San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing
Where's the beef?
Developer: Climax Development, LTD Publisher: Midway Genre: "Extreme" Racing Players: 1-2 (but only if you have a link cable - buwa ha haaa!) Memory: 1 block Discs: 1 Analog: No Dual Shock: No ESRB: Everyone Difficulty: Intermediate
What San Francisco Rush was in the arcades to racing games was what X-Men vs. Street Fighter did to the Street Fighter games. It was a pumped up, high-flying, completely new kind of racing game, and people like myself loved it. When Rush came out for the Playstation and N64, fans rushed over to Blockbuster and rented it immediately. The N64 owners were extremely pleased, since the game actually played like the one in the arcade. However, the Playstation owners were forced to play this watered down Rush Lite that only slightly resembled the original game! Spumco!
Gameplay--SF Rushhh (that's how they pronounce it, and it gets on your nerves after a while) was supposed to be an extreme racing game, featuring cars that acted like 747s, shortcuts that put you at incredible altitudes, and the overall feel of flooring the gas pedal down the actual streets of San Francisco. Unfortunately, we get this racing game whose physics model is nothing like the arcade's, meaning you get little or no air on some jumps, meaning your car never flips over, and meaning that the game is half as fun to play. Additionally, they took out many of the classic shortcuts, such as the all powerful 2nd level half pipe (WHY?). Not to mention the fact that only half the tracks are there, meaning no stunt course, Presidio, or leap-of-faith-over-a-pit- of-spikes secrets! This definetely detracts from the gameplay experience, which is now reduced to the racing equivelent of drinking watered down root beer.
Yuffie: Hey, I LIKE watered down root beer!
Graphics--Ugh. Four blocky cars with barely any detail zip around a city that in no way resembles San Francisco Most of the other monuments are on the manual's map, but the only two sights I recognized were the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown, which is basically the front of a dojo leading to a narrow, bland alley that looks exactly like the rest of the city. Oh, and don't forget Lombard Street, which you'll fly over so fast, you won't even have to realize that it's all completely brown, instead of the old red bricked road that we native San Franciscans are used to. See what I'm driving at? The city looks terrible. There's no water effects or transparency, no lighting (the only lighting in the game looking like wooden beams that you can drive through), and no detail. I wouldn't be surprised if the 3D Dudes were driving the cars--the graphics are that bad.
Music--This dialogue from Fritz Fraundorf's classic, Domino: The Untold Story saves me from telling you how awful the music in this game is--a mix of awful techno and utter carp that strives to be exciting, yet falls flat on its mediocre face. D'oh, I just told you. Oh, well, here's the dialogue, anyway:
"Vincent!" Jill insisted, opening the coffin back up.
"Leave me alone," Vincent said. "I have committed a terrible crime against humanity."
"YOU wrote the music for San Francisco Rush?" I blurted.
And whatever Fritz says, goes!
Control--No system is safe from the awful controls in SF Rush--the arcade, the N64, and the Playstation versions all have cars that screech to the right or left much further than you care to go, causing you to hit a wall and burst into poorly animated flames instantly. I guess the developers made the controls like this to add to the arcade-y feel of the game, but they went too far. I bet driving cars in real life is easier than driving in this game!
Fun Factor--The entire point of the SF Rush series was to provide a crazy, arcade experience for the player that's like no other game. Let's see.... crazy... no... arcade... no... like no other... yes, but that's not necessarily a good thing. What I'm trying to say is that the entire feel of jumping off rooftops isn't any fun when you do it in this game. I actually gave a deep sigh of boredom while I was playing this, and that's not a good sign.
Overall Satisfaction--Rush to Blockbuster if you want to waste your money on this game, but don't say I didn't warn you. This ain't Gran Turismo.