|a game by||GT Interactive|
Hoverboarding. We have all grown up riding our hoverboards around the neighborhood. One of my fondest memories as a child was the Christmas that I got my first hoverboard. What? You don't know what I am talking about? Okay, maybe this might be a common conversation in the future but today nobody knows what the heck a hoverboard is. Technically, it is a GEMBlade. GEM stands for Graviton Electro-Magnetic Technology and blade because it sounds cool. The bottom line is that you will be bustin' ass around some cool tracks on a thing that looks like a snowboard only you don't need snow.
If racing games are your thing then Streak may be your idea of a good time. This is a different kind of racing. You race around on your board with 10 different racers to choose from and if you are good enough, 12 completely different tracks. The physics were based on skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing which makes for an interesting mix. Work your way to the top of the ladder in the circuit mode, race against your own best times in the shadow mode or slit the screen and race against one of your buddies in the multi-player mode. All of this and it is link cable compatible to boot!
One thing that I forgot to mention in the intro was that the developer of this game is Rogue Trip. Sure, it is not Twisted Metal III but it sure could have been. Nobody will ever convince me that they did not use the same game engine, but modified. Have you ever heard of the game Jet Moto? You may find the Streak has a lot in common with the old classic Moto.. Why does this matter? It matters because they have a great history of game development for Sony but when they were bought out by GT Interactive, they had to leave all of these franchises behind. I know this is old news to everyone but it is important to understand that they left the names behind but not necessarily the games. A perfect example of what I am talking about is
This is a racing game in the same sense that Jet Moto is a racing game. There are no roads and pathways are sometimes very loosely defined while other times they are very strict and precise. Instead of riding your hoverbike, you are riding a hoverboard. Now that I think of it another good example of the gameplay would be Cool Boarders 2 (NOT a SingleTrac game) without the snow and leaner laws of physics. The object is to finish the race in the fastest possible times. It is as simple as that.
Your hoverboard and rider have a lot to do with the outcomes of the races. First off, they have incorporated a trick system into the game. Usually trick systems gain you nothing more than accolades from your peers but Streak actually rewards you for pulling off some cool tricks. See, your rider is equipped with a confidence meter. As you pull off cool tricks, your confidence is boosted. The more confidence you have, the higher your top speed will be. Since I never read manuals, I finally had to break down and read this because I kept getting stomped in races and did not know why. Normally I race first and trick second because there is little pay off. Trust me, you will need to get good at pulling off a trick at every opportunity.
Before you get too excited or put off by the tricks feature, you need to understand that the tricks are pretty limited. You will spin around in the air, grab your board, do some helicopters and such. There is no complex trick system like in Cool Boarders so people who enjoy tons of tricks may have to get a bit more imaginative and people who are not good at complex tricks will do just fine with the basics.
The most blatant carry over from the Jet Moto game engine has got to be the turbos. In Moto, you had a limited number of turbo boosts per lap. In Streak, you have a turbo gauge. You can use as much or as little as you like until the gauge is empty. You can hold the turbo button down and turbo until it is completely dry if you so desire. The other thing is that it is almost comical how the sound of the turbo replicates the turbo sound from Moto. It is so identical I would guess that they did not change it one bit.
As we all know, a big part of racing games is the tracks. If you have poor track design, you may as well forget about the game. The racing engine will never have a chance of survival if the tracks suck. So how are the tracks? They are actually pretty decent. You will find yourself racing through graveyards, carnivals, freeways under construction, off of waterfalls and even through fiery caverns. There was no lack of creativity, that is for sure. I do wish that some of the tracks were a little bit longer though. It would seem like once you feel behind, you never really had a chance to catch back up. Since I have compared this game to Jet Moto a ton of times already, one more won't hurt, will it? The tracks feel a lot like the tracks in Moto. There, that will be the last reference in this review.
I did have a little trouble with the controls. It was very easy to get turned around and end up stuck. This was really frustrating at times. I can't tell you the number of times I slammed into a wall because I unintentionally turned to sharp. I was never really able to get comfortable with the control of the hoverboards. In most games that have control issues, I can adjust and compensate for them but I just was not able to do that for this game. Not to mention the fact that the difficulty level gets pretty steep once you get past the beginner stuff. Get used to seeing last place quite a bit.
This game has one of the coolest graphical effects I have seen in a PlayStation game to date. It may not sound like much and it goes by really quickly but it is so cool that it is worth stopping and looking at. Ready? When you are racing through the carnival track, you go into a fun house. The fun house has a special mirror that does not reflect back your appearance but reflects back a glowing skeleton version of your appearance. It does a great job of mimicking your every move. You just have to see it because it is a riot. Speaking of reflections, the game also does a great job reflecting back off of the water surfaces. The night sky shows up beautifully on the surface of the pond. The rest of the graphics are equally impressive. I think they did a great job.
I enjoyed Streak for a few hours but the more I played, the more it started to wear off of me. It never turned into a bad game or anything like that but I just did not get that feeling that I had to finish just one more race. I think the graphics are outstanding and the little things really make me see the effort that was put into the game. Aside from that, you will feel like you are playing Jet Moto all over again.