Bravo Air Race
Racing games are becoming stale, or at the very least, they've been done way too many times. Some are good and some are not so good, but it basically boils down to this: if you own one, you really are not missing much by not owning the others.
Along comes Bravo Air Race. Hmmm. These are not cars you are racing. They are airplanes. These are not tracks, but air obstacle courses. You are not limited to a handful of vehicles to choose from, but have 12 different authentic aircraft to fly. This could be what racing fans are looking for.
Bravo Air Race puts you directly in the cockpit of an airplane and, for a change, you are not trying to shoot down enemy aircraft. Instead, you are actually trying to outrun them. What a refreshing change to a racing game. Be careful, though, because in the end you might find that this is really not much different than the traditional racing games on the market.
This game takes place on courses instead of tracks. There are four different courses to choose from, ranging from easy to hard. These courses will have you racing through mountains, cities, snowy peaks, canyons, and even through waterfalls. I know this sounds great and it is actually pretty entertaining at first. Unfortunately, it just does not have staying power. After you race each course a few times, you should have it down. That brings me to my biggest complaint with the game.
Ready? Bravo Air Race really leaves you with no feeling of accomplishment. None of the courses are locked and you have access to all the planes, so when you finish in first place, you are rewarded with a "you did it!" then "Game Over." That's all. In most racing games, it has become common to use the old carrot-and-stick method of motivation. This game dangles no carrot in front of you. So after coming in first on every track, which will happen (see second complaint), you are left with no reason to play the game any more, other than to try the different planes. I was disappointed because I was waiting for something to happen and it never did.
Here is my second complaint. The courses are too easy to master. I finished in first place on my first race on three of the four tracks. That's right: the first time I ever picked up the controller and plugged in this game. Where is the challenge in that? I will say that it took me four races to finish in first on the last track. I guess the thinking was that after you finish with one of the good planes, you will try it with a slower one. This just didn't keep my attention for too long.
On a much more positive note, this game has planes aplenty to choose from. You can select a plane that is as old as a 1932 Geebee, to a plane that is as new as a 1945 Sinden. There are 10 other planes available that fall in between these dates. Each of the planes are judged by their speed, acceleration, and handling. Trust the rating in these three categories, because the difference in each category is very evident during gameplay. For example, if you pick a plane with high top end speed and bad handling, you will never make it through the harder courses that require you to maneuver tightly. My only complaint is that all of the planes available are from the mid 1900's, but you are racing against modern planes like the Stealth. It was cool the first time I saw the Stealth, but it just did not fit the game.
I will say that it was cool to go busting through the canyons and trees. This was an element that would only be available in an air racing game. The screaming around corners by the skin of your teeth did add some excitement to the game, and it was also pretty cool flying directly into the waterfall and out the other side. The first time I saw it, I had no idea what to do, so I chose to crash directly into the wall. Also, it was neat flying through the snow course and seeing the little penguins floating on the ice block in the middle of the water. I just wish there were more tracks available.
One other thing that I did not particularly care for was the fact that you could not go up. You are in an airplane, and the whole concept behind an airplane is to fly up. If you try to fly up at all, you will get a "Course Out" and slam to a stop. I guess I understand why they put this in there or else you would be able to fly above all the obstacles and hazards that are supposed to make the game challenging. I just think it is lame when you have no indication of where you can or can't go. You just seem to hit an invisible barrier and that's all. They should have had some sort of warning system to alert you when you got close.
The graphics are a mixed bag. The planes all looked cool, and it was a rush when you would buzz over the top of another racer or they would buzz you. The courses were decently rendered, but had a terrible re-draw problem. This ranked up there as the worst I have seen in any 32-bit game. Luckily, it almost never affected the gameplay, but it was still evident.
I usually don't talk about audio unless it is either really good or really bad. That is a perfect description of this game. The sound of the planes was awesome. I think they did a great job replicating the sound of a prop engine. When the planes were flying by, it felt like you were at an air show. The only disappointment was that all the planes sounded alike. The bad part of the audio is the annoying guy who spits out the same three stupid remarks on your radio as you fly by. Why? Either have him say something useful or creative and mix it up some. This was just an annoyance.
Bravo Air Race is a mixed bag. It has some good points and it has some bad points. I really like seeing some fresh concepts in the racing arena, but concepts are not enough to make games winners. You should get a few hours of fun before you stick this game back in the hangar and wait for the next model.
Download Bravo Air Race
Racing has taken on a new meaning in T*HQ's Bravo Air Race. Players take to the skies in various aircraft and race through levels with realistic graphics that include valleys and mountains as well as rivers and arctic ice worlds. If you think you're fast enough to beat the clock, you may have what it takes to beat Bravo Air Race.
With the hordes of racing games pouring onto store shelves, it's refreshing to find one that is attempting to deliver something a little different. T*HQ's Bravo Air Race features air races between 11 different aircraft from various time periods. For example, some of the planes consist of the Stella Bomber and various types of bi planes. There are seven different courses available, each rendered in 3-D. They take place in various locations such as canyons and even cities (I guess safely isn't a concern). The game will feature realistic flight and speed mechanics, giving the game an aura of realism. Beginners should fear not of this interesting racing title, as Air Race will have various features (such as an autopilot) to help virgin pilots earn their wings. Due out in September, Air Race is hoping to bring racing games to new heights.
- MANUFACTURER - T*HQ
- THEME - Racing
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
More than one EGM staffer took a gander at the zigging and zagging planes of Bravo Air Race and asked "Why don't they just fly higher in the sky. above all those buildings and trees and stuff?" Well, cut Bravo Air Race is a racing game, and zipping safely above each course is like, cheating, you know?
Actually, this is the first racing game to feature airplanes. And you don't have to worry about shooting down opponents or dodging enemy fire like in most other flying (and many racing) titles. Bravo Air Race's planes aren't equipped with weapons; the only power-ups you'll find are turbo boosts and a few other goodies. The emphasis in this analog-compatible racer is on ultrafast racing and split-second maneuvering.
Like in the WipeOut games, the tracks in Bravo Air Race are as much an enemy as the other racers. There are four courses in all: one that winds through mountains and villages, another set above city streets, one that corkscrews through frozen Alpine terrain and a final track that's set in a canyon. All the courses are crammed with sharp turns, drops and winding tunnels, as well as occasional shortcuts.
And all of them whiz by at screaming speeds. Take a turn too wide and you'll crash into a building or canyon wall, losing valuable time and probably the entire race. Fly too high and you'll get slapped with a Course Out penalty, which forces you to return to the track at agonizingly slow speeds. Newbie pilots can switch on on autopilot feature that makes tricky turns a little easier. You can also toggle guide markers that highlight the best route through each course. (Don't follow these markers blindly however, since they sometimes lead you away from shortcuts.)
You may choose from 10 planes when you first start playing Bravo Air Race, with two hidden aircraft becoming available after you place first in the races. Several of the airplanes are vintage World War II fighters, such as the Mustang and Zero. Others are modern showplanes. Each supposedly offers true-to-life performance. Most of the fighters, for instance, are lightning quick, while the show planes are extremely maneuverable. Tapping the shoulder buttons makes each plane perform a stunt-although showing off anyplace other than in a straightaway seriously bumps up your risk of a crash.
Players can either fly in standard races against 12 other planes (who radio trash talk to you when you pass 'em) or practice in a Time Attack Mode. Better still, two players can race head-to-head in a Split-screen Mode.
Bravo Air Race takes to the skies, mixing car racing and airplanes. You race through four forward-scrolling courses, banking up or down and pulling barrel rolls. Your plane can't roam too far off course before hitting invisible barriers, though.
On the options side, Bravo offers solo, head-to-head, or time-trial modes along with 10 planes and race locales that range from desert canyons to snowy summits.The graphics and controls are adequate, but recurring breakup hampers the realism and effectiveness of the flying. Bravo Air Race is fast-moving racing fun worth at least a full-fare rental.
- As in auto racing, strategic use of acceleration is more effective than using the brakes.
- Don't risk clipping your wings--keep aerial acrobatics to the staightaways.