Turbo Prop Racing
As we all know, racing games are a dime a dozen on the PlayStation so if you want to break through the crowd, you really have to come up with something different. Earlier this year, we saw the mediocre Powerboat Racing as the first water based racing game. Sure, it gets points for being the first, but sometimes first is not always the best. Turbo Prop Racing looks to take the water racing scene by storm and leave everything else in its wake.
When it comes to options, Turbo Prop Racing is loaded to the gills with em. Try racing across 18 different tracks (actually unlimited tracks but I will get in to that a bit later), fighting turbulence and water currents, hot two player action all at 60 FPS. When it comes to speed, this game may be the fastest racing game to date. So sit back and strap on that life vest because things are going to get seriously wet.
As all of my loyal readers know, I really love racing games so any time something new comes along, I welcome it with open arms. Like I said above, water racing has been done before but not nearly as good as this. I have been waiting for this game since I first heard it was released over seas under the name Rapid Racer. All I can say is that it was well worth the wait.
I am sitting here trying to decide where to even begin describing the gameplay of this game. Should I start with the boats or the tracks? I guess I will start with the boats because this is one of the first things you will have to select in the game. When you start the game, you have only three boats available to choose from. Each of the boats is strong in one of the three categories of speed, acceleration or handling. You can select the boat that best suits your driving and racing styles. As you progress through the races, you will be able to win or trade for upgrades on your boat (more on this later). Eventually, you will unlock new boats that make the original three look like row boats.
Like I said in the intro, the case for the game says that there are 18 different track combinations. I can assume that the 18 tracks are made up of the six original tracks during the day, the six original tracks at night and the six original tracks mirrored. That makes up 18 but this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you beat the game, you will open up what is called the Fractal Generator. This is a track generator that can randomly generate over one million different tracks. Yes, you read that correctly. This means that after you beat the game, you can race on a different track over one million times without racing the same one twice. This feature alone makes the game worth buying. Talk about your replay value! Not only can you have the tracks randomly generated, you can make your own tracks. Although this is a little misleading because you really don't make your own track, you just select the number or letter that the Fractal Generator will use to create the track. Once you get the hang of it, you can make some pretty wild courses.
To go along with all of these tracks and track combinations, you have a bunch of different water conditions that you will have to conquer. The water varies from smooth and calm to slightly bumpy to serious waves. Also, the water can have some serious currents pushing or pulling you in different directions as well as having some drop offs that send your boat flying through the air. But that is not all. On the Hawaii track, you are racing through molten lava which is a sight to behold. Instead of splashing blue and white water, you send fire orange sparks flying off of you boat. Believe me, this is very cool looking.
Now let's talk about the racing itself. I mean, all of these boats, tracks and conditions sound cool but what if the racing sucks? Not to worry. The racing action is fast and furious. Actually, I may just go out on a limb here and say that the speed of this game is unmatched by any other PSX racer to date. You will be flying around the tracks and even on the easiest setting, you will be racing to the end. If you race on medium or hard, the game is very challenging and one wrong move could mean the difference between winning and losing. Oh yeah, did I mention that you have to finish in first place out of 15 other racers in order to advance? That is right, there are no top three advances. You either win the race or you start over.
As for controlling your boat, it definitely takes some getting used to. First and foremost, if you have not already bought a Dual Shock Analog Controller, I suggest you pick one up for this game alone. It is unquestionably the best game when it comes to the shock technology. To give you an example, you will be driving along on water that has a slight chop to it. You really can't tell by looking at the water but the shock controller gives you just the right amount of vibration to let you know that you are hitting the waves. When the water gets a bit rougher, the vibration gets stronger. Like I said, this game uses the shock technology best to date. Anyway, back to the controls. You will need to practice this game for quite some time before you are really able to be competitive on the harder skill levels. It takes a combination of banking (L1 or R1) and turning (left analog stick) to make your way around some corners and you must master the turning techniques or you will not stand a chance.
So where does the Turbo in Turbo Prop Racing come from you ask? Good question and the answer is simple: It comes from the green buoys that are scattered across the track. All you have to do is drive over these and you will have a turbo boost at you disposal. You can only hold three boosts at a time so it is best to use them quickly because there are plenty to be found. Sounds too easy right? Well, to combat the turbos, there are red buoys scattered about as well. These red buoys counteract the turbos. This means that if you have one turbo and you hit a red buoy, you will lose your turbo. What happens if you don't have any turbos and you hit a red buoy? The next turbo you get will erase your red and then the second green buoy will add a turbo. If you hit three red buoys before getting a green, your boat will slow down for a couple of seconds. Why not just avoid the red buoys? Good luck! When you are flying at speeds upwards of 300 MPH, you will be very hard pressed to get out of the way of them plus you will also be fighting the currents which are usually pulling you towards them. Trust me, it is not as easy as it sounds. Also, you will find yellow buoys along the track. If you collect five yellows and finish in first place, you will open a bonus track. This bonus track allows you to pick one of the three aspects of your boat to upgrade. If you select to upgrade your speed, for example, you will drive through the speed gate at the beginning of the level. Once inside the level, you must collect 5 yellow buoys before the time expires. If you succeed, you will win the upgrade.
I really did not have any major complaints about this game. The only thing that did bother me a little was that it was pretty easy to get turned around. Also, I found myself flipped up on shore a few times and had trouble working myself out of it. Also, along these same lines, when I hit a large drop off, I would always flip my boat or at least end up out of control for no apparent reason. These things were pretty minor but I still think they were a problem.
Everybody talks about things being arcade perfect when it comes to translations of games. Since this game did not have an arcade counterpart, I think that they could port this from the PSX to arcade and make it PSX perfect. What I am getting at is this game looks like a game you would find at an arcade. It uses the PSX high resolution mode and it really shows. The best way to describe the look is that it is shiny or glossy looking. You know how arcade games have that shine or glossy look that you never really get on a console? This game has that look. Also, this game conveys speed like no other. Try playing this game from the first person perspective and you will quickly learn what 60 FPS really means.
With the arcade like graphics, intense speed and great competition, Turbo Prop Racing may well be one of my favorite racing games in quite some time. Do yourself a favor and play it with a Dual Shock controller so you can really get the total package. I think the Fractal Generator makes the game worthy of a purchase in itself. I mean, how may other games out there give you over one million tracks? None that I can think of.
Download Turbo Prop Racing
Turbo Prop Racing is the newest addition to the growing motorboat racing genre. Six environments (Alaska, Miami, Costa Rica, etc.) and 18 different track combinations provide the catalyst for this high-speed water extravaganza. Race these tracks with up to 10 different craft ranked by the usual speed, handling and acceleration classifications.
What to expect? Good speed emulation and plenty of icon grabbin' to keep those speeds alive. Also get ready for wide-banked tracks complete with long sweeping curves to accommodate the pace as well as the nudging competition. As for the water effects--it's no Wave Race but then again the PlayStation can only handle so much polygon manipulation. Dual Shock compatibility provides precise steering not to mention quite a bit of vibration due to the thrashing water.
At this point the focus of the game is where it should be--the racing gameplay.
Your eyes will dart between navigating the course and spotting the next competitor to pass. And that, my friends, is the sign of a good racer. Even though this game has been previously released in Europe as Rapid Racer, it looks quite good in its second incarnation here in the States.
Turbo Prop Racing reminds me a little bit of Jet Moto. Both games are kind of fun (or at least competent) but they don't quite take it over the top. In other words, they're middle of the road, or perhaps just mediocre. That's not to say TPR doesn't have some nice features and redeeming value cause it does--especially when compared to Interplay's less-than-stellar Power Boat Racing (don't get them confused). I won't even go there...but I will say TPR does a much better job of creating the sensation of speed and agility on water than PBR did. Granted the water effects are still well below Wave Race 64 quality, but they're not bad, especially in light of the PlayStation's leaner processing power. I found most of the courses playable, with the emphasis on the racing gameplay rather than the aesthetics of the courses. That, to me, is why you play a racing game. (Go figure?) Unfortunately some tracks (Canyon and Glacier Bay for example) are just too damn narrow and volatile to race well. These are a loss as far as I'm concerned. Still others provide the perfect water-way for flat-out speed and competition. Most importantly the game-play and the frame-rate are both pretty good. Without these elements Turbo Prop would be betow par, but happily they're present, making this a decent water racer all around.
The first thing that strikes me about Turbo Prop Racing is its graphics. There's not much bad about them other than the polygonal break-up that occurs at times with the water. But as we all know graphics only go so far. The game's control just doesn't feel right in both Analog and Digital Modes, and in a racing game control is everything. I always end up getting spun around for no good reason. It's one to try--not one to buy.
This forgettable, vaguely WipeOut-jsh racer just doesn't do anything for me. Its Al is frus-tratingly cheap. It needs more tracks. And it most definitely needs better control. It took me an unreasonably long time to get used to my boat's squirrely handling--and even then I found it too easy to get thrown into the wrong direction. On the plus side, you get some cool multiplayer options, and the hi-res graphics look very nice.
I remember when this came out in the U.K. a year ago under the name Rapid Racer...and as far as I can tell, nothing has changed apart from the name. Turbo Prop is significantly better than Powerboat Racing (that's not saying much), but it still suffers, t mean, really, who's interested in racing boats? Imagine a slow-ish car racing game with terrible handling and blue, wobbly tarmac and you’ll know what to expect.
Although struggling to stay afloat, Turbo Prop Racing sinks to unrecoverable depths because of terrible graphics and controls.
The object of this racing game is simple enough: Power your turbo-fueled watercraft to first place through the wild waters of places such as Miami and Alaska. Unfortunately, thanks to their lack of depth and definition, the rivers you race on look disturbingly like long slabs of cement. Plus, the water spray you churn up during turns looks very much like feebly carbonating fizz.
The sounds never rise above average and the controls are way too sensitive (even with the analog controller), which makes racing in the already arduous turns a difficult task and adds to game's general frustration level. With such severe visual and control maladies, Turbo Prop doesn't even come close to crossing the finish line.
- PROTIP: Save at least one turbo for blasting to the finish line.