From a conceptual standpoint, a video game where you race little RC-type cars around real-world environments works really well. The tricky part is making a game of this nature play well. And while Re-Volt Racing isn't a terrible example of an RC Racer, it's not stunning. On one hand, the real-world environments in RR are a blast. It's cool how you can drive around on neighborhood streets and in a closed museum, etc. On the other hand, the realistic RC car physics and control often make play time more tedious than anything else. Courses have tons of obstacles and corners to get caught up on, and dips and ramps that'll flip you on your back like an incapacitated turtle. Usually this sort of thing is welcome, but when you throw in confusing tracks that often double-back on themselves, you have the ingredients for some frustrating and confusing gameplay. Maybe RR is a little too real. Sure, you'll end up winning if you stick with it, but the annoyance level in the early stages of this game are much higher compared to other racers. Thing is, even with all of this, RR isn't a terrible game. Its graphics and frame-rate are decent (except the medium-res mode), and the multiplayer stuff is a lot of fun. Plus it has a cool track editor and lots of cars, tracks and other stuff to open up. It's slightly above-average.
Ever since RC Pro Am, I've hoped a remote-controlled car game would come out that'd be just as fun as that was. Re-Volt comes pretty close. I like being able to race around from the behind-the-car perspective, and some of the tracks (Toys in the Hood) are really cool, but the tracks are almost too detailed. They've stopped becoming tracks and have too many things you can accidentally bump, flipping or coming to a complete stop.
With something like Shiny's RC Copter, the realism of the controls is welcome, but with a more arcade-style racer, the "realism" is a pain in the ass. If you're used to "real" racing games this just feels way too sensitive, and you don't have the time to admire some of the imaginative environments because you're too busy trying to get around the corners. Once you've got the hang of it, it's OK...but there are so many other racers that are more fun.
I've never played an RC racing game that was actually fun, and Re-Volt is no exception. To be fair there's nothing really wrong with the game except for the fact it's just not exciting. Two player races are mildly amusing but suffer from slowdown. Battle mode, well... it's just plain dull. It has a lot to do with the physics of an RC car. Are they really worth re-creating? In real life those things are on their backs half the time anyway. Re-Volt just doesn't do anything for me.
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.
Acclaim has a wacky game on its hands about remote-controlled cars that jump off the shelf and come to life. Re-Volt will feature 28 cars, 5 single-player options, 14 tracks, 7 worlds, and multiplayer modes galore. It'll also feature combat-intense racing in battle arenas with power-ups. Furthermore, there are several hidden features that can only be unlocked by taking certain actions while playing the game, thereby guaranteeing rewards at every twist and turn.