You've seen racing games before, in arcades or on your favorite console, but you've never seen anything like Speedbusters from UbiSoft, a racing game with a difference that's easy to feel but difficult to define.
Like other games, from OutRun upwards, Speedbusters very easy to pick up. You just choose your car, the track, the weather, and then drive. Like other games, you pick up cash prizes at the end of each race and can use them to improve your car. You won't be surprised to read that there are six tracks, plus a bonus hidden track, and four modes of play (including online with your internet buddies).
The difference is in the way that Speedbusters takes itself, which is none too seriously. The graphics and speed of the game are, beyond question, absolutely excellent - especially if you've got a 3dfx card or a graphics card that will support Direct3D. The gameplay is worthy as well. You'll play it again and again.
But... have you ever driven down the street and suddenly seen a dinosaur lumber across the road? Have you ever seen potholes or manhole covers loosen and spew water skywards just before you reach them?
That's the fun difference that makes Speedbusters so special. The cars, landscapes and scenarios are varied and the graphics wonderful, but the sense of fun built into the game is unique. You'll have a fast and furious time with SpeedBusters - but only if you have a competent graphics card. If you've got a puny PC with little video memory, forget it.
Graphics: Wonderful - a sense of panic when you're losing....
Sound: Atmospheric...great fun
Enjoyment: You never know what to expect
Replay Value: Next time, will I hit that dinosaur?
At first I thought this was going to be just another arcade racing game pumped out by the company for a few bucks. I was very wrong. Speed Busters is an arcade racing game yes, but it is a really, really fun game at that. Most other games will include a few nice things to make the game look good, but this game has a lot of features that make it really stand out from other games. From a rolling boulder to skins on the cars, the added extras are a lot of fun. The point behind racing in the game even has an interesting twist to it, which is that the cops are giving out money for those that have the fastest speed at certain parts of the race. Now if that were true in reality, life would be much more fun.
The game box boasts nice graphics and great racing, but that certainly is not all. I'm not sure where to begin, but the cars themselves seem to be a good start. There are several cars in the game, modeled after ones from different time eras, from the 1950's to the 1990's. Each car can be upgraded and modified to include different things such as spoilers, blowers, and more exhaust pipes. The paint job of the car can also be modified to either have a skin or just a color. There are many more upgrades, but I can't go into all of them.
The racetracks themselves are full of obstacles and secret routes that are not easy to get to. Jumps, tight turns, and cities are all included. If you're good enough, you can even get to the mystery track and mystery car. The various kinds of racing available are arcade, championship, over the Internet, and with another computer.
The gameplay is rather nice for this game. Racing is not difficult at all, as long as you use the handbrake to make powerslides. In most other games, you can not really go off the track, but Speed Busters allows you to fly off the edge of a cliff and plummet down, jump hills, take the curves so tight that you'll be half on and half a cliff, and even fall into lava. The car doesn't flip too often, but it will do spins and roll over if you hit things right. The cars skid and slide depending on your tires, the ground, your speed, and number of other factors. Be careful not to use the handbrake too much, otherwise you'll powerslide yourself right into a spin.
The competition is done rather well also. The enemy cars know how to race and will challenge you good. If they are racing too well, then they can easily be knocked off the road, or even a cliff.
The graphics were superb and were very well done. Every detail seemed to be paid attention to, from the lights of the car to damage taken when hitting things. As the car takes damage, depending on where it is hit, you'll see the parts fly off or things get bent in. With a Voodoo2, the corona from the headlights, taillights, and exhaust are really nice. The windows of the car are transparent, and you can see the driver. There are so many good details that they can't be all listed, but the graphics engine, needless to say, was very well done. The available graphical options for the game are numerous and allow for a lot of tweaking, even so, you wouldn't want to turn any of the features off.
The sound effects of the game were good, but the part of the sounds that got me the most was the ambiance. While in the waiting screens you hear a little music, kind of like the music one would hear if they were watching a movie about people lost in the desert. It was very cool. The rest of the game was done well, and I can't really say anything bad about the sounds.
Overall, this is fun, nice, and pretty game. Racing fans will love the physics and sheer intensity of the whole game, while those who like good detail in game will get a kick out of it as well. Ubi soft has really done well with this game and it shows in so many areas. The available options and upgrades for the cars made it really fun, while the graphics made it look spectacular. Bottom line - this is game you could play for a while and always having fun.
How to run this game on modern Windows PC?
People who downloaded Speed Busters: American Highways (a.k.a. Speed Devils) have also downloaded:
Speed Demons, SpyHunter, Screamer, Need for Speed: High Stakes, Sinistar Unleashed, Resident Evil, Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit, WipEout
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