Newest Review: ... My biggest annoyance is when a racing game doesn't include a replay feature (ahem EA, ahem). Who doesn't want to see their car belt down... more
A racer that was way ahead... of it's time.
Metropolis Street Racer (DC)
Member Name: BlueStreak
Metropolis Street Racer (DC)
Advantages: Great graphics for it's time, catchy music, great cars
Disadvantages: Many bugs, no replays
Little joke in the title there.
This was one of the first 'proper' racers I'd ever played, featuring real locations, real cars even real music stations and DJs. It was also the BEST racer I'd ever played. And the same can be said even now.
Although, at the time, Gran Turismo 3 on the PS2 was leading the way as a 'Real Driving Simulator', MSR was definitely the 'Real Fun Simulator'. Yeah. OK, so GT3 had realistic looking graphics (for the time) thousands of cars to choose from and so much more to, MSR was far and away so much more fun to play. Graphics maketh not a game. Playablilty does. The cars feature in MSR were those that you really wanted to drive, whereas GT3 just included as many as it can. Besides, during a game of MSR, you're very likely to have driven each car at least once. With GT3, with so many cars, you'll never drive them all, making them a waste.
In the end, the game was year late. Bizarre Creations wanted to make sure this game was as perfect as it could be... but it wasn't. Early copies of the game had numerous bugs still present in the final game. Some of these bugs included Tokyo races always being at night, VMUs becoming corrupt and the Quick Race screen being blank. The major bugs were soon fixed with new copies, but small bugs still existed. The bugs also lead to the exclusion of the replay feature. My biggest annoyance is when a racing game doesn't include a replay feature (ahem EA, ahem). Who doesn't want to see their car belt down a straight or drift around a corner at 150mph? Because of problems with the AI, the replays were removed. I was unhappy.
For Dreamcast standards, the graphics in MSR are second-to-none. Although they don't quite measure up to GT3, for a console with less power, it sure put up a fight. But again, I don't care about graphics, I want to play a game that's FUN, and MSR had it in bucket loads.
It's Not How Fast You Drive... It's How You Drive fast. This was MSRs slogan. And it's true. In the game, you don't just have to race for first, you race to first with style. Kudos is the name of the game. You earn Kudos by driving stylishly. A clean overtake, a clean section, a clean lap, drifting... almost anything you do can earn you Kudos... except for crashing. hit another racer and you'll get some Kudos taken away. This is were the game gets a bit picky. Even the slightest touch on another racer will net you a penalty. Even when another racer collides with you, YOU still get penalized. That is a little unfair.
The cars and cities? Hm. MSR had licensed cars from 13 manufactures with 43 cars, It's the usual line-up: Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, MG and the like. You also got 7 secret 'cars', but I won't spoil it for you.
You can customize each car slightly, as well. However, before you can own the car, you must earn it. Choose a car you want, alter it's colour and window tint. Then take on a time challenge. Beat the time, win the car.
From there, you can then personalize your cars number plate and, if it's a convertible, choose when you want the hood up or down. Each car also had it's own unique handling, so not two cars ever felt alike.
MSR had you racing in 3 real cities; London, Tokyo and San Fransisco, each perfectly rendered. Take a trip to London, and you'll be able to point to place and say 'I've raced a Skyline down there'. Each city also has it's own radio stations and DJs. You can't understand what the Japanese DJ is saying unless you understand Japanese. Speaking of music, you can also create a custom playlist. No, not using your own MP3s, but using the CD Player. Yep. A Kenwood head unit in fact. Sega's reputation for cheesy but ultimately catchy music is all too present here. Most of the songs were sung by T.J. Davis, with the music composed by, (I think) Richard Jacques, both of who worked on the music to Sonic R.
The number of races/stages in this game was also pretty impressive. With a total of 250 stages across 25 chapters, each containing 10 races, the game was massive and would take you many a month to complete fully. By using the Dreamcasts clock, the races in each city would either be day or night, depending when you enter the race and your Time Zone. In the London timezone, race in London at 12:00 midday, and it would be daytime. Race in Tokyo at 12:00 midday and it would be nighttime.
Race types vary throughout the game. You have either straight-up races called Street Race, One-on-One races, Timed Run, Hot Laps, Challenge or a Championship. Complete a Challenge on a certain city at a particular time and you'll often unlock a new reward, such as an extra garage slot, a Joker to double your Kudos, a cheat or a new car. In a Street Race, just come 1st, but try to win as much Kudos as possible. A One-on-One is essentially the same, but you only race against one opponent. Hot Laps have you trying to complete a lap under the limit, a Timed Run sees you trying to complete 3 laps within the time limit, and a Championship has you completing across 2-5 races.
Despite it's original bugs, and despite the presence of GT3, Metropolis Street Racer is a unique racing game, not like any other racer before or since. Well, except the Project Gotham Racing series', which is more-or-less the child of MSR. This game is not one to be missed. If you're the lucky owner of a Dreamcast, and you don't own this game, I highly recommend you get it ASAP. Pick it up from eBay dirt cheap and you'll be glad you did. Forget your Need for Speeds and Gran Turismos of this generation, Metropolis Street Racer is where the real racing is. Kind of.
Summary: Everybody should get this game NOW
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