Review by: Scott Steinberg
Published: October 16, 1999
Representing what is perhaps the most overused genre in the history of interactive entertainment, a horde of new racing titles seem to find their way onto store shelves every year. Most don’t offer anything new in the plotline or gameplay department, as they tend to serve instead as vehicles through which the latest and greatest technology out there can be put to the test in a trial by fire to see which gives out first, the game’s frame rate or the programmers working on it. We’ve seen racing products ranging from simulations to arcade style speedfests and everything in between, but the one thing we can always count on is that a racing game is always going to present in the initial lineup for any gaming system. Needless to say, it comes as no surprise that TrickStyle, the latest piece of software from publisher Acclaim and developer Criterion Studios has skated its way onto store shelves, so I decided to have a peek at it.
According to the generic storyline, the events pictured in the title take place in the not so distant future after a massive war in which the nations of the world fall under the control of massive supercorporations. These huge conglomerates helped to restore order to a broken world, but as can be expected years after every major catastrophe, unemployment rates and general boredom arose, prompting the ascension to popularity of the sport called hoverboarding. Much as any major athlete of the present day can expect, being a major player in this futuristic league led to fame and fortune, and as the size of the crowds grew, so did the number of contenders looking to vie for glory. Predictably enough, you’re cast in the role of the newest rookie on the scene, so it’s off to the races we go.
The first order on the menu is to figure out whether it will be a single or two player game, then decide which character you’d like to play, as TrickStyle offers you a choice of several stereotypical characters from around the world. Choices include the cute Angel – an English straight A student right out of a convent school, Hing – a retired Cuban stuntman, and Brad – an Australian x-surfer among others. Other contenders range from Mia, a young French woman with money to spare and a taste for excitement, to Kolonel Uri, a Russian professor of military history. They’re all a rather odd lot, if a bit generic, but the main thing to keep in mind is that each wants to win more than anything else, because the victor in this contest will be awarded lifetime mayorship of an entire city. Sure beats having your face on a Wheaties box doesn’t it?
Having chosen a character based on their looks or attributes (speed, strength, skill, and thrust), it’s off to the Velodrome you’ll go, a practice arena from which you can select where to proceed. While in the Velodrome, you can train to improve your skills, catch some hangtime, work on performing stunts, or get into the heart of the game. The way things are set up, you can either attempt to meet the challenges presented to you in the Velodrome by a guide character, the successful accomplishment of which grants access to new techniques and tricks, or you can head off to one of the courses to race. Racing each of the courses and finishing at the top of the rankings allows you to gain access to more tracks and alternatives to look forward to, much as we’d expect from a racing game these days.