ChoroQ Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

PlayStation 2
Release date:
November 1, 2004
Atlus USA
1 - 2


It's like Micro Machines in an quirky, RPG world; well, not quite. . .

Review by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
October 27th 2004

Welcome to the world's tiniest grand prix. Based on a popular series of collectable motorized cars, this is actually the forth in the ChoroQ series, though the first to be known by that name outside of Japan. The last one seen in the US was number two, going under the pseudonym of Road Trip. This latest installment is certainly a trip, but expect a few speed bumps along the way.

Customizing is the key to winning all but the easiest races. With close to two hundred of bodies to collect and around the same number of parts, ricing up your personal ride is a smooth operation. Colored bars clearly tell you what improvements, or reductions, you'll get before each purchase. It'll also tell you the same when you're about to sell a part, so you don't accidentally give up on something you'll need later. Most new additions are visibly displayed, from monster tires to racing spoilers, with others retracted until they're needed, like skis. You'll also feel the difference when you get out onto the track, as even a minor engine upgrade will equal a noticeable increase in pep.

Thirteen race tracks, each with three variants, and even more possible competitions isn't nearly as much variety as it sounds. The track variants often don't vary enough from each other and the competition types normally boil down to facing faster and faster opponents. The track designs themselves range from bland, such as the standard racing oval, to the pure eye candy, like a course winding through the digital world of a computer. The off-road tracks will involve plowing through snow, over or under water, and even on the back of a dinosaur.

Racing boils down to learning the course well enough to know when to break and when to gun the engine. Flying around turns will cause you to skid, and skidding too much will end up as a spin, killing your forward momentum and any chances of victory. The other racers don't like to lose either. They'll will cut you off and even knock you around, which adds to the challenge but also can sometimes be a pain. Another car will occasionally anchor itself in front of you, matching all your turns so you can't rush past, and block you right into last place. Other times you'll get knocked from behind and end up in a spin that can drop you from first to last in a blink of an eye.

Though I'd rather be knocked around like a ping-pong ball than get bounced from the lead by a rubberband AI. For those unfamiliar with the term, some other racers allow the CPU controlled cars to cheat and gain an unnatural speed boost if they fall too far behind. In ChoroQ, if you manage an insurmountable lead, it'll stay that way unless you kill it yourself. The only exception are the rivals, which is another car talking smack during the race as it stays either ahead or right on your bumper, though beating them to the finish makes the race more satisfying.

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