Re-Volt Download (1999 Sports Game)

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While Re-Volt is a beauty to look at, it will unfortunately tax any but the biggest and best PCs out there. Even though I was playing it on a 333 Mhz system with 96 MB of RAM and 4 MB of video RAM, the frame rate was frustratingly choppy and the gameplay was sluggish.

I thought the concept was spectacular: a racing game in which the player controls a remote-controlled car and zooms through everyday environments such as a museum, grocery store, suburban neighborhood, and so forth. Another game called 3D Ultra Radio Control Racers was released by Sierra at around the same time this one hit store shelves, but this take on the idea is far superior. It's a lot of fun to zip under cars parked at the curb and fly past the frozen food section in a brightly colored RC car which makes that unmistakable buzzing sound.

Like many racing games of its ilk, Re-Volt has power-ups which the player can grab along the way to zap other cars. Unlike its competitors, however, you get a random power-up when you pass under a lightning bolt; you might get a power boost in the form of a battery or three water balloons to fire at the lead cars or any number of boosts. You never know what you're going to get, which keeps the element of surprise intact; it's even possible to leave a faux power-up icon behind you which will explode if another car touches it.

The level of detail in this game is simply incredible. You can hear kids playing as you race around the neighborhood, and you can see your car's reflection in the tiled floors in the museum. Hitting another car with a bottle rocket sends up a shower of multi-colored sparks, and a car which hits a fake lightning bolt gets tossed into the air on the force of an orange-red explosion. The developers did a great job of really making you feel like you had shrunk down to the size of an action figure and hopped in an RC car for some racing. I'm sure many kids (as well as adults with a kid in them still alive and kicking) have wished they could do it, and now they can get pretty close to the feeling.

There is a good variety of cars to choose from when the game starts with more which can be unlocked as the player wins races and championships. There are also plenty of tracks which can be unlocked, and the developers hid stars in the courses which can be collected to uncover even more hidden stuff. Players which enjoy a challenge will find themselves occupied for a long time with Re-Volt.

I just hope they have a high end system or they may find the choppiness of the game too much to bear. It can be frustrating cruising along and then having the frame rate go into slow motion when too much happens on the screen at once. Acclaim says that 4 MB of video RAM is the minimum required but recommends 12 MB. I can't imagine that there are many gamers in the late 1990s with that kind of power in their systems. Unless you do or plan on upgrading soon, this may be a title to hold off on until you can juice up your machine.

Graphics: Incredible graphics all around. Too bad they overwhelm many systems.

Sound: Lots of little details are here such as the distant sound of kids playing and the squeal of rubber tires on slick tiles. Great work all around.

Enjoyment: Even though the graphics and sound are incredible, I have to take points away here because of lousy frame rates.

Replay Value: If you have a powerful enough system, there's enough here to keep you busy for a long time, and when you get bored with the tracks which are included you can design your own or download more from the Acclaim web site.


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Road Rash, Ignition, Sega Rally Championship, Wipeout XL (a.k.a. Wipeout 2097), Need for Speed, The: Special Edition, Rally Championship, Moto Racer, Moto Racer 2


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