You wanna Streak? Okay, think snowboarding...without the snow. Throw in an underground competition, a hush-hush conspiracy, and some experimental technology, and you have the makings for the latest 3D racing game from Single-Trac, the folks behind Jet Moto.
Streak combines elements of surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding, and places them in a framework of total racing freedom. The game features high-tech, gravity-defying boards called GEMBIades, which are routinely tested in super-secret stunt races. An elite group of the 10 best riders gets to compete on the game's 13 tracks...but who's testing this technology, where did it come from, and why are the contestants being catalogued and ranked? Only if you become the hottest Streaker will you be able to solve the mystery.
While the coming months will bring plenty of hoverboarding games with similar looks, Streak is unique and entertaining enough to rise above the pack.
Streakers race on experimental "GEMBIades"--glowing hoverboards of unknown origin--in secret nocturnal showdowns. GEMBIades handle like a mix of snowboard, surfboard, and skateboard. As you progress through the races, you'll learn more about the technology under your feet...and its true origins.
Cool plot aside, blazing racing is why gamers will want to check out Streak. With a challenging computer A.I., 12 excellent twisty tracks, and plenty of opportunity to bust wild tricks, Streak delivers the freestyle goods. The inven-tive courses, from a creepy graveyard to Chinese rootops to an abandoned carnival, offer plenty of variety; some are better suited to speed, others lend themselves to tricks. No two look--or race--alike. Boarders who find them-selves, well, bored with traditional racers should check out the tight gameplay and clever courses of Streak.
- The easiest, most impressive trick is a corkscrew jump. While in the air, press either L1 or R1 (not both), and hold it for as long as you can stand.
- When you come to the wall of flame on Reardon Forge, just face forward and don't try anything fancy.
- Your turbo Is replenished every lap, so let loose and use It up each go-round!
- You don't have to follow the pack on St Malle's; sometimes, a clear alternate lane is the better choice.
The visuals are a bit lowres, but everything moves appropriately fast The water reflections are cool, and the player animations give the game some personality.
Streak supports analog controls, but the regular D-pad actually works better-especially in conjunction with all the buttons you have to use. As always, practice makes perfect
The music matches the scenario, from the mild punk on Skyview Highway to the Scottish ditties in Aery Keep. It's all upbeat stuff to keep you movin' with extra credit for the amusing yelps when riders bail.
Streak won't turn your world upside down, but it does stand out in an increasingly crowded genre with its cool fantasy racfng...and Streak is challenging enough to keep you coming back.
Anyone familiar with Jet Moto will instantly feel a strong sense of deja vu when playing Streak. The hip music, the comic book-style character designs H and even the physics of the gameplay are very much in line with what Jet Moto was all about. The main differences between the two games (there has to be some) are that the characters in Streak ride hoverboards called GEMBIades while the ones in Jet Moto ride hover bikes and that there is now a detailed story behind all the action.
The technology behind the streak boards is as mysterious as the reasons for the tournaments. There seems to be something sinister behind the scenes and only the top streakers ever get to find out. To help you through the game, you have a choice from 10 different characters who each has his/her own motivations for winning the tournament. They also keep their own separate journals where you can gain additional insight into their stories as well as their thoughts on the "big picture." The extra story elements are nice, but are entirely optional for those just interested in the race. There are 12 separate areas for you to explore including carnivals, sewers and graveyards. The coolest part of it all is the ability to play four players simultaneously which is always a nice bonus. Fans of Jet Moto take note.
Is anyone else getting tired of all this snow-boarding/skateboarding culture getting slipped into games? Everywhere you look now there's some "dude" with a stupid name (like "Edge" or "Grooves"), some big trousers, a haircut sillier than mine and some kind of board. At least SingleTrac's Streak has a go at being a bit different. Rather than straight snowboarding, Streak mixes in a little WipeOut to keep things exciting, and has everyone scooting around on Back to the Future-esque hoverboards (or GEMblades as they're pompously referred to here) so that you don't have to worry about hills. As an overall package Streak isn't particularly bad. The graphics are above-average, although nothing to write home about, while the action is reasonably slick, and surprisingly fast. Overall though, it's just overwhelmingly, urn... adequate. The controls are fine, although a little sensitive if you use the analog pad, and the track design is very effective. Parts of some tracks double back on themselves and incorporate some unique bits of scenery (the graveyard and carnival tracks are both notable) but nothing here is spectacularly original. It's a nice, solid racing game that supports up to four players with the link cable - but in the end it's still one of those "instantly forgettable" products.
Further proof that Single-track is keen on recreating its old series for GT Interactive, Streak is like a better-playing Jet Moto 2--with tricks. And the tricks system itself illustrates SingleTrac's penchant for putting cool spins on tired gameplay ideas. Instead of merely granting points, successful tricks boost top speed--a nifty idea. Plenty of cool tracks and the linked Four-player Mode complete this competently designed racer.
Give this one points for originality. The tracks are all very creative (especially the carnival) and equally fun to race on. I only wish some of them weren't quite so narrow. The frame-rate is fast, even during background-heavy areas. I also like the confidence meter and turbo boost options. Both increase the racing gameplay to a higher level. Overall, Streak feels like a snowboarding game, only much faster and more interesting.
Streak is flat-out fun, but that fun comes at a cost. You can pull all kinds of cool board tricks to make jumps where you wouldn't think they're possible, but the collision detection is too sensitive in parts. This isn't helped by the crazy track layout which makes you work for every jump. Playing a track over and over again is definitely required in order to advance to new circuits with enough points. A bit sloppy and hard, but fun.
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 SingleTrac. 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 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.
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.