A good concept gone bad!
Brought to us by the same developers who made Tokyo Xtreme Racer, next up is Street Supremacy from Genki studios. A portable version of sorts of TXR, and as the name suggests this is a typical street racer.
Conceptually this game sounds really interesting. Unlike every other street racer out there for
the PSP, Street Supremacy provides a different angle. An RPG angle so to speak. You start off by joining a team of racers, and your main job is to race every member of your entire team to reach the top and own that team, thereby controlling your area. There are other teams racing each other trying to win over each others’ areas, and you see this in between races as simple messages on a grid that represents a block for each time (and area). One thing to notice is that teams with weaker averages are easier to defeat. You can race individual members of other teams in different areas provided they are up to your level. This is where the RPG element comes into play. You win not just to earn money but also to level up. Of course that is just a creative way to unlock more performance parts for your ride. You’ll get smoked if you try to race a player of higher levels than yourself so don’t even bother trying it.
And that’s pretty much the gist of the game. You join a team, win races to get money and increase your level, upgrade your car or buy a new car, all the time trying to own areas of rival teams. Sounds quite like an average street racer, yet it’s different enough to be excited about. Another thing to note is that this game is very Japanese centric. You won’t see the typical collection of ‘Import Tuners’, ‘Muscle cars’ and ‘Luxury sedans’ here. The game provides ample selection of cars with varying power levels, but all the cars are Japanese and licensed of course. Cars ranging from 350Z Fairlady to Sylivia’s to RX’s (5, 8, 7 and the old 7) to the AE86. Of special importance is the last one. This car was made legendary thanks to an extremely famous manga and anime called Initial D. Heck it was even featured as a Special Edition in GT4!
Everything looks good so far, with a good selection of cars mixed with some RPG elements and pretty neat looking graphics as well. However it all falls apart when you start playing. The loads are frequent, especially when you have to browse through numerous menus. But that’s all bearable, until you actually start a race. Usual load times range between 30 to 45 seconds. It’s all good when you can start the race, but once you hit the accelerator you realise it just feels wrong. The races feel slow to start with (not because of low FPS) and once you get your speed up the first thing you do is either crash into the rail guard, or really, really slow down to take a simple turn. The driving physics destroy this game. Every time you want to take a turn you feel like your doing it in slow motion, it feels that slow!
During the race things get exciting for a brief period of time. There is no ‘Finish Line’ that you
have to cross before your opponent. During the race the only objective is to stay ahead of your opponent for as long as possible, basically trying to drain his life bar. Should you hit the sides, the sparse traffic, or your opponent, a little bit is taken of your own life bar. This certainly makes for some exhilarating races sometimes; most of the time however this feeling of thrill vanishes in seconds. That’s right, a single race lasts anything from 30 to 80 seconds since you’re either way powerful than your opponent or vice versa.
Once the race is over you can either watch the replay or return to the racing menu. No restarting should you lose the race. And trying to restart means you have to go through some more selection menus and wait for yet another minute or so for the race to load, only to end it in half that time! Eventually you will feel no motivation whatsoever to go through all that trouble of selecting and loading just for a couple of seconds of frustration.
So there you have it, a different game with a nice concept, gone bad. If you really want a good street racer, there are better options out there to choose from. And should you want to feel a little Japanese flavour in your street racer, might I suggest Initial D: Street Stage for your PSP; an exquisite choice indeed.
|The health bars provide something different but appalling physics spoil the fun.||
|Nicely detailed cars and crisp visuals, with bland night environments.|
|The techno music is hip, complementing the game, but gets boring later on.||
|Poorly executed multiplayer, with lack of other modes and linear storyline doesnâ€™t exactly mean spectacular.|
|Only hardcore TXR fans will enjoy this game.||
|Look elsewhere for a good street racing game.|