June 30, 2001
Rumble Racing - Review
|Now this is hot racing action.|
There are four types of racing game in this world. There are the cart based racing games such as Super Bombad Racing and Mario Kart, there are realistic simulations such as Gran Turismo 3, there are arcade based racers such as Daytona USA 2001 and there are games like Rumble Racing which are action oriented racing games. By action I mean you can blow up the opponents and perform stunts for speed boosts while flying around the track. This is probably some of the most exciting and intense racing that you will ever experience, and it's a total joy to play.
Rumble Racing has it's roots in the PSOne game, NASCAR Rumble. Fortunately in this sequel EA dropped the NASCAR license and as a result have been able to add a lot more variety to the cars and tracks. It was a great move on their part has it has given the game a life of its own. In fact, it's pretty hard to image this game being improved upon this in gameplay terms at all. This is an arcade styled all out racing game with weapons and stunts. I guess it's closest comparison is the excellent Speed Devils on the Dreamcast. While EA's game has all the usual power ups such as invincibility, freeze, bomb and the devastating tornado's among others it is the addition of speed boosts for performing stunts that is the most exciting feature of this game.
The tricks are very easy to pull off and work very well in the game with just the right amount of skill and timing required to land them. The great thing is that depending on the complexity of the trick performed the longer your speed boost earned. These can also build up during the race so you are using the turbo almost the entire time. While these turbo's are activated the cars run at a blistering pace and the game has a very cool motion blur effect.
|This car is getting some serious air.|
Rumble Racing has a variety of game modes on offer which are also impressive. The game includes a single race, time attack, and championship mode in single player mode, which are all as to be expected. While Rumble Racing doesn't include a 4 player split screen mode it does include a 2-player split screen mode which includes either competitive or co-operative play. The co-op mode allows you to race as a team, which is fun, but not as good as competing against them. The frame rate also holds up fairly solidly which is good to see.
The track design was one of the highlights of the game. Each track, of which there are 15 in total in the game, has many short cuts. One of the great things about the shortcuts is that they each have differing results. Some aren't really worth the effort, and may drop your position, while others will cut plenty of time off your laps. The 36 different cars on offer should keep racing fans happy for quite some time with a wide variety in style and characteristics, some are fasters, others are better at stunts etc. Initially only a handful of these cars are available but as you complete the Championship mode more become available.
Well, GT3 it ain't. But graphically, Rumble Racing can still be described very solid. The game is blindingly fast, highly detailed in some areas yet with a moderately low polygon count, which no doubt helps in the frame rate. At times the tracks can seem quite plain with little trackside detail, but it all runs so fast, especially when using a turbo boost, that you hardly have time to notice. As previously mentioned the cars are lacking in polygons, but the texture detail is superb. The special effects such as your car on fire looks stunning and when you manage to use a tornado weapon the debris, cars and dirt being thrown around is very impressive. Probably the best thing is that the game runs at a constant 60fps which never lets up, not even when the screen is full of cars firing weapons at each other or in a 2-player split screen mode. Impressive.
|The lighting effects are superb.|
Sound in Rumble Racing isn't lacking either. The music is suitably exciting with some thumping soundtracks which sits well with the overall feel of the game. Sound effects are also solid with the developers adding suitably meaty car engine noises and exciting crashes. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the game is the commentary. The commentators basically take the piss out of you if your doing bad or come up with some classic one liners such as "Push, Push, let's get this baby home" (or something similar) if you manage to get in the lead. It definitely brings out the fun in the game.
|The tornado power up is devastating.|
It's sort of sad that Electronic Arts aren't pushing this title more. Sure, Rumble Racing definitely isn't the best looking game on the Playstation 2, but it is very fast, and tremendous fun. The gameplay is frantic and in 2 player mode Rumble Racing takes on a life of it's own. If your after a racing game with a difference then I can't recommend this game highly enough.
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