Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 10/20/01 | Genre: Gambling
I consider myself to be a fan of all genres. From action, adventure, sports, RPG, strategy, and even simulation-I enjoy good games in all genres like all gamers do. Okay, so you know where I am going with this review. I have to say something good before smashing this title to bits and pieces. Before I do this, there is one thing I want to point out. I was very excited about playing Gallop Racer 2001. After playing it for quite some time however, I was happy that I could move on to another title. Let's take a moment to examine what lead me to such a poor experience with Gallop Racer 2001.
In one of the few moments of excitement with Gallop Racer 2001, I popped in the DVD disk and turned on my Playstation 2. I prepared myself for a unique gaming experience that few gamers in the US would ever play. Researching a little bit, I learned that in Japan horse racing sims are actually a popular genre. Knowing this was true, I began a new season as a jockey hoping to discover a love for a genre I have never experienced before.
The opening menus in Gallop Racer would confuse any aspiring Jockey. I had a difficult time setting up my memory card to save my settings. Each time I went through the opening menu it was supposedly saving the settings I chose to my memory card. However, I had to go through the process again when I turned the game on again later. Despite this annoyance, after the opening menus I preceded to the next step--customizing my Jockey. Tecmo did a nice job giving players plenty of different designs and colors to select for the Jockey shirt. However, one odd design made it in there-the same exact shirt that Charlie Brown wore. (The same colors too!)
I purchased a horse (lets just call him Snoopy to keep our current theme going) and registered him for a race. During my first race, I was impressed by the graphics. While the crowd was pretty flat and unimpressive, the animation of the horses was just incredible. Even Mr. Ed himself would be screaming, "Wilbur! Look, there is my long lost brother. Let's bet money on him!!!" While Mr. Ed and Wilbur were busy wagering on his brother, it was a good thing he didn't bet any money on me and poor old Snoopy� We finished in last place. Not only were we dead last� but we weren't even close to any of the other horses! Geeze� if this is "easy mode," I don't even want to see "hard mode."
Snoopy and I went back to the drawing board and tried to figure out where we went wrong. I read the instruction booklet, searched online for assistance, and decided I would go back and race again. Perhaps this time Wilbur and Mr. Ed would bet on me instead of Ed's brother. Despite our effort, we finished at the bottom again.
It isn't that the controls are confusing in Gallop Racer 2001-you use the up, down, left, right, and square buttons to play. The problem comes when you have to "pace" your horse so he won't tire out. If you try to run full speed and whip your horse to death, you will come in last place. However, if I was training and breeding race horses, I would condition them to run full speed the entire race. Perhaps this is foolish for me to think that a horse should be trained to run at full speed an entire race� (I am not a seasoned Jockey, nor do I spend my Saturday mornings watching the latest horse race)
Perhaps I would have enjoyed Gallop Racer 2001 if I spent several more hours with it or had someone who has mastered the game show me what to do. However, I am a busy man, with countless titles to play. I am not compelled to master Gallop Racer 2001 nor do I care to ever understand how to win one of these darn races. For now, I will stick with any genre but horse racing sims. After playing Gallop Racer 2001, I am content to never try another horse racing sim again. Avoid this title at all costs unless you (1) Have a thing for dressing up like Charlie Brown or (2) You are a certain horse named Mr. Ed and long to play games featuring horses. If you don't fit into the above categories and you are not an extremely patient Japanese gamer with no life that spends his days playing pointless games and dating sims, then by all means pick up Gallop Racer 2001. The rest of us should just play something else.