Game Over Online ~ Rollcage

GameOver Game Reviews - Rollcage (c) Psygnosis, Reviewed by - Prolix

Game & Publisher Rollcage (c) Psygnosis
System Requirements Pentium 133, 16 MB Ram
Overall Rating 87%
Date Published Thursday, February 25th, 1999 at 01:02 PM

Divider Left By: Prolix Divider Right

Until just a few moths ago, the PC sorely lacked a good arcade racer. That all changed when Dethkarz came along. Combining mind blowing 3dfx graphics with intense racing made Dethkarz a winner. Along comes Rollcage, one of the prettiest games ever to grace my computer. Fans of arcade racing should be pleasantly surprised with this little gem. However, Rollcage should be passed up by the hard-core racing sim fans.

Rollcage Features:

  • Fifteen tracks around a galaxy on four different planets; Neoto, Harpoon, Sapphire and Outworld
  • Six of the toughest cars and their owners
  • 3D Accelerated resolutions up to 1024 x 768 32 bit color depth
  • League, Practice, and Arcade modes of play

    What makes Rollcage special is the ability to drive on any surface, whether it is the ceiling of a tunnel or a transition from asphalt to grass. This feature enables the use of wall-riding tactics that in some cases will give you the upper hand in a race. Another cool feature of Rollcage is the ability to destroy just about every object surrounding the track. Missiles will lock into certain buildings, which can be used to block your opponents’ path temporarily. The design of the cars also allows you to land upright all the time, which really helps after you go off a huge jump. Numerous powerups are also included to assist you with getting the upper hand. These include single missiles, triple missiles, shields, and a few other interesting powerups. Aside from the flashy graphics and environmental destruction, Rollcage turns out to be just another arcade racer.

    Dethkarz simply blew me away in terms of graphics, now Rollcage has completely blown me out of my chair once again. Half of the time that I was racing, I couldn’t stop staring at the backgrounds and special effects. Rollcage in 1024 x 768 in 32 bit ran flawlessly on my P2 233mhz with a TNT graphics card. Weapon effects will leave you drooling, for example, when you shoot a triple rocket smoke trails each rocket, creating a spectacular show in the sky. In addition to all the fantastic weapon effects, there are also many amazing effects dotting the sidelines. Green torches flicker wildly on the Outworld, while waves tap gently at the shore in Harpoon. Background graphics are top-notch as well; all of the worlds are set apart from each other in some distinct way and it shows in the surroundings. Harpoon contains palm trees, while Outworld is littered with brown dirt and hovering direction signs. If you’re an explosion fanatic, you won’t be disappointed by Rollcage’s explosion effects. Chunks of flaming metal fly out from every explosion and huge sonic boom blasts radiate from each missile impact. The list of spectacular effects just goes on and on. The sense of speed is really apparent as well. When traveling at 475kph, I really felt as though I was really going that fast. I wish I could sum up everything about the graphical aspect of Rollcage in this review, but I can’t. You really must see for yourself what a spectacular show Rollcage puts on.

    Controls might be the only ‘iffy’ part of Rollcage. I had a difficult time adapting to them and sometimes I was downright frustrated. Gamers are given the option to use either the keyboard or a gamepad, and I opted for the gamepad. Buttons consist of: primary weapon, secondary weapon, accelerate, and target next object. The unique feature of Rollcage is the ability to drive on the ceilings, however, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Most of the time I found myself bumping into something and it would send my car spinning in all directions. Therefore, I felt that I should avoid riding the ceilings or steep turns, which doesn’t make much sense because this ability is one of Rollcage’s top features. Another quirk of Rollcage’s physics engine is the fact that any slight tap will send you careening into the walls. Many times I lost a race simply because I was tapped, lost control, and hit a wall. I know that’s what happens in real life, but this is a fast-paced arcade racer, so I am not looking for realism. Aside from touchy physics, Rollcage has a decent control system and after a while I eventually adapted to it.

    Those of you with an environmental effects sound card will somewhat appreciate it in Rollcage. Most racing games aren’t known for their spectacular sound effects and neither is Rollcage. Sound effects consist of a dull engine roar, tire screeching, and ‘booms’. Initially, I thought the sound effects in Rollcage were worse than a Super Nintendo, but eventually I became accustomed to the dull hum of the engine. The sound isn’t too bad in Rollcage, it’s just not that good either.

    Multiplayer mode supports TCP/IP, Serial, Modem, and up to four players at the same PC. Over TCP/IP, the connection was so lagged on a 56k modem that it was unplayable. I have also heard complaints that even T1 and cable-modem players suffer a tremendous amount of lag. The ability to play against four people at the same computer is a great addition to this game. The question is, how am I supposed to cram four people around my computer?

    Rollcage is a great game, don’t let it pass you by. If you enjoyed Dethkarz, but want a little more, then Rollcage is definitely your answer. Fifteen tracks are certainly going to be enough to keep you busy for a while. The only thing that detracts from the replay value is the shabby multiplayer design.


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