previews\ Nov 9, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Corvette - XB - Preview

A jet swoops in low over the road near High Plains Airbase East. The 1972 Corvette ZR1 slides into a corner, tires squealing in protest. A dark blue Vette gives the red ZR1 a nudge, sparks flying, but rather than throw it off, the nudge helps correct the slide and the sleek red machine guns it, and roars down the straight stretch of road.


Corvette is a typical racing program in many regards. The game, a pending Xbox release from TDK Mediactive and Steel Monkeys, does sport some solid if slightly unrealistic racing environments and the car dynamics seem very good. The title is also option rich, but the real attraction is contained all in the name of the game.


This is about Corvettes and racing them on a variety of tracks.


To that end the game has five car classes and several cars per class. If you pick the C1 (1953 to 1962) class, you can choose from the 1954 Corvette Roadster, the 1956 Corvette Convertible, or the 1962 Corvette Convertible. The ZR1 is contained in the Specials class of machine. There are a total of 80 cars available to drive.


The purpose of the game is rather simple – jump in a machine, hit the accelerator and try to beat your opponents to the finish line.


In the single-player game, the AI seems rather typical of the genre. Even if you lag behind at the start, you are never out of the race. The game is geared to keep the race interesting. In the career mode, you begin with the original car and try to race your way up the roster of automobiles by winning races.


Game modes features include an arcade mode, quick race, career mode (amateur and professional), special modes (hot lap challenge, custom Vette challenge, circuit endurance, Route 66 checkpoint, and Mother Road endurance), and multiplayer games. The game will support head-to-head racing, system link play and play over Xbox Live.


There are a total of 13 tracks, four courses per track. While some of the courses are set up for a race, others are more of the street racing style. There is traffic going in both directions and you are tasked with dodging cars and trucks in addition to outracing your opponent(s). Some elements are unrealistic. For example, on the airbase, rotating propellers hang over the track, but seem to offer little resistance to the cars flashing through them.


Corvette does change up the control configuration just a touch. The right trigger is to accelerate and the left is the brake. To reverse, you have to use the Y button on the Xbox controller.


The graphics in this game are solid. Not every clip results in a shower of sparks. And should you go into the car-hood perspective, looking over the front end of the car, and hit a wall, popping the machine into reverse and backing up, you will see the dust shoot up in a very realistic manner.


Damage seems to take its toll on the machines and the more walls you hit, or cars you ‘bump,’ the harder it is to control the vehicle.


The musical score of the game does little to drive the title. It is not bad, but just not overly inspiring. The rest of the audio is mostly angry motorists honking horns, the revving engines, and tires trying to grip the course.


Corvette is not a break-out game. It is very typical of the average car-racing titles on the market. Its draw will be the cars, and a bevy of tracks available. If you are passionate about Corvettes, this is the title for you. If you seek a broader range of drivable vehicles, you may want to hold out for some of the other titles coming out in the near future.


This title will be released on not only the Xbox, but on the Playstation2 and GameCube console platforms as well.

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