||Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2
Racing the night away - Review By digitaltaco
Although the track may not be filled to the brim with glitz and special visual effects, it accomplishes exactly what it needs to; the graphics perfectly display the highway in a manner that draws the player in. Trackside detail is rendered realistically with high-quality textures and enough polygons to keep everything looking nice. The feeling of driving under an overpass and through a long tunnel is perfectly recreated in the game world, just as it should be. The view distance runs deep into the horizon, and instead of "drawing-in," scenery fades in through a black fog hidden way back into the perspective, making it hardly noticeable unless you look for it.
Diligent players will be rewarded for their playtime with unlockable extras. Race victories versus certain rivals will give the ability to purchase new cars in the quest mode, and there are more than one hundred in all for the player to collect. Also, victories against the most difficult rivals will open new branches in the game's highway. However, only Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2 masters need apply.
Did we mention the models are stunning?
Starting with the obvious, I should mention that some players may not enjoy the basic gameplay model featured in Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2. The idea of racing rivals on the same track over and over again just may not appeal to some. This is sort of amplified by the fact that you don't seem to get very many credits for winning races. This translates into needing to race against a great number of rivals just to be able to afford some new cars and upgrades. While the credit system has been toned down from the Japanese version to make the cars seem cheaper, it still requires many hours of gameplay to see very many of the game's vehicles. To some, this could end up feeling more like a chore than a game. But for those who enjoy competing in one race after another, it's highly rewarding and (it goes without saying) highly addicting.
TXR2 also has a few graphical problems and glitches that hamper the gameplay slightly. First, on some occasions where many cars are onscreen, the game will drop from its usual 60 frames per second and slow down quite a bit. Luckily it usually doesn't last too long, but it's certainly noticeable when it occurs. Also, the game will occasionally freeze completely for about half a second in the middle of gameplay, for no apparent reason. This is quite annoying, but easily forgivable. Another minor gripe is that there isn't really any dynamic lighting. When a car flashes its headlights to challenge another racer, the light affects neither the opposing car nor the track itself. Having everything light up when a player challenges a rival would be more fulfilling. But again, this is a very minor gripe.
While the tracks are realistic looking, there isn't very much trackside detail. It would be nice to see a bit more scenery in the sequel to make the game feel a bit less sparse. Maybe Genki could think about adding a few more buildings, tunnels, and bridges. But again, realism was the aim of the developers and they've pretty much nailed it. It would just be nice if the game world were a bit denser.
The car selection interface could be improved.
The game's interface also suffers from a few minor problems. While the menus are easy to navigate and nicely designed, the load time for some menus can be annoying. For example, during vehicle selection, the player is "treated" to a fully 3D render of their vehicle of choice racing on a track. But when a different vehicle is selected, there is a three to four second loading time before the next car pops up. While this seems minor, trying to look through a list of one hundred obscurely-named cars to find the desired vehicle can become quite a chore with that short load between each car. A fast-loading image of the car would have been preferred.
The title's sound effects and music are uninspired at best. In regards to the sound effects, they basically consist of engine sounds and tire screeches. It's difficult to hear any difference in engine sounds between vehicles. While not annoying, these sound effects are forgettable. Further, the music is the usual racing mix of hardcore techno and guitar rock. While it's not bad, it's not great either, and entirely forgettable. Of course, no two people have the same taste in music, so some might find this soundtrack enjoyable.
Unlike its predecessor, Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2 does not have any kind of multiplayer element. This is disappointing, as it would have been fun to play against friends via a split screen, or better yet online. And while the game does allow the player to check the game's online web page, there aren't any other network options to be found. Things like special car downloads would have been nice and easy to implement.
The Final Word
Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2 is an excellent title which sits very near the top of the heap of Dreamcast racers. Genki has taken the gameplay from the original TXR and improved it by adding many new cars, lengthening out the track, improving the graphics, and (most importantly) tweaking the control. The result is something that comes close to being a masterpiece for its uniqueness within the racing genre and the sheer fun of its gameplay. Though some may find its premise boring and trying, the addictive gameplay of TXR2 is sure to have its fans playing for many late nights to come.
Highs: Unique and innovative gameplay, great control, realistic graphics, many hours of playtime.
Lows: Possibly boring to some, minor graphical glitches, no multiplayer, uninspired music.
Other: 1 Player, VMU Compatible (40 blocks), Race Controller Compatible, Jump Pack Compatible, VGA Box Compatible.
Gameplay 1 (MPEG) - A short race with a rival. [Big (9.3M)] - [Med (5M)] - [Small (1.1M)]
Gameplay 2 (MPEG) - A single race + replay. [Big (13.4M)] - [Med (7.2M)] - [Small (1.5M)]
Gameplay 3 (MPEG) - Cruising the Tokyo highway. [Big (12.4M)] - [Med (5.6M)] - [Small (1.4M)]
(out of a possible 10)
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