Hypersonic.Xtreme (HSX) Review
Generic videogames have proven to be a successful formula if sold for the right price. One of the worst Playstation games ever made ended up selling over 1.2 million units, all thanks to its 9.99 price tag -- I am, of course, talking about Spec-Ops. Because of Spec-Ops' rather unfortunate success, it sparked a trend among other publishers who would then release a wave of their own $9.99 priced titles. It was bound to happen on the Playstation 2 sooner or later, but at least with the technology, we wouldn't get anything too appalling. While certainly not ghastly, HSX is perhaps as average as a videogame can get -- its price tag of $9.99 reflects that.
HSX has some bright spots in its visuals, as the game looks quite sharp and runs at a pretty steady frame rate of 60. HSX shows no signs of aliasing or shimmering issues, which is quite surprising considering this is a budget title. The overall image is pretty clean, really, but that's because there's no complexity to be found in the graphics. Everything about the visuals is generic, and the scenery is utterly dull looking. Texture wise, the game doesn't look much better than a late generation Dreamcast title. On top of that, every track in the game feels like the same track over and over again, so the track design isn't exactly WipeOut: Fusion caliber. In case you're wondering, HSX's visuals don't even hold a candle to WipeOut: Fusion's, though that's a given.
For a budget priced title, HSX offers as much as its price-tag suggests; not much. The gameplay is absurdly monotonous, largely because of the poor track designs. Also, contrary to Majesco's claims, HSX isn't the fastest game you can imagine. Sure these artistically void vehicles can travel at speeds excess of 6000MPH, but a game such as ExtremeG3 still manages to have a sense of speed that is twice as thrilling as HSX, and XG3's jet bikes barely break speeds of 1000MPH. The two gameplay modes that HSX features (Cup and Time Trial) are pretty slim to say the least. You can beat Cup in one sitting, and have every track at your disposal. It seems as if all of the game's vehicles are available to you from the start, which greatly diminishes the value of the game. The gameplay is obviously scarce...very scarce, though do you expect any less for a $10 game?
In terms of presentation, HSX manages to use every absurdly annoying cliché in order to dress itself up. For one, the usage of the word "Xtreme" needs to stop, and it needs to stop immediately. Apparently, somebody at Majesco is well behind the times, as "Xtreme" isn't a very "hip" saying, anymore. Slapping the words "XclusiveTrakEditor!!!" is only worse...much, much worse. Sure there is some consistency with the whole "X" thing this game has going, but consistency aside, it's pretty freaking lame and stupid. It's not "cool" or "hip" or "groovy", it's stupid. Not to mention, purposely (I can only hope) misspelling the word "Track", and omitting the "C". I believe Sean Connery said it best in "Finding Forrester", "you're the man now, dawg!". The game's proper title is about as cheesy as an old SNES or NES game title; really, can it get any worse than "HyperSonic.Xtreme"? *Sigh*, I can only hope not.
Maybe this review needs to stop here, because it only gets worse. The audio in HSX is about as sharp as a Super Nintendo tune, and the soundtrack sounds like something that took no more than an hour to compose -- I, myself, have done techno tracks that eclipse this game's soundtrack. There's nothing remotely decent about the sound. The sound effects are cheap, generic, and lack everything that is necessary in order to make you feel as if you're piloting one of the fastest vehicles in the world. The soundtrack is absolutely void of anything inspired, it just screams dullsville.
Controlling the game isn't any fun, either, especially during those absurdly rainy stages where your whole view is obscured by the rain droplets on the screen. It's nothing but a chore to control the crafts; a majority of the time you'll just end up crashing into the walls. Maybe after 30 minutes, God forbid anybody plays the game that long, you may get a little adjusted to the controls, but the effort isn't worth it...trust me.
If by the now the message isn't painfully clear, and you're still contemplating checking this game out, I don't know what else I can say. Hey, the game is $10, but it's $10 I'd rather spend on a pie of pizza, or give to some random person the street. Then again, that's just me; I don't like throwing money away, which is why I would advise people against from buying HSX. "TrakEditor!!!"...*laughs*
3/11/2003 Arnold Katayev