What’s in a name? Review

Project Gotham Racing Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 4

Publisher

  • Microsoft

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • Xbox

rating

What’s in a name?

Gotham: City of the Night. In its shadows lurk some of the most sinister criminals

on the face of the Earth. Beneath the dim lighting of the dank streets, a young

boy stands helplessly as common street thugs gun down his parents. But out of

this tragedy would come a hero, a Dark Knight that would save the city from evil.

His name? Batma…wha? Sorry people, wrong script.

Contrary to what its name implies, Project Gotham Racing has absolutely

nothing to do with Batman and very little to do with Gotham City. In truth,

it’s an updated version of Bizarre Creation’s Metropolis

Street Racer
that was released for the Dreamcast early this year. So put

away your Batarang and grab some driving gloves. Let’s get this race started.

First, the basics. Like Metropolis Street Racer, Project Gotham

is half-racing and half-kudos. Racers must not only finish ahead of the pack,

they must do it with style. These style points (called “kudos”) are awarded

for successful power slides, two-wheel action, and even getting a little air.

Just stay clear of the rails and you’re all set.

Unlike Metropolis though, Project Gotham‘s kudos system is a

lot more lenient. In MSR, you would lose kudos every time you bumped

into the rails. You would even lose kudos every single time you touched a car,

making it very tough to be an aggressive driver. And since the only way you

could progress in the game was to earn lots of kudos, MSR turned out

to be a pretty tough game.

I’m happy to report that Project Gotham has gotten rid of these problems.

Now you can use other cars to help with hairpin turns, cut people off, and even

ram your opponents with no penalty. The worst that can happen is negating the

kudos you were accumulating by running into the rails. It’s just like wiping

out in Tony Hawk.

Project Gotham‘s single player experience is split into four gameplay

modes – Quick Race, Arcade Race, Time Attack, and Kudos Challenge. Quick Race

has you racing against five other cars, Arcade Race sets up a cone obstacle

course, and Time Attack pits you against the clock. Kudos Challenge is basically

a combination of all other modes and is where you’ll spend the most amount of

time. Complete challenges, win races, and unlock stuff.

In the beginning, you’ll only have a few cars to choose from, but as you progress

in the game you’ll unlock some fancy pants cars including an Aston Martin Vanquish,

a Porsche Carrera GT, and a Ferrari F50. The only downer is that there isn’t

much else. As far as I’ve seen, there are only about 30 cars to choose from

– a far cry from some of the other racing games we’ve seen that offer massive

amounts of cars. It’s definitely enough to get the job done, but more would

have been nice, especially since there is no tuning.

An awesome feature that wasn’t found in MSR is damage modeling for

the cars. I have always been a big fan of destructible cars and Project Gotham

just reminded me why. Take aggressive driving to another level as you smash,

bash, and crash into other the racers. Broken headlights, massive dents, and

scrubbed up sides help bring the driving experience to life. I’m just glad there

are no insurance agents to worry about.

For that matter, the graphics are pretty cool. The cars look smooth with nice

reflections and some of the surface textures you drive over simply rule due

to some top notch bump-mapping.

Controlling the cars is a breeze. They’re all pretty responsive and it won’t

take you long to start driving them like you own them. Bizarre gets a thumbs

up in this department.

While MSR had one of the lamest video game soundtracks I’ve ever heard,

Project Gotham manages to scrounge up some very inoffensive tunes. But

even better is the ability to play all of your own music straight from the Xbox

hard drive. I guess this means you can put your Walkman away while playing this

game.

Even though Project Gotham has got a lot of good things going for it,

it still has problems – namely, track design While each of the four cities you

drive though (San Francisco, London, Tokyo, and New York) looks good, everything

feels ultra plain. You drive through empty city streets that are blocked off

from everything else. Nothing goes on along the sidelines. There are no pedestrians

watching, no birds flying overhead, nothing. Pretty hard to believe these world-class

cities are so dead.

For the very first Microsoft Xbox racing title, Project Gotham Racing

makes a strong showing. It’s got decent (though not thrilling) gameplay enhanced

by bang-up damage modeling. It’s not a bad start for the Xbox racing genre at

all.





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3.5
Rating
Improved Kudos system
Decent gameplay
Looks good
Play your own music
Environments are plain
Not enough cars &
No tuning