All eyes were on Bullfrog at the recent E3 show held in Los Angeles recently, which is not at all surprising as they were there showing off (amongst other things) a rather stunning new racing game that uses an enhanced Magic Carpet engine.
Called High Octane, it's set in the bleak streets of the 21st century at a time when joy riders stop at nothing and slow down for no one. Featuring a fully-texture-mapped environment, players hurl at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour down pedestrian packed streets in one of six futuristic cars, easing off the gas only to take a shot at rival joy riders with with their on-board chain gun or rocket launcher.
Other "tracks" include busy cityscapes, open wastelands and sand swept deserts, whilst each of the six armour-plated cars feature different weapons and accessories so players can remove any unwanted obstructions that might be blocking their road to glory and the finishing line.
The game reportedly boasts a wicked AI, so players will need to take advantage of the practice mode before entering any kind of drive to the death contest, whilst there's talk of network support for up to 12 players so you can battle it out with your pals and burn some rubber with your brother.
Hi-Octane, an antigravity racing game from Electronic Arts, has the programming pedigree to make it a winner. But only true Road Rashers will gauge how the high-speed thrills compare to the latest competition - like Wipeout.
Hi-Octane takes place in the 21st century, where you're an unsanctioned hovercar racer. Jetting along various tracks, you can choose from multiple views that include a first-person cockpit view. Your 200-mph hovercar is well-protected and armed to the grills. Good thing, too: Five other hovercars are eager to dust you.
Hi-Octane may be the fuel that fans the PlayStation's fire this winter.
Hi-Octane is a racer similar to Wipeout. You can pilot one of six hovercrafts in series of races that take place in a variety of climates.
There are six tracks, each with its own secret paths and short cuts. The competition is tough, and finding little paths away from the main road provides opportunities to speed past enemies. If little tricks don't work, you can use weapons against the other guys. There are boosters that speed you up, too.
To bring the action alive, there are several different perspectives, ranging from a cockpit view to a vantage point behind your hovercraft. Playing with each mode keeps things a little different each time you play.
You might have played Hi-Octane before now on the PC. The versions for the PlayStation and Saturn should be even smoother and faster. Racing fans should check this game out because it looks hot.
- MANUFACTURER - Electronic Arts
- THEME - Racing
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
On the bleak, dangerous streets of the 21st century, you'll engage in the bloody business of unsanctioned, lawless hover-car racing. In this arcade-style driving combat game you'll tear through cities, wastelands, and deserts in six vehicles. Of course, your arsenal will be mighty, but you're going to need all that firepower just to back out of your parking space.
HI-OCTANE IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE RACING GAME!
If I took all the racing games I've ever played and rated them 1-10, they would all get a 5. The main reason is because no matter how great the game may look, without a lot of action, zipping around the same track for 10 laps can get pretty boring. If a game is going to succeed, it'll have to keep the player's interest for more than a couple of hours!
Hi-Octane definitely stands above the rest, because it has every feature that a gamer could ever ask for. First, there are six different hovercrafts to pick from, each with its own special characteristics, including speed, armor, weight and firepower.
As far as weapons go, each craft is equipped with a chain gun and a missile launcher. Both are very effective against your opponent, and can be recharged and upgraded to certain points in the race.
In other games, the computer drones are either easy to beat (meaning you spend the entire race lappirlg other drivers) or4he opposite (the computer cheats too much).
Hi-Octane does away with this problem. If you're at the end of the pack, you may not be able to pass the leaders. But with enough firepower, you can muscle your way to the front by process of elimination.
However, if you're skilled enough to be holding first place, when you start to lap the computer drones, they will launch everything they've got to take you out.
The last feature available to you on your craft is the booster. Besides being a very effective way to pass other drivers, you'll need it every time you see a big skull-an'd-cross-bones sign. This is a good indication that there is a ramp coming up, and charging your boosters may be the only way across the gorge!
There are only six tracks you can pick from when racing, but each one has its own little secrets. Figuring them out will not be an easy job.
First, there are little pit stops in different areas of the track where you will need to stop and recharge your weapons, shields and most important of all, fuel. The tracks themselves are very intricate, sometimes confusing. But with a bit of racing under your belt, you will notice that there are shortcuts and secret areas to find.
The shortcuts are great for making up some time, and the secret areas have tons of power-ups to use to your advantage (if you're lucky enough to find them).
There are four different camera views you can pick from: three trailing views, so you can see your hovercraft and a cockpit view. I'm partial to the cockpit view myself, because you can tell how bad you're getting hit by the chain gun by the amount of bullet holes in the windshield.
One of the most important features is the ability to have eight players racing at the same time over a network. There is even a league table where you will be able to keep track of your progress.
If all the features that Hi-Octane has to offer aren't enough, the graphics on this high-speed racer look great.
One great touch is the way the road seems to be blanketed by a layer of fog. This drastically cuts down on visibility of the corners, and makes it hard to see shortcuts.
The bottom line is this game has enough cool features to keep the die-hard racer busy, but can also be enjoyed by somebody who would rather just strap themselves in and play.
EA combined its Magic Carpet engine with high-speed, first-person, hovercar racing for an adrendaline-packed rush. Climb into any of the six armed and dangerous hovercars and race on one of six unique tracks. To win, you must do more than follow the course's gut-wrenching twists and turns - don't forget to scour the tracks for ammo and fuel power-ups. Survival is the name of this game as you attempt to place in the top three enough times to claim victory.
In the computer world, the name Bullfrog is a byword for quality and excellence. Its first development for the PlayStation is the futuristic racing game (what, another one?) Hi-Octane, and unfortunately, it's a minor step down from their previous classics. But a step down for Bullfrog simply puts them on the level of the rest of the world, so Hi-Octane isn't so much a failure, it's just fairly average.
Once again you must put yourself in the seat of a hovering car hurtling along at extremely high speeds, and once again you have weapons at your disposal with which you can blow your fellow racers to kingdom come. Yes, it's bound to be compared to Psygnosis' Wipeout, but, unlike Wipeout, you actually have a nice cache of weapons to use, and you can actually destroy the other cars. Hi-Octane also allows you to choose from seven vehicles which range from a compact hover-car to a burly truck.
What Hi-Octane doesn't have, however, is the sophisticated and clean graphics that Wipeout has. Don't get me wrong, they're still beautiful, but they just don't have the punch or impact that Wipeout did.
The greatest thing about Hi-Octane is the fact that it shows that Bullfrog can actually develop a good game for the PSX. If this is indicative of things to come, then I can't wait to see what they're going to do with Syndicate Wars and Magic Carpet. Woo woo, I'm wagging my eyebrows right now.