In the past few years, Electronic Arts newest division, EA Big, has had many smash successes in the various sports genres, including the critically acclaimed SSX and the recently released Freekstyle. Now EA Big has set its sights on rally racing with their newest project, Shox. Taking the rally-racing genre to new extremes, Shox also promises to be one of the prettiest racers on the market while offering the same over the top style gameplay that is now a trademark of EA Big.
Shox will feature approximately 24 cars, including automobiles from Ford, Citroen, Audi, BMW, Toyota and more. Only a fraction of the cars will be available to choose from at first, but players can unlock the rest as they progress through the game. In addition to the various cars, Shox will also feature 21 separate tracks divided up among 3 different themes. All three themes- Asian Jungle, Arid Desert, and Arctic Tundra, will each feature 7 different tracks, each overlapping the others in various ways. In addition, each different theme will feature weather-based conditions that one would normally find in such climates. For instance, while blitzing through the Arctic Tundra, you may find yourself sliding across an extra slippery stretch of ice-covered road. Watch out for falling trees and other obstructive foliage as you race through the jungles of the South Pacific. Of course, one cannot forget to be mindful of the sandstorms and dusty roads you are likely to encounter while blazing over the sun baked tracks of the Sahara like deserts. EA has promised that these weather conditions will play a significant role in the game's driving physics, making these changing weather patterns much more than mere eye candy.
In addition to the weather based effects such as snow and sand, Shox will also incorporate several "Shox Zones", in which time slows to a stop as cars fly through the air in utter silence for long periods of time. Flying through such zones can result in either a huge gain on your opponents, or a metal tangling pile up of epic proportions. Based upon performance in these zones, players can earn medals ranging from Bronze to Gold. Another interesting feature being built into the gameplay is the "Gambling Mode", in which you can engage in a winner take all race, with your vehicle's pink slip at stake. In fact, the Gambling Mode is one of a few different ways to unlock several of the cars in the game. Cars can also be unlocked by winning consecutive races.
Other features to be included in Shox are a points based system used to unlock other features in the game. Players will earn points based on several factors, such as speed, airtime, cornering ability, and collisions. These accumulated points can then be used to open up previously locked stages, as well as other items. Shox will also feature a 4 person multiplayer mode, via split screen.
Shox is currently scheduled for a September release in Europe, with a North American release to follow sometime later this fall. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
7/23/2002 Ryan Hartmann