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Game Over Online ~ 3D Ultra RC Racers

GameOver Game Reviews - 3D Ultra RC Racers (c) Sierra, Reviewed by - jube

Game & Publisher 3D Ultra RC Racers (c) Sierra
System Requirements Pentium 90, 32MB Ram, 50 MB HDD
Overall Rating 68%
Date Published Monday, September 6th, 1999 at 07:53 PM


Divider Left By: jube Divider Right

Allow me to share a quote from the official RC Racers web site:

Angry Lawn Gnomes
Bent on revenge against the frolicking RC Racers which have invaded their yard, the Lawn Gnomes launch bombs at the passing racers. If they are lucky enough to blow up one of the passing motorists, they shake and giggle with glee.

After reading this, my brain involuntarily responded:

“Holy fuck! Angry Lawn Gnomes!”

I’m sure you reacted similarly.

Finally, a game that brings the dichotomous worlds of frolicking RC racing and explosion-lobbing dwarfs together. God bless 3D Ultra for finding the inner strength and heavy abuse of Ny-Quil cough syrup that went into the creation of this fine product.

In addition to its stunning display of Gnome throwing physics, RC Racers offers a quick and dirty take on the wacky world of radio-controlled racing. What it does, in regards to creative track design and car model customization, RC Racers does well. Unfortunately, its what RC Racers doesn’t do, which is quite a lot, that hurts it the most. There is little reason to spend any more than a couple of hours with this game. It lacks the secondary features, such as time trial racing, built-in track editor, internet-based multiplayer (gasp!), and the compulsory 3D eye-candy to make extended play worthwhile.

In a gaming world that runs on the latest and greatest of 3D technologies, RC Racers is way behind the times. At first glance, the pre-rendered backgrounds and sprite-based cars in RC Racers seem extremely dated and bland. My initial response to the graphics was one of disgust. Having spent a considerable chunk of change for my 3D graphics card I almost expect games to fully utilize the capabilities of my all powerful and omnipotent machine. However, after playing RC Racers for the better part of an hour, I began to notice a number of subtle details on the tracks. Angry Gnomes smirk mischievously, huge frogs hop around in the road, and flags sway with realistic momentum. Even though its not 3DFX, Open GL or even D3D enhanced, I have to give points where points are due. I’m a sucker for extraneous attention to details and RC Racers delivers them.

Similarly detailed are the track-based sound effects. Ghosts howl, puddles splash and laser powered rocket launch-pads hum. My only qualms with the sounds in RC Racers are the item pick up and release effects. The generic bleeps are far too “arcade” sounding, and seem out of place in the backyard-racing atmosphere of the game. In addition to these effects there is the standard overly excited race announcer that informs you of last laps and insults your racing skill when your car falls too far behind.

Eight tracks, ranging from a miniature golf course to a construction site, are all available at the start of RC Racers. It’s rare to find a game that gives racers all the tracks and cars initially, instead of slowly portioning out hidden tracks and cars as you progress further in the game. Though I found it nice to have free range of all the tracks right away, it offers little for replay in terms of achieving race goals. A circuit mode lets you race three or four tracks in succession, but at best it’s a minimal attempt at extended replay. The cars themselves drive and handle appropriately, and anyone who has experience with this style of game will have no trouble.

After going through a few of the tracks and getting a feel for sliding around the numerous hairpin corners 3D starts to run on empty. The AI is nothing special, and with only two extremely similar difficulty settings (easy & hard) there is little motivation to continue playing single player racing. A circuit mode allows you to race for money, to upgrade your RC car, ala the Nintendo game RC Pro Am, but even it runs thin after a while. Equally as under-utilized is the Multiplayer racing, which available only in same-screen racing, one person on the keyboard and the other on the game pad. Lack of internet play really hurts the replay and fun factor of RC Racers, no real surprise there.

3D Racers is a fun, but short, ride into radio-controlled racing. It has the makings of a quality RC racing game, but lacks the depth to interest gamers for more than a brief period of time. I’d like to end with some praise of the 3D Ultra web site. I was impressed by the use of site forums by the game designers to communicate directly with their fans. Many posts in the forum were of conversations describing game aspects, gameplay ideas and other issues related to making this game as pro-RC racing enthusiast as possible. I was also surprised to find an extensive list links to real life RC Racing sites. Both Sierra and 3D Ultra realize that these “little” games live and die on their dedicatedly loyal fan bases. Though we have no category in points for it, and I can’t adjust my rating to show it, I commend the developers for showing where their hearts really are.

 

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Rating
68%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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