Rumble Racing Review
Sadly PSOne was console that didn't get too many arcade racers that played similarly to Midway's San Francisco Rush, which was released to atrocious reviews. N64 seemed to be getting all the furious San Fran games, while the PSOne was left out in the cold by Midway. Thankfully Electronic Arts stepped in, and announced an extreme racing game with Nascar vehicles. The concept sounded cool, but the execution was incredible. EA managed to create a racing game with a streaming frame rate, and a sense of speed like no other. I, in particular, fell in love with Nascar Rumble. In my humble opinion, I would say it's the best arcade racer for any yester-year console such as the Nintendo 64 and Playstation. When, Electronic Arts announced Rumble Racing and revealed its form to the world, I instantly understood that EA is pretty much releasing a sequel to Nascar Rumble on the PS2. To say the least, I was ecstatic. Rumble Racing was looking great, it moved quick and felt just like Nascar Rumble, but is the final product a mere cash in attempt or a title worthy of your purchase?
In all of my brutal honesty, Rumble Racing's visuals aren't exactly Playstation 2 material, but more so first generation Dreamcast quality, which isn't really bad, but nothing spectacular either. The car models look a bit weak, and don't do much to really grab my attention. I would be lying if I told they looked bad, they don't, it's just that they should look better because the PS2 is able to do so much more. I'd estimate that each car is composed of roughly 1,500 polygons each, which is approximately what Nascar 2001 for PS2 featured. Rumble Racing features great backgrounds though, and some incredibly enthralling courses. All of the courses (but one) feature huge shortcuts, in which you can smash through windows, jump off buildings, or experience a huge lift into the air that will send you soaring ahead of your opponents. Rumble Racing not only moves quick, but it jets at a perfect 60 frames, with absolutely no slow-down. The deal is that Rumble Racing is a quick and accelerating game, it may not have the eye-candy that most other PS2 racers have, but it certainly has the speed.
Visuals aside, Rumble Racing rocks! This game is a pure adrenaline rush from the get-go. Initially you are given a little over a dozen cars, all of which have distinct decal designs, body designs and specs. Some cars are muscle cars, others are more reflective of the Nascar build, while others could be vans or SUVs, generally car variation is a great factor here. In total Rumble Racing features somewhere near 35 cars, some look downright like beasts, while others more like freaking airplanes. The truth is, you won't find a single 'normal' vehicle in RR, they are all pave eaters and road huggers, which makes this game as amazing as it is. As for the tracks that could be raced on, you will be able to select three initial tracks and end up with a total of 15 when it is all said and done. As I mentioned before, the tracks feature great shortcuts, some of which that can take some effort to locate, but the effort is worth it though. My one complain is that a track or two in Rumble Racing is too similar to a Nascar Rumble track. Rumble Racing's "Car Go" track and Nascar Rumble's "Shape Shift" track look very alike, but maybe it's just me.
New to the sequel is a trick mode, by holding down R2 while in the air, you are able to flip your car around wildly performing stunts, and then try to successfully land. The trick feature is an awesome feature and gets you a huge speed boost during a race. Rumble Racing plays similar to Nascar Rumble, the controls are virtually identical, gameplay is pretty much the same thing, but the AI has been improved. Instead of being overly difficult, the AI is moderate and more fair, but will still put up a good fight. In order to make that fight easier, you have power ups such as a Tornado, which will wipe out every one in front of you, or a shockwave, that will hit everyone around you, or an oil spill. Other power ups include; invincibility, traction, and a super bumper that sends opponents flying. Rumble Racing features a wide variety of great modes, this game is bound to keep you going for quite some time. If you enjoyed last year's Nascar Rumble, then you will definitely love Rumble Racing, even if you didn't play Nascar Rumble, you owe it to yourself to pick up Rumble Racing.
Seems like EA has been flopping in their sound category recently, first it was Madden, then NHL, then NBA Live 2001, then Triple Play and now Rumble Racing. I don't understand the problem, but whatever it is, it needs to be cleared up. Currently FIFA 2001 has witnessed the best audio development, as its commentary and general sound effects are phenomenal. Rumble Racing features some wise-ass commentating on your race, poking fun at your skills, it gets downright annoying and all you want to do is whip out a revolver and shoot the guy's recording microphone. The racing tunes and sound effects sound decent, not enough to save the game's sound score by a substantial amount, but still good.
Controlling this game is pretty much like controlling the first 'Rumble' racer. Both analog sticks are supported, of course the left is for steering, while the right is for accelerating and braking. Since this game is an arcade racer, you need not to worry about oversteer or any other sim like qualities that touch upon games like Driving Emotion Type-S or Gran Turismo 3. Rumble Racing also makes solid use of the Dual Shock 2's vibration, every hit and bump can be felt through your very own hands.
In the end I'll have to tell every race admirer to pick up Rumble Racing, especially if you enjoy games like Beetle Adventure Racing or San Francisco Rush. It may not be a gorgeous game that stands up to a game like Gran Turismo 3 or even Ridge Racer V, but this is surely one incredibly addictive and fun title worth every single penny of yours. There are a ton of features, a great two-player mode, 15 excellent tracks, and a couple of dozen vehicles which range in three different classes. Make sure you check out Rumble Racing, if you're not too sure about the title rent it at least, you won't be sorry.
5/8/2001 Arnold Katayev