Crash, bash, roll and drift your way to victory.From a selection of rides based on speed, acceleration, drifting skills and handling, you choose your car and take to the track, whizzing around a range of expertly designed and finely detailed courses, pulling off stunts along the way and bumping, smashing and flipping other racers out of the way as you hurtle at blistering speeds toward the finishing line.
Stunting plays a huge part in each race and ultimately it’s what makes the game exciting and stand out from other bog-standard racers. Not only do the cars handle impeccably as you drift around the tracks, roaring over ramps and down steep inclines, but the feeling of speed has been accurately captured and the track design, which is somewhat reminiscent of the WipEout games, compliments the action perfectly.
Speed Racer also has a bit of the 'Mario Kart's' about it. In fact, I’d say that the speed of the race sits somewhere between the 150cc races in Mario Kart and the blistering speeds of WipeOut. There’s also a little bit of both titles in the track design, with the futuristic weaving and looping tracks of WipeOut, combined with the half-pipe style barriers on Mario Kart that you can utilise to hurtle high into the air and flip off, gaining boost when you land.
There’s loop-the-loops, multiple pathways through the race-tracks allowing you to take shortcuts to the finishing line,vertical drops, 90-degree angled sections and a whole host of ramps allowing you to take-off and perform a range of stunts.
The controls, which are totally customizable, are simple to use and map well to the DS, with the ‘A’ being used to accelerate, ‘L’ button to drift and brake, ‘X’ button to spin and ‘R’ button to boost and there’s also some nice touches as you speed around the track, such as barrier grinding which can send your car spinning across the road, and spin attacks that you can pull off when you pass another vehicle to sending them careering off the road.
As you overtake vehicles, there’s also an interesting little side game that you can activate called 'Car-Fu'. You press the 'B' button when prompted and the action on the race-track stops briefly for a moment. You then need to press the button at the exact time that a moving circle stops in the centre segment of a bar. The first out of the two players to stop the circle in the correct place will cause the other player to spin out.
When you’re whizzing around the tracks at high speed, the cars handle really well, the controls feel intuitive and the drifting, boosting, stunting , battling and grinding against the CPU cars for position, as they too try and outdo your stunts and blast you off the track, is as fun as it is visually impressive.
The tiny screenshots don't do the game justice. Visually, the game is extremely appealing with razer-sharp colouful visuals, fine background details and blurring effects that help to give you the feeling of acceleration. Despite the speed of the race and the quality of the visuals there are no frame rate issues to hamper the experience and the result is a smooth race and an exhilarating ride.
With online multiplayer Speed Racer would be a must-buy for any fan of the racing genre. As it stands, it’s still an accomplished combat racing title and a very enjoyable ride.
It's fast and furious
Great track design
Controls are smooth
Stunts add extra dimension to gameplay
No online multiplayer
Impressively fast and good looking, Speed Racer is an exhilarating ride on DS.