There’s an undeniable appeal found in radio-controlled cars. Admit it... you’ve felt your fingers twitching while watching kids race their cars all over the neighborhood. Acclaim brings the RC experience to the computer with Re-Volt. With cars ranging from high-powered NASCAR look-alikes to designs reminiscent of classic RC racers, the game provides hours of racing fun. It even manages to go one better than real RC racing -- you’re not limited in where you can drive your cars. Tracks range from neighborhood streets where you have to dodge parked cars and basketballs to the darkened hallways of a museum where you can jump down stairways and speed through a spectacular planetarium.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
At its heart Re-Volt is a racing game. Most of the gameplay focuses around beating other racers around one of over a dozen tracks to take first place. At first glance I thought this was going to be yet another track-based racing game, but I was in for a surprise. What sets this game apart is the amazing job Acclaim has done capturing the entire gestalt of RC racing. There’s no question that you’re driving a small-scale racer. If you’ve ever played with real RC cars you know what I mean: From steering that is hyper-responsive to the slipping and sliding you get when your vehicle weighs only a few pounds, the physics models is top notch, capturing the feel of controlling a scale model perfectly. The cars in the game range from simple electric models to high-end gas-powered (glow) cars, each with its own unique handling and speed characteristics
Acclaim has added a few twists to the game. First, the cars are indestructible. Unlike real life broken bumpers, drained batteries, or faulty wiring won’t stop the fun. You can also arm your car with powerups ranging from bottle rockets to water balloons to attack and slow your opponents. There are even some booby traps -- one powerup lets you drop a decoy that looks just like the other powerups, but explodes when any car touches it. Another turns your car into a ticking bomb -- if you touch another car before it goes off they become the bomb, but take too long and you’ll be blown into the air and delayed while your opponents race by.
If you get tired of racing you can take a spin on the stunt course and try to grab bonus stars. Some stars can be snagged with the basic models you start off with, but others will take the more powerful cars you can unlock as you progress through the races. Re-Volt also includes a complete track editor. Players have already started posting tracks on the web, so even if you get tired of the courses included in the game there’s plenty of action available.
The animation of the cars is great -- details like the antennas bouncing as cars take sharp turns and the wheels reacting to your steering really help bring the game to life. Weapon effects are smooth and lots fun to watch -- I love firing the bottle rockets just to watch them go off. The backgrounds throughout the game are also rich and detailed. One challenge faced by games that aren’t set to "normal" scale is making the size of the game world believable. Re-Volt excels at this. While racing around you’ll encounter "real" cars that loom impressively over the RC racers, you can even speed underneath them. Other scenery like staircases, curbs, toys, and plants also fit in correctly and look realistic.
From the whistle of a launching bottle rocket to the chittering of sprinklers on the lawn the effects in Re-Volt are very well done. The whine of the cars and squealing of the tires sound just like real RC racers. Add to the effects some fun music tracks and you have a mix that works.
Pentium 200 (Pentium 266 or faster recommended), 32 MB RAM, 3D Accelerator Card with 4 MB RAM (12 MB recommended).
Re-Volt packs an impressive array of features and, more importantly, actually captures the feel of RC racing and makes it better. I’ve gotten kind of bored with the endless string of racing games that have come out recently; but Re-Volt is a breath of fresh air in the genre. If you’re looking for a fast paced game with fun gameplay take this one out for a spin -- you’ll be hooked.