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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: September 20, 1999
In the competitive world of computerized racing, one of the key dimensions that has become boringly repetitive has been the track environments. It seems as if every new offering includes a mountain/snow, desert, city, jungle/park, and beach/ocean setting. No matter what unique features a racing title contains, it appears as if nothing new ever emerges in the background scenery.
Well, Acclaim’s new release Re-Volt, developed by Acclaim Studios London (formerly Probe), has really broken out of the mold on this score. Each setting is totally unlike any I have ever seen before. Why is this the case? It’s because the title involves radio-controlled racing using miniature-sized vehicles in largely enclosed environments sized to scale, allowing vehicles to scoot under and around things in ways that would never be contemplated in conventional racers. Racing over marble, glass, and tile floors, let alone on the deck of a ship, requires a whole new set of driving skills that I had never developed prior to this game.
The background story, which does not receive much development, begins with the phenomenal growth of the fictitious company Toy-Volt, which immediately after introducing its first products became one of the top toy companies in the world. Their latest release, radio-controlled cars, seemed particularly special, as each acted as if it had a mind of its own. This history has little to do with the racing itself.
There are 28 cars from which to choose and seven different environments in which to race. The cars have quite different handling characteristics (speed, acceleration, weight, and transmission) and very cute names, such as Phatt Slugg, Dr. Grudge, Genghis Kar, Pole Poz, Humma, and Evil Weasel. The racing areas include Toy World, Museum, Toys in the Hood (a suburban neighborhood romp), Supermarket, Botanical Gardens, Ghost Town (in the Wild West), and Toytanic (naturally a cruise ship).
Your single-player racing choices include Single Race, Time Trial, Championship, Practice, and Stunt Arena (along with a hidden and totally challenging Clockwork Carnage option). In addition, Single Race (where you race against the other human opponents) and Battle Tag (kind of a timed “hot potato” game) multiplayer modes spice up the play. While you may compete with other human players over a LAN, Internet TCP/IP connection, or Microsoft’s Gaming Zone; the multiplayer experience is clearly not the focus here and does not live up to expectations. Oddly, in either mode there are relatively few racing settings that you can adjust, including only a few items such as the number of cars and laps and whether pickups/weapons will be available during play. You also have three camera views from which to choose and an instant replay option.
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