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Hi-Octane is an intense combat racing game where you can either race to be the winner with the fastest time or race a Death Match until there is only one person left who hasn't been destroyed. Races are held in a canyon on dirt roads, pavement, or snow on nine different race tracks each having a name: Amazon Delta Turnpike, Trans-Asia Interstate, Shanghai Dragon, New Chernobyl Central, Slam Canyon, Thrak City, Ancient Mine Town, Arctic Land, and the Death Match Arena. The six cars which you have to choose range from looking like a regular car (the KD-1 Speeder) to a truck (Juga) with others looking like small jets.
There are six different races available from the Race Menu. A Championship race will take you through all nine tracks, while the Single race will let you choose one of the nine tracks for just one race against the other seven computer opponents. The Clone race allows you to race against yourself permitting you or a friend to try and beat your best lap. This is the most challenging option since you are constantly competing against your best lap time ever. The Hot Seat option allows up to seven players to compete in a race at once. Each player uses the same control pad and plays for the amount of time you selected. The other players are controlled with an autopilot while they are not in control. To switch between players, a countdown is shown on the screen with the name of the next player to take control of the pad. I didn't find this option to be as fun as when you can stay in control throughout the whole race. A better option for a two player game is the Split Screen Single Race. Just as its title suggests, the screen is split into two and you race together in a single race. The last option is the Death Match where instead of rushing for the finish line, you concentrate all your efforts on killing the other opponents. The match is held in the Death Match Arena which is basically one long stretch of road with high curves at either end. It reminds me of something you would find for a skateboarding contest.
Each track contains three types of service stations where you can refuel your vehicle with gas, recharge the shields, and replenish ammunition supplies. Your fuel, shield, and ammunition levels are displayed at the top of the screen in purple, green and yellow bars respectively. On the road you'll find diamond-shaped power up that will provide you with 10, 100 or 200 percent of either fuel, ammunition, or shields. There are also minigun, rocket and boost upgrades on road, and the current status of each is also displayed on the screen. Arrows are drawn on the road's surface to show in which direction you should be traveling which comes in handy when you spin out and lose yourself. Road signs will point you to the service stations. Other information contained on the screen is your current position in the race, number of laps completed, your lap times, and a small track map in the lower right corner.
There are three views in which you can choose from while playing the game. Two of the views are from behind your vehicle with one them being further away than the other, and the third view is what you could see from the drivers seat. I found it was much easier to control the vehicle with the first person perspective view from the drivers seat. When other cars are within a good distance for firing on them, a green autotarget will appear. When the autotarget turns red, this means that you are able to shoot your best shot against them providing a direct hit. When your own car receives a direct hit, the windshield will crack with a bullet hole going through it.
The graphics are real smooth and fluid providing a realistic impression of actually hovering over the ground. The 3D textured graphics morph in real time and can sometimes provide small glitches when you drive too close to the edge of the track, wall or another obstacle. These are small glitches and won't bother someone who is in control of their vehicle. I did, however, run into a bug once. While approaching a station to recharge my shields, I smashed into another vehicle that was already in the station. My vehicle came to a complete stop and I was no longer able to move forward, staying stuck in the same spot. This only happened once and since it wasn't a good game, it didn't bother me. But, had it been a great game with good lap times, I would have been quite frustrated.
The sound is upbeat and provides a good atmosphere for the game. When other vehicles are within proximity a "beep, beep" alarm will sound. I found this alarm to be a bit of a pain with its constant beeping. The volume level can be adjusted between zero and sixteen in the options menu.
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