Not since the maiden era of the NES in which I enjoyed Rare's R/C Pro Am have I longed for a follow-up which would adequately quell my thirst for arcade style racing. Sure enough, a exceptional sequel was developed, while the years past to introduce a long list of, sub-impressive games. Any player who can recall its user friendly gameplay, racing to obtain parts for your radio-controlled vehicle, and...as a bonus, collect randomly deposited pieces which spelled 'Nintendo'. A game pleasantly enjoyable in its own right which sadly hasn't been rivaled in my opinion to date, until now.
It wasn't until Re-volt was delivered to me in which that old nostalgic feeling felt rejuvenated. In a similar vein as with our aforementioned honorary title above, the magic of controlling R/C-powered cars has returned, and then some. Acclaim makes substantial use of the DC's 128-bit graphic prowess and places you in a virtual world which by first impressions deserves a thumbs up. What's surely to be overlooked though is the fact the game contains a storyline, which explains how the title of Re-volt was founded. Over the years, Toy-Volt has produced toys and games for children all over the world. Within months of introducing their first products, Toy-Volt shot up to the top as the leading toy developer! It was a mystery as to what made their toys so popular. Aside from the fact they were designed by the best designers and marketers of the world, it seemed apparent that these toys consisted of something magical. The irony presented itself when it was discovered the radio controlled cards gained a mind of their own and escape into the real world.
Ok, so you're not moved by the story...the game is still immensely fun to play. As you take on the controls of the various R/C cars, you'll race throughout neighborhoods, supermarkets, areas which you'd normally would not see any racing engaged.
Re-volt's menu options are quite extensive. Among some of the settings you can alter include changing the number of laps, competing cars (i.e. 2-12), pick-ups which toggles the use of power-up use per race, as well as the mode setting (Arcade/Simulation). Most may opt for the Arcade mode as playing in Simulation throws the game under the elements of real life R/C-psyhics. The controls by default are manipulated by the analog for steering (but you also have the option to use the d-pad), while you have buttons which flip your car, fire weapons you acquire, change the camera angle and reposition your vehicle. I found the game to be quite challenging, and usually somewhat fustrating since I am not a bona-fide R/C racer...it definitely made for some continued gaming for hours. Pick-ups (read: power up items) are provided here in abundance. The pick up items assume the shape of a red and yellow lightning bolt. As you drive over one, empowering your vehicle, the available items will be cycle in a random fashon (which eliminates the advantage of obtaining the highly effective weapons such as "Fireworks" or "Electro Pulse". Other weapons include oil slicks, bombs, turbo battiers, and water ballons.
Game Modes consist of Single Race, which allows you to compete in one of the available courses and vehicles of your choice. You can race up to 8 laps if you wish or replay the entire segment after you've completed the race. Other modes include Time Trial, Championship, Practice, Stunt Arena (to test your R/C racing skills which you'll need to collect all 20 of the stars hidden throughout the arena), and Multiplayer. Stunt Arena is definitely a challenge in itself as I found myself battling with my own wits to obtain all the stars. Again, Re-volt contains a great deal of replay value, its illogical to say that there's little to do in this game. Multiplayer mode allows up to four players to compete either in a single race or Battle Tag, which gives each competitor two minutes driving around the arena searching for a hidden star. The basic function is to tag the designated it car as you all battle to get your clock to count down to zero first, the match will continue until one car remains. The Track Editor is a very special feature for those looking to construct their own customized tracks which are made up of 25 pieces. You can build a track, save it onto your VMU, and then import it into the Single Race, Time Trial, or Practice Modes. I initially overlooked this feature but was amazed once I analyzed how extensive it was...not since Mach Rider has something like this been implemented into racing games, hats off to Acclaim for implemeting this!
The car selection is genuinely ideal as you initially begin the game with Rookie vehicles. Amateur, Advance, Semi-Pro, and Pro cars can be unlocked as the game progresses, the key is to win more cups in addition to completing other tasks. There are two classes to choose from: Electric class, which are powered by batteries and Glow class, powered by gas engines. It's important to note that each car possesses various parameters (i.e. speed, acceleration, weight, and transmission) in which it affects the manner in which your R/C car operates. You'll find that it becomes strategically important to understand the advantages and weaknesses of each vehicle in order to advance to more challenging courses and thus acquire more efficient racing cars! The enviroments, though not highly interactive are large, colorful and exceptionally detailed. You'll find that you're not limited to staying on the track, as you can drive anywhere if you wish...even going in reverse, but naturally you won't win doing that! Again, it's important to study the elements of the track in order to complete them, some stages are composed of a series of tracks and regions within that you must master. For example, Championship mode allows you to race on tracks composed of different enviroments in the order that they're presented. Finally, the sound effects and background music (varying in upbeat tones), harmonize well with the game action onscreen as cars veer around life-size obstacles and the like. Each weapon also carries a individual sound sample which is dead-on and adds to the entire experience.
In closing, the question remains is, should you play this game? The answer echoes with a sincere yes, very much so...why are you still reading this review? The best thing about this game is that it offers something old, something new, something different. Sure enough you've been through a measure of racing games (namely all of simulated elements, Daytona, Gran Turismo, etc)...but how many of you have honestly played a game aside from something such as Micro Machines which will be as much fun as Re-volt? The answer is left up to the opinions of you all, though I believe it will be 'err...I haven't (or something along those lines). Packaged with a plethora of options, intuitive controls, and a large degree of replay value to keep you busy for months, there's little to complain about other than the fact that you're not the sole owner of your own copy. Re-volt genuinely provides pure racing fun which excels above the other lot of titles currently available on the Dreamcast and should definitely be purchased.
· · · Bahn