They say the problem with first impressions is that you only get one. Rubbish, the problem is that these initially “favourable” impressions distort the true nature of a specific incident or in my case product. “There once was a game called “Speed Devils”, that I used to play with much revel. Having played it since, I’m still not convinced that it’s actually as good as I remember?” Not entirely sure why I composed that as a rhyme, it just made as much sense as the memory I have of this guzzling turd extractor! Having dusted off my DreamCast I wanted to reminiscence. Big mistake. I recall it being an energetic thrill ride, with courses riddled with environmental obstacles. Once I’d wiped the lenses on my rose tinted glasses however I soon realised that these ambient obstacles are as hazardous as a squirrel in mittens threatening you with a shiv crafted from cotton wool! Rather than being crucial element that dictates the course of the races, it felt more like decorative accessories. You had boulders that would suddenly pepper the track, but could easily be averted with just a minor turn to the right. You’d come across a mechanised creature like the T-Rex and Jaws. Yet the T-Rex would simply cross the road or stand and shake it’s head from side to side, again easily avoided. And Jaws would just kind of bite the sterile scenery and was, you guessed, is easily avoided. Damn my childish sentiments! You had one job brain! Preserve my immaculate perception of my memories. Anyway the tracks are pedantic and ass numbingly long, vehicles are progressive and adaptable yet show no significant signs of engineering alterations other than admittedly striking structural cosmetics. Almost every manoeuvre feels stilted. Yet what disappoints me most is the lack of creativity implemented into the one feature that could, nay WOULD have elevated this mediocre Ubisoft title out of obscurity; variable environments. Environments that actually impede drivers, obstructing competitors, altering the surface terrain, reducing visibility and drivers composure as you travel around.
Motorstorm Apocalypse is the only game I can think of that utilised it’s adaptive environments effectively, influencing races with shifting localised storms. In the same way that in Mario Kart you were at your most vulnerable when leading, the altering environments in Motorstorm enabled competitors to reel you in like those frustrating blue shells. Changeable weather conditions that prevented expedient acceleration, obscured you’re vision while maintaining a competitive speed against a field of participants who want to kill you! And when I say that these weather patterns become hostile I don’t just mean you’re need window wipers on full, I’m talking anus clenching Tornadoes! Road splitting earthquakes! Buildings collapsing as you skirt across the rooftops. Cataclysmic devastation that makes the old testament look like the very hungry caterpillar! Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria! A meteorite shower is like a pleasant stroll through a field of boobs in comparison to this Hell! Getting you’re nose picked by Freddy Kruger would be more preferable than negotiating some of these tracks! It was utter carnage, provoking genuine intimidation. You panic; do you turn left or right at the Tornado? Before you have time to plan you’re trajectory it’s too late. The intensity, the anguish, the euphoria of just completing the track without hitting a single hazard was rewarding. It handled subtlety about as well as Zack Snyder, yet the epic journey you undertake in only a five minute race is like writing The Winds Of Winter in a day (Hey George, hurry up!). I feel out of breath just describing it. In fact I think I’ve done that for long enough. I’m sorry but you’ll have to excuse me but I feel the need for slightly angry speed!