Hey Doll, You Wanna… Drive My Car?
Youth was a time of wild abandon, of gauzy scenes rife with the simple pleasures
of life. It was a time in which little things, like controlling a speedy RC four-wheeler
by manipulating two little sticks mounted on a box, elicited the much sought after
“woah!” Even better was when you mastered the art of controlling your little automotive
avatar so well, that you could re-create all of you favorite scenes from “world’s
scariest automotive stunt failures,” replete with screaming… from your mother,
as the little bandit flew off your roof and killed many an innocent flower in
the garden she was tending so lovingly. Sounds nice huh? How would you like to
do that, whenever you want, without getting grounded for several years?
RC cars have
long been one of the symbols of youthful, exuberant, good old American male fun
(oh, and reading a Playboy under the covers with a flashlight after your parents
have gone to bed, can’t forget that one). Most of us, or at least the boys, raced
the little suckers with wild abandon as children, gleeful smiles upon our faces
as we rammed Old Lady Gladdis in the shins as she was feebly walking to her geriatric,
musty car. Surprisingly, even though RC Cars are an important right of passage
into the universal Car-Love that all of us, or at least the boys, madly possess…
no one to my knowledge has ever made a PC racing game in which you take control
of one of these little scaled-down wonders and raise some racin’ hell. Enter Re-Volt.
The premise of Re-Volt, is that you take control of some little RC
cars, race in places where you were never allowed to play with toys, and throw
in some nifty power-ups and weapons to help chaos theory guide the gaming goodness.
Take all that, throw in physics which make it feel as though you are actually
driving err… controlling one of these little cars, and you have one unique, quirky,
and instantly endearing arcade racer.
The most notable feature of Re-Volt, aside from its miniature scale,
are the top flight graphics. Quite simply, racing has never before looked this
good. Utilizing an engine which appears to be the direct descendant, spiritually
or silicon-genetically, of Acclaim’s Forsaken,
Re-volt is a sight to behold. Each car, although diminutive in size, is
afforded the same caliber of lush graphical virtue as seen in full-sized racers
such as Need For Speed: High Stakes or DethKarz.
Not to be out-done, the racing environments are nothing short of spectacular:
featuring fantastic lighting, expert texturing, and some very compelling and varied
designs that take you from neighborhood streets, to supermarkets, museums, botanical
gardens, the old west, and even the Titanic. To top it off, Re-Volt has some of
the coolest special effects in any game out there. Firing off a bottle rocket
and watching the fireworks (literally), or getting the speed-burst power-up and
ogling the pulsating electric orange glow coating your car… is extremely cool.
Supporting just about every resolution and color mode known to man, Re-Volt
has to be the prettiest racing game ever made.
Next to the graphics, the physics in Re-Volt deserve praise. From the start
of the first race, just by looking at the way the antenna bends and sways from
both acceleration and centrifugal force lets you know just how realistic this
game is. In fact, aside from the fact that when I owned RC cars they couldn’t
shoot bottle rockets
or lay down oil slicks, Re-Volt feels totally dead-on as far as controlling
the little suckers is concerned. The physics are so impressive that each one of
the 28 cars included in the game have totally unique handling characteristics,
which lends a great deal of variety to the game. To show off the great physics,
a stunt track, which can honestly be described as a simulation of RC backyard
antics, lets you fly through loops, catch air on ramps, hills, and even a cement
half pipe, all the while attempting to collect starts that are only attainable
through some very adept driving feats.
The realism is also, unfortunately, one of the games potential downfalls.
It makes this a difficult game to get a handle on, with a steep learning curve.
Despite the fact that it is served up in a purely arcade package that will likely
attract gamers who aren’t really interested in the applications of Newtonian Theory.
There is very little wrong with this game. In fact, it is not what is wrong,
but rather what simply is not there that holds Re-Volt just a little bit
back. Even with the great graphics, exemplary physics, fantastic sound, the included
track editor, and very cool tracks, this is still just a high caliber arcade racer
and nothing more. No attempt was made to include anything really new and cool,
like a mode in which you could race freely through a living area, avoiding old
ladies, trashing flower beds, and going under moving cars. Now that would have
been something of an epiphany.
Re-Volt may have tracks and cars that let you get more air and bounce
basketballs, but underneath it’s still just a fairly typical arcade racer. That
is not necessarily a bad thing, but it has been done before, just not quite like
this. Buy Re-Volt you’ll get an eminently playable, very enjoyable racing
game with a unique perspective and a style that might actually help you lay Barbie.
It might not be the proletarian uprising we’ve all been waiting for, but it sure
is worth your attention. Not to mention that it’s nice to know for sure that bigger
doesn’t always mean better.