Racing onto your PlayStation is Crave Entertainment's Killer Loop, a futuristic racing game that has about as much horsepower as a tricycle. This lackluster game actually fits its namesake as it looks good on the outside but has absolutely nothing in the middle -- a loop.
The options are limited from the get-go as you're given two gameplay modes in which to choose, a Championship league and a Time Trial. Time Trial is a simple race against the clock featuring three laps and an overall objective of scoring a record lap/track time. On the other hand, the Championship mode lets you race against computerized AI opponents in a series of tough races that award points for game progression. If you manage to qualify for the harder courses, you can unlock the Killer Loop and 25% Faster modes. These should have been standard gameplay options rather than "hidden". Killer Loop also suffers from the absence of a multi-player mode; I don't know what the developers were thinking when they decided to omit this relatively standard feature.
The above omission is ridiculous as any credible racer in 1999 had some sort of multi-player option for two to four players. Seeing the One-Player label on the back of the jewel case was laughable! What kind of racing audience are they trying to sell this to?
There is also an array of weapons and pickup gadgets that you'll want to master for progression to later courses. The magnet is the most important item as it helps you navigate turns and maneuver sharp hairpin corners. If you cannot master the magnet tool, you'll have very little success in the overly hard Championship mode. While there are weapons scattered throughout the tracks, the various missiles and shields are limited in quantity. The weapons are fairly easy to use; missiles destroy your targets while shields protect your tripod (vehicle) from harm.
This brings up another chip on the negative pile -- the weak/lacking gameplay mechanics. While individual races are somewhat enjoyable with fun collisions and weapons, the lack of consistently solid controls and an awkward magnet tool makes for a sticky playing experience. The magnet tool took this reviewer a while to learn and turning the vehicle was a generally mediocre experience. Though the included weapons are decent, there aren't enough of them.
Killer Loop's strongest area is the visuals. The vehicles look fairly detailed while the various tracks and backgrounds are very pleasant to look at. Lighting effects, such as the speed burst, have been used effectively and portray a sense of realism on the track. Unfortunately, the game doesn't move with the same fluidity of a Wipeout game and the framerate is somewhat low. It doesn't hold much of a candle to the latter series or the Nintendo 64's Extreme-G in speed or smoothness.
Working our way through the technical side of things, the sound effects (or lack thereof) are average at best. Used few and far between, the voice samples and various effects are minimal resulting in a boring and repetitive sounding race. While the music helps you get into the action a little, it doesn't have the intensity as the fierce techno soundtracks in the aforementioned games. Those games feature musical tracks that pull you into the atmosphere that is being presented; Killer Loop lacks the fast, intense beats required to get your adrenaline pumping.
In conclusion, Killer Loop is littered with problems and many shortcomings. It isn't a contender in the fierce racing market as it lacks basic academics and elements that many players expect a game to have; instead, it lacks a multi-player mode, has sub-par sound effects, shoddy control, and a lack of weapons. With these things included or improved, this game might have drawn a higher rating.
Graphics: The visuals are Killer Loop's strongest point. There are some good looking levels and vehicles in which to choose with adequate light sourcing. Unfortunately, the framerate isn't blazingly fast and lacks fluidity.
Sound: There is very little in the way of vocal samples and sound effects. The soundtrack is merely average as it fails to get your adrenaline pumping. Nothing intense in this department.
Enjoyment: With very few weapons, shoddy control and a non-existent multi-player mode, there isn't much to enjoy. What were the developers thinking?
Replay Value: There are two extra gameplay options that are unlocked by precision racing in the Championship mode. The Killer Loop mode should have been a standard feature with the 25% Faster option being a bonus.
People who downloaded Killer Loop have also downloaded:
Joint Strike Fighter, Jane's WWII Fighters, London Racer: World Challenge, Leadfoot: Stadium Off Road Racing, Le Mans 24 Hours, Heavy Gear 2, Insane (a.k.a. 1nsane), KA-50 Hokum
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