A fine Xbox exclusive racing game
Released in 2003, this was one of the few Xbox exclusive racing games that verges between the arcade racing as seen in Ridge Racer / Metropolis Street Racer and the simulation aspects of Gran Turismo.
The main game mode is the Dream Mode, and features a rags to riches type story where you start off in an old car garage workshop. You are required to race and tune up your vehicle in order to stay competitive. As you win and progress through the game, you are able to finance development of further vehicles that will help with later races. You are provided the choice of which car to develop, which varies based on handling, speed and acceleration.
Essentially you are developing a new series of cars that are financed through the winnings of your races, the better you do, the more funds you can put towards better cars.
You will also see your workshop change and improve over time, with the building expanding as further departments are introduced. The workshop serves as the user interface for the game, using the left. right buttons to move between the different sections of the workshop that are used to access parts of the game. Visiting the garage lets you change settings for the car, and choosing the shelf lets you change game settings (video, audio, controller) and to load/save the game. Its a very creative way of navigation and blends into the game play. Races are started by the LCD display on the wall, giving the impression these races are televised.
1st place isn’t always required but is needed to get more funding for development of better vehicles. You can always repeat races to improve your standing. Some races are set in a Gran Prix series where you must finish a set of races in order. You also have an opportunity to complete a one on one race with a rival opponent, wining these races will give a boost to your research funds.
There are few characters that appears in cut scenes and serve as your staff. These serve a specific purpose in progressing through the game and will appear as you progress through the game.
- Rick, The Mechanic – Pictured above, One of the first characters you meet, he’s responsible for making and applying changes to the car.
- Carla, The Receptionist – Handles PR stuff
- Rebecca – Responsible for managing production of cars which your company sells to also fund research.
- Benjamin, The Scientist – Appears to the end, mainly responsible for researching high end supercars
The races themselves are straightforward, you start at the bottom and have to race your way to first place. There are typically 6 opponents that you compete with who’s vehicles will also adapt to changes from your vehicle, Keeping the game competitive. Theres a diverse amount of tracks in the game, with some being set in the daytime, evening and nighttime, along with their own background music. As with other Xbox tiles you have the option of using your own playlist if you have imported this onto the Xbox.
There are four main settings for the races, City, Mountain, Stadium and Racetrack.
The racing display is typical of the era, with a mini-map keeping track of your car and opponents, along with a lap counter and time display that shows the current racing time, your best lap and the track record which is shared between the different profiles on the Xbox.
Theres a couple of different camera views to select from, from third person to bonnet view.
No online play, not even system link which is strange for an Xbox exclusive from 2003. There is a head to head display that allows two players to race each other by connecting two controllers.
Sadly this game is not playable on the Xbox One or Series X/S, it is compatible on the Xbox 360 albeit with missing audio on some cutscenes. I suspect due to licensing issues we will never see this emulated officially on another Microsoft console.
- R: Racing Revolution – very similar in driving mechanics.
- Midnight Club 2 -This is more set in an open world
- Burnout – A lot more grounded in reality compared to the alter Burnout titles.
- Ridge Racer V – The tracks and scenery have some similarities