Rage Racer



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Here comes another racing game! Does this one have the horsepower to outdistance the competition? Are the physics 100% realistic? Is it fun? And most importantly - Who is that beautiful young woman in Namco's ad for Rage Racer -and- is she in the game? Well, buckle up as we speed down to the Finish Line in search of the answers.

There are 13 cars in 4 different performance classes:

1. Gnade (Germany) - offers a balance between acceleration, speed, and handling.
2. Lizard (U.S.) - a stock car with the best acceleration in straight-aways and on hills.
3. Age (France) - a sports car that provides the best handling on winding mountain roads.
4. Assoluto (Italy) - a speed machine that blows the competition away on the oval track.

The races all start at the same location and then branch off to four different tracks of varying length. The shortest and fastest track is the Extreme Oval which is 1.9 miles. The longest track is 4.13 miles. The tracks offer different challenges such as hairpin turns or steep grades. Each track has unique geographical features such as those found on the Greek coastline or on the streets of San Francisco.

Rage Racer features two racing options: Time Attack and Grand Prix. Time Attack allows you to practice without competition on the tracks and race against the clock. Grand Prix however, is what Rage Racer is all about. To reach the Grand Prix race you must successfully complete five levels. There are three races in the first level and then four races in each of the following levels. Each level gets progressively harder. You must finish in the top three to advance to the next race. If you do place in the top three, you earn a Track Medallion and money. If you don't place, you get five chances before it's "Game Over". A Trophy is awarded after completing each level. After completing the Grand Prix race you can re-start at the first level and race around the tracks in the opposite direction.

The money you win can be used to tune up your car or to buy a new car. It takes a lot of bucks to buy a new car so you're better off tuning up your existing car. A tune up will upgrade your cars speed, handling and performance. You can choose between a manual or automatic transmission in most cars. You also have five tire selections available to suit your style of driving and the current track.

The sweetest part of Rage Racer is the ability to fully customize your cars appearance. Go to the Paint Shop and select the body and accent colors of your choice. There are 324 possible color combinations. Create your Team Name and it appears on the windshield. Pick or design your own original Team Logo. There's unlimited fun designing that special car just for you.

That beautiful young woman in Namco's Rage Racer ad is Reiko Nagase. You'll see her in the opening animation and at the start of each race. There's even a logo of her lovely face you can place on your car.

When you're ready to race you have a choice of two driving views: behind the wheel or an exterior view behind the car. The behind the wheel view is one of the best you'll find in any racing game. There's even an incredible rear view mirror. Driving displays include: tachometer, speedometer, and gear position. Other displays show lap times, your ranking and current position.

The game includes eight controller options for both the standard controller and the neGcon controller. The game auto-detects the neGcon controller and has a screen to adjust the amount of play and maximum twist in the steering. If you don't own Namco's neGcon controller you may want to get one for Rage Racer as it makes driving a pleasurable experience. Current street price for the neGcon is $29.95 and it's worth every penny.

The graphics are simply drop-dead gorgeous starting with the opening animation. Fantastic eye candy! You'll see beautifully detailed buildings, tunnels and mountains. Nice touches include: a sidewalk cafe, a plane flying over the track, the Goodyear blimp, a waterfall, and reflecting pools of water. The sky changes with the time of day. Ominous clouds will have you looking for the wiper switch. After you successfully complete a race there's a Replay feature which allows you to do some sight-seeing.

The sound effects are absolutely top-notch. You can shift gears just by listening to the sound of your engine as the RPMs increase. When you drive through a tunnel the roar of your engine reverberates off the walls. These and other remarkable sound effects contribute to an exciting environment. The soundtrack is your standard fare of rocking race music. Nothing spectacular here that would make you want to put a quarter in the juke box to hear one of these tunes. But there are nine tracks and you can select your favorite for racing.

Although there aren't many negative aspects in Rage Racer, it is still interesting to mention them. First, the physics are not 100% realistic. Second, Rage Racer is a single player only game. Third, your car doesn't take damage with parts flying off and there's no crash and burn. Fourth, if you get too close to the edge of the track, you will hit an invisible barrier. Finally, other cars plow into your rear and mysteriously jump in front of you. The preceding do not take away from the enjoyment of the game, but if these things are important to you, you should really look for a real racing car.

Game play can be summed up in three words, "FUN FUN FUN". It's a sheer delight to race around the tracks. The frustration level is practically non-existent, and the more you play Rage Racer the better it gets.


The Finish Line: And the winner is...Rage Racer! Great graphics, sound, thrills, fun and addictive game play. Great replay value. Absolutely the best racing game available today. A classic you'll want to add to your game collection.

Written by Blaine


Overall: ****1/2

In North America:

Namco Hometek, Inc.,
150 Charcot Ave., Suite A,
San Jose, CA 95131-1102

Web site: Namco

In Europe

In UK:

Namco Limited,
25/27 Mossop Street,
Knightsbridge, London SW3 2LY

In Asia

In Japan:

Namco Limited,
2-1-21, Yaguchi, Ota-Ku,
Tokyo, Japan

Web site: Namco Japan

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