Tokyo Xtreme Racer

a game by Genki
Platform: Dreamcast
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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Overview

When it comes to my type of gaming, you just can't go wrong with a racing game. Over the last couple of years, racing games have fast become my personal favorite genre. The PSX and N64 have pretty much played the whole racing thing out to the limit, so a new console with a new breed of racing games is just what the doctor ordered. Needless to say, I was pretty hyped when my copy of Tokyo Xtreme Racer showed up. So was my excitement fulfilled? Somewhat.

Tokyo Xtreme Racer is not your average racing clone. Not even close. This game does offer a very innovative twist to the racing genre. Over 25 different cars to use, customization close to the level of Gran Turismo, graphics blazing by at 60 FPS and a host of gameplay modes make up this game. So if you are looking for a different type of racer, read on.

Gameplay

This game will not appeal to everyone out there—even racing fans. How is that for cutting through the BS and getting straight to the point? It is not your standard zoom around the track type racing game. They have come up with a very innovative idea; normal racing games are races to a finish line after a number of laps or across a long stretch of roadway. In Tokyo Xtreme Racer, races can be as short as 20 seconds or as long as three minutes. This will be clearer once I explain the premise of the game.

There are a couple of different modes of gameplay, but you will spend the majority of your time playing the quest mode. In the quest mode, you start off with $25k in the bank and no car, so the first thing you need to do is go out and find yourself a ride. There are plenty of cars out there but only a few will fit your wallet. So after picking one of the few cars that you can afford, you head out to the dark freeway system of Tokyo. Other rival racing teams are also out on the prowl looking to jump into some high-speed action themselves.

Now that you have your car and you have headed out to the streets, this is where the real innovation comes in. You drive around looking for other rival racers. Once you find one, you pull up behind the car and flash your lights, challenging him to a race. If the driver accepts your challenge, the game will switch over to race mode and then the race is on. Flashing the lights is only part of the innovation. The other part is how the races are actually won. They are not set by distance; rather, the races are judged by who is in the lead. See, both racers have a Speed Point meter at the top of the screen when in the race mode. This meter will start to go down on the car that is in the rear. When the meter hits 0, the race is over. The further the distance between the leading car and the trailing car, the faster the SP meter depletes. That means that if the race is close with lots of lead changes, it could go on for up to three minutes but if one car crashes right in the beginning, the race could be over in 30 seconds. I thought this was a really neat twist on racing and added a touch of life to the standard racer.

Another cool part of this game is the ability to customize your car. As you race, you accumulate money from the other racers and you can use this money to purchase upgrades to your car. Eventually you can buy a whole new car if you choose. In the intro, I mentioned that it has customization on the level of Gran Turismo. While that might be a bit of a stretch, it is not too far off. You can upgrade everything from your engine to your muffler to your aerodynamics package. You can also make adjustments to steering, breaking, shocks, transmission ratio and more. As you build your car, more options become available to you. This alone is the sole factor for longevity of this title.

The last thing I want to say about this game before I get into what I did not like about it is that the Dreamcast controller lends itself perfectly to racing games. I really like the triggers as gas/brakes. It is very natural and comfortable-feeling and I was able to pick this game up and start playing without any hesitation or learning curve. Also along the line of control, they did a great job of making the cars control realistically. I was pretty impressed.

Unfortunately, all is not well in Tokyo. First, the innovating part of this game actually becomes a bit of an annoyance after a while. The races can end so quickly that you will feel cheated. There are occasions that the races will extend out, but for the most part, they are over in around one to two minutes. So you drive around the city for five minutes looking for a race that lasts one minute. It is really hard to get in the flow of the races with all the stopping and starting going on.

Next, aside from the customization, the gameplay is not very deep. You will find yourself becoming bored after a few days of steady playing and there is just nothing that will save the game from this. Part of the problem lies in the fact that there is really only one track (forwards and backwards) so once you have raced it a few dozen times, it gets to be pretty uneventful. Also, it is always night. There is no day racing so you will spend the whole time in the dark.

The last thing that bothered me was that there were no repercussions for challenging someone to a race and losing. Actually, you would still lose the race and end up getting money. I thought this was strange. To make it more realistic, I thought they should have let you make a bet before the race started or something but as it is now, you just drive around and challenge anyone because you know that there is nothing to lose, so why not?

Graphics & Audio

Pretty darn impressive, to say the least. First off, the replays in this game make Gran Turismo look like it is running on a 32-bit system. The cars look so real that you will do a double take if you are walking through the room to make sure it is not a television show. Next, the actual game graphics are pretty nice as well. The traffic on the roads all look great and your car looks good also. There is some slowdown when there are more than three cars on the screen at one time, which was a bit surprising, but other than that, this game runs at a blazing 60 FPS and you will feel every frame.

Bottom Line

While Tokyo Xtreme Racer is a very innovative title, it will not appeal to everyone. I can only think that if they had worked on the game for another three months or so, added in different tracks or cities and a betting system, and fixed the slowdown, this game would have been top notch. As it sits now, it is a pretty fun game that will give you a few hours of enjoyment before you tire of it. Not a bad first effort, but it should have been better.

Download Tokyo Xtreme Racer

Dreamcast

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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