Replay Value: 8.1
It's official, PS2 owners have way to many racing games to choose from. Originally launching with Ridge Racer V, Smuggler's Run, Midnight Club: Street Racing, and a few more, the PS2 was an ideal choice for racing enthusiasts. Up until today that fact stands, we've gotten countless racing games, everything from Driving Emotion Type-S to Rumble Racing to ATV Offroad Fury. With Sony's monster Gran Turismo 3 just shy of its July 11th release date, the PS2 is without question, the pinnacle among all hardware for racer junkies. To add to the quickly amplifying list is Genki's Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Zero. Originally a Dreamcast release, TXR has been refined and brought over to the PS2 courtesy of Crave's publishing. Continue to read the full review on this PS2 racer.
We've already seen the true powers of Gran Turismo 3, and I myself have awarded the game a perfect 10 in visuals (as well as overall). TXR: Zero loses points because of its flaw that have plagued PS2 development early on. By that I'm referring to anti-aliasing. Ah yes, it's been very long since I've used the term anti-aliasing in a review, that's because I didn't need to. With spectacular games like Red Faction, ATV Offroad Fury, Dark Cloud, and Zone of the Enders containing not the slightest hint of anti-aliasing issues, it's no wonder I feel weird bringing up the topic. TXR: Zero's vehicles, for the most part, are very detailed and resemble their targeted appearance almost flawlessly. But their outlining is hampered by the effects of "jaggies." While it doesn't destroy the game's visual attire, it certainly does hurt it, due to the sole fact that aliasing issues should be a thing of the past on the PS2.
Tokyo Xtreme Racer is still a pretty game, it features a vast amount of vehicles, and tons of office buildings basking in the midnight background of TXR. Nothing really seems to be out of place really, but TXR does have a lack of differentiated texture design. Everything looks the same, there's isn't much to awe over, that's simply because the environment is just a highway, unlike games like GT3 and Midnight Club, where there are dozens upon hundreds of different looking textures in the background and foreground. Although what many people will awe over is TXR's excellent lighting effects, buildings have lights turned on in some windows, meanwhile light blurs and halos occur on the highway. On top of that the heat from the brakes show, as the inner portion of the wheel will glow when you hit the brakes. I'll tell you right now, TXR: Zero does lose points for lacking anything special that makes the game stand out, on the other hand it makes up for it with solid car detail and solid texture detail.
Tokyo Xtreme Racer's gameplay is a mix between Gran Turismo and Midnight Club. On one hand you've got illegal street racing and winner gets the cash. On the other hand, you'll use your money to tune up quite possibly every aspect of your car, a lot like Gran Turismo. You've got your turbo options, your aerodynamics, and even your muffler. Tokyo Xtreme Racer is an excellent game for those who want a little of both worlds. The concept is very general and basic. You will purchase a car, start your quest in one part of Tokyo racing against many just like you. As you progress in TXR the racers will become harder, as they are incredibly smart and act very lifelike. These guys will hit you, drive around and past you, the AI is very smart, and I like that. TXR is a game that doesn't feature any real licenses, but what Genki did was create all of the cars to look like their actual counterparts, and instead of giving them names like Mitsubishi or Toyota, they were given model numbers, like Type-ZXR034. But that's okay because after purchasing a car you can rename it! There are roughly 125 vehicles in TXR, all of which control as they should, and best of all 400 different opponents.
As an exclusive to the PS2 version of TXR, there were various things added to the DVD disk such as a trailer of "The Fast and the Furious" and a documentary on actual 'Xtreme Racers' in Tokyo. It's incredibly cool and I've watched quite a few times. In addition to Quest Mode, TXR features various other modes like V.S., Free Run, Time Attack and Quick Race. It's a wondrous feat to even think of that Genki was able to implement 100 miles of actual Tokyo highways. Chances are that most gamers will enjoy Tokyo Xtreme, I sure did, it's a great title that mixes simulation with illegal activity, and even features outstanding support for steering wheels like Blue Thunder. Overall good gameplay presentation, nothing major to complain about really, if there was I'd mention it.
Bah! What is this electric acid-guitar music playing the background? Well okay, I'll admit that some tunes actually sound good, but a majority of others do not! Not by any means at all. Tokyo Xtreme's soundtrack is moderate at best and this is one area that Genki should've worked on. I can't really stress enough the importance of a great soundtrack. It's something I look forward to when I play an "extreme" title such as TXR. Instead I had to put my earphones on and listen to a mix of mine. The engine sound effects sound pretty good, everything in that field is as clean as whistle.
The control is certainly one of those things that makes a game more enjoyable. It's incredibly rare -almost never for that fact- that we see developers implement a "blinker" option into the game and on the control pad. I thank Genki for realizing that every little thing can add up to something big, and the addition of turn-signals (L3 and R3) is an excellent one. For my own joy, I like to play racing games with my Blue Thunder wheel, with some games it works out very well (GT3) and I end up using a wheel most of the time. Once again TXR prevails, my Blue Thunder wheel works like a dream with Tokyo Xtreme, the precision and the overall control I have over my desired vehicle is unrivaled. One minor note for Dual Shock users, at first the analog sticks may seem too sloppy to control the car with, that's because you should use the sensitivity embedded into the sticks in order to get best results.
Tokyo Xtreme Racer is a not failure, in fact this is one the most enjoyable racers you may across. It may not win any awards, but racing fans I suggest at least renting Tokyo Xtreme Racer. If you're tight on cash then I suggest holding off until Gran Turismo 3 comes out on July the 11th. Tokyo Xtreme Racer is a grand package that outweighs its downs by a vast margin with its great gameplay and even better control scheme. Like I said above, either rent, or wait for GT3 if you're short on cash.