Wednesday 31 December 2014

Rock 'N' Roll Racing Review (Gameboy Advance)

Rock N Roll Racing started life back in the 16-bit days of the Super Nintendo and Mega Drive. At the time it was a breath of fresh air across a very arid landscape of numerous Mario Kart clones. Indeed, with tongue firmly placed in cheek, it seems once again it is time to drop into the world of mullets and nitros... Now come on, with a combination like that, how could you go wrong?

The story goes that in 2833, intelligent life was found on the planet of Bogmire. The inhabitants of this strange world became addicted to the art of racing and started using souped-up cars to bomb around the planet. Something else that caught on quickly was Earth's rock music and thus from these strange beginnings the Rock N Roll Racing Commission was created. Set across six planets each with a whole host of tracks, Rock N Roll Racing is good over-the-top racing fun.

After selecting your racer of choice players must battle against three other opponents with the aim of collecting enough points at the end of the season to qualify for the next planet. Far from being a simple case of racing around the circuit, tracks are often reminiscent of a battleground with both cars and terrain capable of blowing an opponent into a different universe. Cars come in four different types, starting with a sand buggy-type contraption and working up to a full-on battle hovercraft.

Each vehicle can have numerous things added to it in order to help you through - these include mines, missiles, nitros, better tyres, and thicker armour. But the real skill comes in being able to take on opponents with as little as possible, as when you reach a new planet one of the opponents will have a new car meaning you need to upgrade - and rest assured these contraptions do not come cheap.

In terms of cosmetic issues everything is faithful to the original game. In fact this title is more or less identical in every way to the Rock N Roll Racing of years gone by, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Different planets are varied and contain a fair amount of detail both on and around the track and the isometric racing viewpoint acts well to keep players going where they should be. Cars look rockin' enough to fit in with the premise of the title and it all moves along at a breakneck speed without any problem.

Of course, the gimmick of the game is the soundtrack and though only a minor point it really helps to make the game seem that little bit more over-the-top. While jamming round the track with missiles flying and parts of cars littering the corners, the tunes of "Born To Be wild" and "Paranoid" (among others) blast out over the action. Obviously, the Gameboy can't cope with complete songs, so instead we get an instrumental version, but it's effective nonetheless.

Along with the music comes an incredible enthusiastic commentary that runs through each race. Coming out with phrases such as "Let the carnage begin!" and "Tarquinn lights him up!", it is undoubtedly cheesy but then again if you buy a game called Rock N Roll Racing, what exactly were you expecting? The commentary helps keep the fun in the title along with many other little touches that create something which endeavours to make you smile more often than not.

Accompanying the decent graphics and sound is a solid handling model and responsive control setup. The cars are a joy to drive and very easy to get to grips with. After your first race you should be able to grasp the controls enough to be able to fire well-aimed shots at your opponents while taking a ninety-degree corner. Indeed after a few races - as well as fighting off the other racers - you will find yourself trying to grab all the extra money packages laid around the courses as well and while the action can become a touch samey due to the fact certain tracks must be raced upon more than once, nothing really takes away from the feeling that you are having a lot of fun.

In conclusion, Rock N Roll Racing gets away with being a straight port of a fun, over-the-top and cheese-filled experience. It will not change the world but if you are after a game that offers nothing but pure enjoyment then you cannot really go wrong with this reincarnation.

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