reviews\ Dec 8, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Drome Racers - PS2 - Review

It is the year 2015, and the world's population is into new and thrilling forms of entertainment. Drome is the new rage across the world; people can watch it via the TV or the Internet. People travel from around the world, to this place, to participate in this extreme racing game. There are millions of cameras everywhere to watch every move that the racers make. Drome is an entire city dedicated to racing, and in the center there is a tower called Dromulus's lair. It is like a giant sundial, which reminds the teams that every minute they spend tuning their car can mean success or failure in the next match. This sport is about winning or losing, it is about taking pride from beating the best in the world.

There are three main modes for the game: Quick Race, Arcade, and Career. In quick race, players will be able to play alone or with a friend, and immediately jump into a game; all of the cars and racetracks are randomly chosen. Arcade is another game where players can play by themselves or with a friend. This time players get more choices before each game such as: how many laps, routes, time limits, car select, and many more.

Career mode is the meat and potatoes of the game. Players take on the role of Max Axel, who has just joined with Team Nitro. The goal of the game is to take Team Nitro from the Novice Championship and to win the Drome Championship. There are many things to do in this mode such as visit the Pits, talk with Rocket, or save your game. In the Pits players will be able to: change cars, upgrade the cars, or build a new car from scratch. Rocket is the driving guru of the team; he will give you pointers on how to be the best racer on the team.

During the course of the game players can upgrade their cars or build a new. The parts that can be upgraded are: the engine, turbo, aerodynamics, tires, and armor. The engine will increase your top speed and turbo will give the cars a great boost of acceleration. The Aerodynamics will cut out wind resistance, and give the cars better handling. The better tires player's purchase, the easier it will be when they are cornering. The armor will help reduce the damage they receive from collisions and missile attacks. Building a new car, gives the players a few more options. This procedure for upgrading is tremendously basic in comparison to other racing games such as Grand Turismo and Tokyo Xtreme Racer.

There are many power-ups spread across each race. These include missiles, mines, force files, flares, and other things. They are hidden in green and red orbs, so players will not know what they are getting until they actually pick it up.

The graphics for the game are decent but not great. What makes the graphics engine shine is it ability to show off many special effects, such as bellowing smoke from the cars, dust on the tires from the road, and fires on the cars. Drome Racer has a good drawn-in distance, which results in very little popup. An interesting thing about the game is the when players are hit with a power-up, or collide with an object; the car will take damage, making it harder to control.

Drome Racers feel sluggish while trying to drive the cars. It will take players some time to master the controls, as everything seems to float. The track design is well done, with plenty of curves and inclines, but it is not too hard to overcome. The hardest part will be mastering the art of cornering. What is nice is that every so often, to prevent Drome Racers from becoming monotonous; there are drag racing segments, which are fun to take part in.

Drome Racers is rated E for Everyone for mild violence. It will take up to 50kb on your memory card.

Gameplay: 6.0
The controls feel a little sluggish, and it will take a while to get used to it. Once players master them, they will be winning the races in no time.

Graphics: 6.2
The graphics are simple, but they offer lots of nice little special effects. What is with the extremely long load times?

Sound: 5.8
The soundtrack, voices, and sound effects for this game are palatable, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Difficulty: Easy
It is obvious that this game is geared more towards a younger audience. Within the first thirty minutes of the career mode, I earned first place, and cleared out a few of the racing challenges.

Concept: 5.0
The concept of a futurist racing game has been done a million times. This game does little to improve or change that formula.

Multiplayer: 6.3
The game is better to play with your friends, since it will add more challenge, the problem is there are not many different modes to play.

Overall: 6.3
Drome Racers will prove to be a good, non-violent, racing game for children this Christmas season, but if you are an older gamer, it will not prove to be that much of a challenge to you. If you wish to play a game that is more challenging and is set in the future, check out Wipeout Fusion.

Above Average

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