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Speed Racer DVD Review - -

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 8.1
Sound 7.9
Value 8.4
Distributor: Warner Bros
Eddie Millarion


Speed Racer

Players will be able to take on the role of the characters from the film, getting behind the wheels of each characters signature vehicles to experience firsthand the films high adrenaline, combative racing style. The car-fu style of action within the game will closely represent the action style being designed by the Wachowski brothers for the film itself as they lend direction and assets to the development team directly from their Berlin set. John Gaeta, a long time Wachowski collaborator and Co-VFX Supervisor on the Speed Racer film, is working with Sidhe and WBIE to assist in maintaining a close film-to-game aesthetic connection.

Speed Racer is based on the upcoming Hollywood movie that is soon to be released in Australia and is a remake of the original 1960's cartoon series of the same name. The actors of the movie also lend their voices to the game and the developers have also managed to successfully recreate the various stadiums in the movie which almost come alive on the Nintendo Wii.

In its essence, Speed Racer is reminiscent of games such as Wipeout with elements of F-Zero GX and Burnout which puts the gamer in control of these high powered futuristic cars that race at insanely ridiculous speeds.

Where the game does come into its own is through the introduction of "Car-Fu", think of Kung-Fu for cars where the player can perform a variety of different maneuvers such as shunts, flips, torpedoes and smack downs which all assist in you winning the race.

There is a catch of course that other players in the title can also use this functionality to hamper your racing style. With a variety of powerups littered throughout the roller coaster inspired tracks that allow you to race past other players, our initial thoughts of the game was that it was quite entertaining.

As you engage in the Championship mode of Speed Racer, you are initially racing it out against 12 different racers, however as you progress, the ante is upped to a maximum of 20 racers per race which makes some riveting and sometimes frustrating gameplay. The title also contains a time attack and an entertaining split-screen multiplayer mode, however there is no online play which is unfortunate as it would have been one thrilling online experience.

The developers have created a rather sturdy Ally/Rival system that allows you to make some alliances before the race in order to assist or hamper other racers, however the more alliances you have, the more limiting your Car-Fu powers become. To compound the situation, the more rivals you have, the more Car-Fu attacks your character will be subjected to so it's a careful balance between rivals and allies in order to truly master the race. 

Apart from Car-Fu, the gamer must also drafting or slipstreaming as it is known in Speed Racer which allows you to increase your speeds, however it infuriates the characters that you perform this maneuver on. The game also has "boost" available to his car and through smooth driving and using Car-Fu, this increases your boost meter and puts you in the Zone that makes you immune to Car-Fu attacks. Your car has a health meter and when players use Car-Fu on you, this decreases your health until you eventually explode, so fortunately you can use your boosts as health to replenish your health.

The control system of Speed Racer is perfect on the Nintendo Wii and even if you don't have a Wii wheel available, you can still play the game successfully with the Wii controller. By holding the control on the side like a wheel, by moving the controller to the left or right, this will cause your car to move either direction and the buttons are used for speed, boost and Car-Fu powers.  Needless to say, the control system has been perfectly mapped and makes this quite an enjoyable game.

Graphically, the game is visually impressive on the Nintendo Wii with a psychedelic roller coaster atmosphere that assists with the sense of speed and distance as you race at insane speeds. The cars are quite well detailed and almost have that Saturday morning cartoon aspect to them that when matches with a variety of special effects, pays true homage to the upcoming movie.

The characters almost look like their real-world counterparts and at the end of the day, the game is very Nintendo Wii looking not that there is anything wrong with that. The musical score of the game has been taken from the movie with the actors lending their voices to the game which goes hand-in-hand with the gameplay and graphics.

In conclusion, Speed Racer is an entertaining racing game with great control and some truly innovative and interesting gameplay modes. The graphics are quite impressive, however my only complaint is that many of the tracks look similar which is a shame but at the end of the day, Speed Racer is one of the better racing games available on the Wii which use the control system to its advantage and gives the gamer some great racing entertainment.


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