This is going to be a stretch, but imagine your racing down the
highway in your old style Mustang, blasting your tunes, and
going over 120Mph in a 55 zone. All of a sudden you hear the
unforgettable siren trailing behind you. Instead of pressing the
brake you slam the accelerator down to the floor and race
around corners. A police helicopter shows up and tags you
going over 140Mph. After the chase is finished, your highest
radar speeds are shown and you get money for the fastest
speeds. Now you can't tell me you wouldn't like money for
speeding. It is this oddball concept that makes SpeedBusters a
great edition to the world of racing games. Note: real cops do
not give money for fast radar speeds, so please don't try this at
Amazingly the game can keep smooth graphics at 800x600.
Most games appear just a tad choppy as you get into the high
resolutions, but SpeedBusters stayed smooth. The game uses
3d of course and does a good job of it. There are lots of
textures, especially on the cars. If you run into a wall at over
100 mph your car is going to take some damage, slowing you
down and causing you to fork out some money after the race.
With this damage your car actually changes. If you slam into a
wall and then tail out into another, you better believe your
taillight will not be there anymore. This little effect makes the
game that much more believable. The textures look decent
and there are many little effects that spice up the normal 3d
graphics of today. The most noticeable is on the Hollywood
track. Not only do you race behind that now infamous
"Hollywood" sign, you race through stage sets, running into
Jaws, King Kong, and even what appears to be a T-Rex. While
coming upon the T-Rex, I saw a car get mauled by the
dinosaur and thrown into the air against the wall. And all the
while the graphics were smooth and the car was flaming.
I never know what to say about the sound in a racing game.
It's not like you can add that many different sound effects yet it
always seems to be lacking that special sound that makes you
sit back and wish you had that sound byte. Picture any good
racing game and remember the sounds. Now take the Need
for Speed siren and viola you have SpeedBuster's sound
effects. Besides the unique screeching sounds of your tires and
metal against the railings and walls nothing makes this game
any different than a normal racing game. The sound engine is
good however, I never had a slow down while it attempted to
keep up with the sound.
The premise of the game draws you in. Not only can you
speed for cash, you can use the cash to buy some really cool
additions to your car. Nitro was always on the top of my list as
was repairing my car. You can buy better tires, lower the
suspension, change the color of your car, re-skin it with flames
or go for the classic look. With 7 tracks and a near infinite
amount of car configurations, this game does not get tiring.
The control of your car is quite good considering most of the
gamers out there still play games with their keyboards or
joysticks. I tend to like keyboards for racing games and this
game allowed me full control of the car, its hand brake, and
nitro, all without any problem. At first it seemed a little on the
loose side, but after a lap or two I was a master of the hairpin.
Again, how can you not like the concept of making money for
speeding? The best part is not so much the racing, it is trying
to go as fast as possible through the speed trap sections.
UbiSoft definitely broke away from the normal racing game
market and opted for an off the wall solution to the Need for
Speed series. There are so many different tracks and options
that this game can stay fun for a while. Hell, I would even
watch the intro a few more times.
The game has a good set of multiplayer features, offering IPX,
TCP/IP and direct connection. You're racing your friends and
that is about all. It's a shame you can't race your friends and
then have a death match after the race with your cars,
destruction derby style. Publishers take note .
SpeedBusters: A good idea on paper that actually turned out to
be a very cool game. Many companies have good ideas yet
the games always lack in some key area. Speedbusters
doesn't follow this trend. Combining an awkward premise,
good control and fluid graphics, SpeedBusters should definitely
be on the Christmas list for everyone who wants to get paid for
breaking the law.