooohh... RC racing... ya gotta love it. Cool cars and the ability to go anywhere and everywhere.
This is exactly what Acclaim brings to the Dreamcast table with its RC racer, Re-Volt. You might be thinking, "Great. Yet another racer for the Dreamcast. Whoop-dee-freekin-doo." Well, guess what... this ain't your ordinary racer.
Re-Volt takes your standard racer and injects it with a healthy dose of whoop ass. In ordinary racing games, speed is the only key to victory. Fortunately in Re-Volt, you get to send a firecracker up the leader's... uh, tailpipe and send him packing. The weapons and special items are pretty cool and really contribute to the fun of the game. I especially enjoyed the electro-pulse, which fries any car that dares come close to you. I wish I could get one for my real car.
Of course, speed is still a vital part of the game and if it's speed you want, it's speed you'll get. Re-Volt moves along at breakneck speed; that is, if you can master the control system. The controls are very true to life. For those unfortunates who haven't ever raced real RC cars, that means a sensitive control package. On the plus side, cornering is generally a lot easier than in your standard racing game. On the minus side, the touchy controls can cause you to slam into the curb you were trying to avoid. Learn fast and learn well, young one, for the AI gives no mercy.
One of the game's biggest drawbacks is the fact that slow learners will be at this title forever. Of course, the best cars have to be unlocked. How do we unlock the best cars, boys and girls? We win races! The problem is, your slower car doesn't have a prayer against the faster AI controlled cars unless you have some serious moves up your sleeve. There definitely will be more than one occasion where you'll just want to beat your head against the wall.
The graphics in Re-Volt are overall very good. The game moves along smoothly, with only the occasional slowdown. There are plenty of flashy lighting effects and fancy explosions to please your inner teenager. The many cars and backgrounds are well designed and clean cut.
The tracks are also constructed very well and provide a sense of freedom that you don't find in many racing titles. You'll race on an assortment of tracks taken from everyday life, ranging from the Supermarket to a Museum. Creativity abounds with plenty of real world objects to interact with, like a basketball, a cash register, and even normal-sized cars.
The soundtrack is also surprisingly good. Trance and house tracks make up the core of the music and fit well with the game's fast pace.
If the game's single race mode is not enough for you, have no fear - Acclaim has stocked Re-Volt with many other options for RC fun. Time Trial mode basically pits you against the clock, giving you more tracks and more cars for successful performances. Then there's Championship mode, which puts you in a series of several races trying to accumulate the most points. Again, new tracks and new cars are your incentive. Practice mode has you looking for hidden stars. Your reward? More cars, naturally.
The Stunt Arena mode is perhaps the coolest mode in the game. In this mode, you get to drive your car on a stunt track complete with a giant loop and half-pipe. The object is to perform various tricks in order to collect 20 stars. Catch 'em all and gain yet another mode (I'll let you find that one out on your own). Reminds me of my old backyard.
The multi-player works well, with no noticeable framerate loss. If you've got three other friends (and three more controllers), you'll have a blast.
Another cool aspect of Re-Volt is the track editor option. If you have the time, patience, and creativity to make your own complete track, this option will fill your needs.
Re-volt is definitely one of those games that racing fans need to pick up. Of course, its difficulty will have gamers with weak hearts running for the hills. But for those of you with the patience to learn, Re-Volt offers a thoroughly enjoyable experience.