Whatever happened to 'satisfaction guaranteed'?
Buying a car is always an interesting experience. Even the most awesome looking car can turn into a piece of crap before you get it into your garage. Case in point: Just the other day I went to a local car dealer to look at a '95 Mazda RX-7 with a friend of mine. It was silver, shiny as all hell and screaming to be bought. But after a little inspection, we found some body creases where it had been previously smashed and a mysterious screwdriver jammed into the underside of the car. Naturally the dealer denied any knowledge of prior damage and insisted that his mechanics certified it to be in exquisite condition. Hooey, I say.
Funny how the very next day a copy of Supercar Street Challenge shows up on my desk. On the outside, I see a picture of a hot Saleen S7 calling out to all racing fans. But on the inside, all I find is another blue frisbee to add to my collection.
Before I see just how far this game flies out the window, I think it's only fair to mention the game's one good quality. If you like trance, Supercar has one of the best soundtracks around. Top artists like Captain Tinrib, DJ Micro and Keoki are included along with a host of other great Moonshine Records performers. But unless you believe in PLUR, it'll just sound like the same old techno-spiel.
And for those of you that don't like trance, you get, well, nothing but a 4 " inch Frisbee and some birdcage liner. I pity the fool that didn't come to Game Revolution before buying this game.
"Design it-Build it-Race it" - that's the motto of this game, or at least it says so on the front of the box. The highly publicized customization of Supercar turns out to be a major lemon. At first, it was kind of neat. You get a base car with all kinds of front and rear ends, all the colors of the rainbow and a collection of accessories including mirrors, wheels, and wings. The selection isn't too bad, but Tokyo Xtreme it ain't.
What caught my attention before actually playing the game was a feature that supposedly allowed players to shape the car any way they wanted. I envisioned rounded corners, more aerodynamic lines, and a sporty edge. What I got was some Silly Putty that could only be stretched or squashed.
Making things even worse are the "minimum requirements" for many of the parts. Even though you may have unlocked a particular front or back end, it may only show up on your car if it is a particular length, which defeats the purpose. These length requirements even screw with the wings. After squashing the back end to the max, I went to add a wing and found it floating in mid air behind the back end! I'm sure that trick would win me some kind of award at Hot Import Nights, but as it stands, it further proves the lameness of this game.
A mere two modes are available at the beginning of the game - Design Series and Manufacturer's Cup. In the Design series, you'll use your custom car and race it against a handful of other concept cars from around the world. Championship mode just has you straight up racing. There's also the standard Quick Race, Time Attack, and Head to Head modes, but seeing how terrible the game is, they really don't count.
Going through the manual, you'll notice that there are only nine kinds of cars to choose from and though this is extremely disappointing, it manages to get worse. You see, you must race with certain cars in each championship. While this was fine in Gran Turismo's training modes, it's absolutely ridiculous to do it in the main gameplay mode. So all of a sudden, we go from a selection of nine to a selection of one. All of you people who complained about Gran Turismo 3's number of cars should be ashamed of yourselves.
Has anyone noticed that I haven't even gotten into the actual gameplay yet? Well, here's where this out of control ride finally explodes against the wall in a fiery blaze. Control is largely arcade-oriented, which is fine, but the lame physics make it hard to appreciate it. The best strategy is to always hold down the accelerator and make sure to bounce off the walls at an angle since you'll keep your speed every time.
Supercar lets you race through several major cities, including Los Angeles, London, and Monaco. However, all look extremely bland with no hint of life anywhere. The back of the box says "interactive courses," but all this means is that you can plow through lampposts (without slowing, of course). The framerate varies from blazing to slow and pops up when you least expect it. One minute, you're flying past the Staples Center and the next an invisible wind shear grabs hold of your car and won't let go.
The graphics look decent enough during the dayrunning events with the obligatory overly reflective player car, but the textures...wait, there are no textures. Everything is just flat and lifeless.
The big kick in the eyes come with the laughable rain. Besides degrading the graphics to a PSX level, the rain only seems to fall in certain spots, like right over your car. It's as if there's a guy in a helicopter spraying water from above with a hose.
I know there is a good idea in here somewhere, but I sure couldn't find it in all the mess. Supercar Street Challenge is simply a bad game that has no wheels to stand on against the likes of Gran Turismo 3, Tokyo Xtreme, or even the ho-hum Driving Emotion Type S. Sure, it's playable, but just barely. It's time for this Supercar to retire to the junkyard.