All that driving and I’m right back where I started?! Review

Roadsters Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 4 - 4

Publisher

  • Titus

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • N64

rating

All that driving and I’m right back where I started?!

There’s nothing I enjoy more than hopping into my $200,000 car and taking

it up to an icy mountain racetrack to put it through its paces. Fortunately

for me, since I’m doing this on the N64 and not in real life, slamming into

barricades, trees, rocky cliff faces and other cars isn’t going to cost me anything

more than a few seconds off my lap speed.

There’s a lot that can be done in a racing game to promote realism and make

it enjoyable. Roadsters tries to integrate interesting scenery, variable

weather conditions, lots of cars, and exotic locations with realistic physical

modeling to create a racing game that will keep you on your toes. It’s success,

however, is marginal.

The setup of Roadsters is fairly basic. You can play in one of 4 modes:

Roadsters Trophy, Multi-player, Quick Race, or Time Trail. The Trophy race is

your personal quest to earn enough money racing to become champion in three

different racing divisions. Money is used to buy and upgrade vehicles, as well

as to pay the registration for your next series of races. In order to advance

to a higher division, you have to win your current division and raise enough

money to both pay the higher entry fee for the new division and purchase a car

capable of competing at that level.

The physics model in Roadsters seems pretty accurate (although I’m pretty

sure some of the things I did should have made me roll my car, rather than just

spinning out). I have my doubts that the rules are applied equally to human

and computer controlled drivers, but that could just be sour grapes over the

number of times I got wasted.

The weather effects are not particularly realistic. Perhaps their most useful

feature is that your competitors will make pit stops to change tires to something

appropriate for the road conditions. Of course, I never bother to stop. The

manual says that this will interfere with your car’s performance, but I found

that getting half a lap ahead of my competitors more than makes up for it.

The graphics are both good and bad. The cars seem a little unrealistic, though the scenery is nice, with lots of variety and some interesting animations. Unfortunately, you’re generally too busy driving to give the backgrounds the attention they deserve (although I did spot the frozen Mastodon.) And if you’re going to have big balls of stone rolling over your head, animatronic dinosaurs springing out, or even big green parrots (or helicopters) flying at you, there ought to be some chance that they’re going to interfere with your driving. Maybe in the next version T. Rex will actually get to nibble on passing cars.

The music is okay, although the digitized voices are just an annoyance after the first race. How many times can you stand to hear yourself yell “I’ll get you for that!”?

The control system suffers from the typical console racing problems. Gamers

lacking a steering wheel setup (i.e. almost everyone) are forced to make do

with a standard controller. You won’t find analog acceleration or steering.

But most N64 gamers are used to this by now, so no big whoop.

Oddly, none of the cars, from the lowliest convertible to the most expensive performance vehicle, have a reverse gear. It’s quite common to stumble or be knocked into a position where your car is perpendicular to a wall. That’s pretty much the end of the race for you, lacking a way to back up, unless some other hapless soul happens to ram your car.

While certainly decent, Roadsters doesn’t really do anything new for

the genre. It attempts to combine realism with arcade flair, but the end result

is inconsistent. Console racing has been done better than this.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating4
Nice backgrounds
Decent gameplay
No reverse!
Inconsistent realism