reviews\ Jun 14, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Gallop Racer 2006 - PS2 - Review

Tecmo isn’t necessarily known for their sport titles, but, if one sport had to be credited to be widely successful for Tecmo, it would be Gallop Racer. With the sixth installment, they hope to continue to gain popularity here in the states. Some may ask how popular horse racing is here in the U.S. while others may be huge Kentucky Derby fans. For those who question its popularity, they’d be correct with their assumption that horse racing isn’t as widespread as it used to be. Over in Japan, horse racing has been preferred over other sports. Let’s dwell further into Gallop Racer 2006 and find out if this has the pedigree of a winning formula.

Gallop Racer 2006 has taken a turn to change up the gameplay a little. Instead of pitting you as solely controlling the jockey, Tecmo has enforced more control over the being the horse. Gallop Racer I feel also has jumped up a notch in the difficulty level too. In Gallop Racer 2004, you didn’t have to do too much calculating to win a race. Now in 2006, you’ll have to make sure you are riding the appropriate horse and deciding which one is the best for each situational race. The learning curve is steep and a tough one for any casual gamer. I don’t think too many casual gamers will jump into Gallop Racer 2006 right off the bat anyways, so that shouldn’t be that much a problem. Hardcore fans from the other installments will find themselves right at home with Gallop Racer 2006.

You’ll be studying the strengths, weaknesses, age and other various stats to create an advantage over the opposition. Micromanagement is fun, believe me! Don’t worry about riding a lesser talented horse, if you are skilled enough, you may come away with the win. Personally, I like the stat managing and business side of sports. I usually find myself logging in over 50 hours in dynasty, franchise, and season modes for all sport titles.

Gallop Racer allows players to own up to 100 horses. They will all be located in your stable which is called “My Horses.” Not only can you own up to 100 horses, but you can breed your prize-winning ponies with others to hopefully spawn a champion. This trick will become addictive due to that you’ll be looking at each individual horse’s lineage, traits, color and other specialized stats. If you do happen to breed a champion and take him to the top, you’ll unlock the “Fields of Legend” mode. This mode opens up the Dream Series and Dream Cup where only top horses compete in. The series is a seven-race championship to determine the best horse and jockey of all time.

The other modes include versus mode, simulation mode and free mode. The simulation mode gives freedom to change and edit the horses/tracks for each race. The versus mode is for up to two players to compete against one another. The free mode takes away the stat and micromanaging aspect and it is just straight-up racing. Think of this as the season mode to the dynasty/franchise mode in Madden. All of the modes allow for betting on each race. If you are a gambler, you may have found your next addiction. Betting within Gallop Racer helps yourself increase the money you have to buy more ponies and help breed the best ponies together.

Unfortunately, Tecmo still dishes out the arcade experience with special powers to use while you race. An example of these powers is a burst of speed that sends you rocketing forward past other horses. This takes away realism and tries to deliver a diverse experience with an arcadey familiarity – an experience that I felt only detracted from the simulation portion of the game. If I had my way, this would be the ultimate horse simulation with even more stats to follow, rival racers to compete against, owning tracks, leading horses into retirement and receiving national coverage on television.  

Despite that small problem, Gallop Racer 2006 is a small improvement from the last installment. With even more addicting betting, stat managing and racing, Gallop Racer 2006 improved for the better. I couldn’t be happier with what was delivered this time around. If only they pushed towards the simulation side of things more with no arcade experience found whatsoever.


Review Scoring Details for Gallop Racer 2006

Gameplay: 8.7
Stat tracking is my main motive of playing Gallop Racer 2006 as much as I did. Plus my girlfriend loves horses, so, she couldn’t help but love the game.

Graphics: 7.2
This looks better than Gallop Racer 2004, but alas, it isn’t a drastic improvement. The menus are nice to navigate through, the environments are based on real tracks and the horses are touched up.

Sound: 7.0
Generic music is found within this package, beware! There’s nothing that will wear your ears off with boredom though.

Difficulty: Hard
There’s a degree of difficulty that not too many casual gamers will grasp a hold of. They’ll want to be sticking to the free and versus modes.

Concept: 8.2
I love horse racing! I don’t know too much about it, but, at the same time I want to keep learning the sport. Plus it is addicting to bet on, just don’t tell anyone I have a gambling problem! You will end up with one in Gallop Racer 2006, also.

Multiplayer: 7.0
Nothing extravagant found here in terms of multiplayer options. Just one-on-one horse racing with a friend is found.

Overall: 8.3
If you are already a fan of the Gallop Racer series, you’ll thoroughly enjoy yourself. If you are new to the series, you need to be prepared for a giant learning curve. If you don’t have time for micromanaging, avoid at all costs!






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