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Quantum Redshift

Developer: Curly Monsters | Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 09/16/02 | Genre: Driving

Created of former Psygnosis members--responsible for the future racing genre benchmark Wipeout and which is now disbanded--Curly Monsters has produced an Xbox racer called Quantum Redshift. The relation to Wipeout is made obvious early on in playing- is this all these people can do? Technically beautiful yet inspirationally bland, Quantum Redshift looks good, handles well, but is dȪ? vu in total.

As far as futuristic racers go, Quantum Redshift is standard and picked up easily for anyone who has every played this type of game. Handling is loose given that the vehicles (called SPARCs) are hovering above ground, giving a 즬oatyeeling to steering. This makes the learning curve a bit higher than traditional racers. In addition to driving, you have to be a mean shooter as well with offensive weapons like unguided projectiles and homing missiles. Your SPARC is also equipped with a turbo supply that can be tapped into whenever you need and is regenerated after each lap, and a temporary defensive shield to guard you from others' weapons. To arm yourself with these items, you must collect color-coded orbs (yellow, blue, and red). Each orb signifies one use, so using them becomes part of strategy, as beating racers to them a necessity. Successfully hitting opponents with your weapons, getting huge air off jumps, collecting powerups, and finishing high on the race position board will earn you points to be put towards juicing up your craft's shield, turbo, and weapon capabilities.

The tracks are curvaceous (that is a word too), fast-paced, and comprised of various terrains, such as ice, rocky mountains, paved roads, dirt paths, and different bodies of water. Each SPARC handles each terrain with differing levels of difficulty. Tracks are chock full of shortcuts, making a successful racer a smart one as well as a fast one. While the courses are great looking, they seem more like clones of conventional racers than futuristic, gravity-defying, 죡reful or you'll fly off the planetracks.

Nothing out of the ordinary in terms of gameplay modes from Quantum Redshift, which are tournament, time attack, quick race, and multiplayer. Pretty cut-and-dry, tournament mode is the most in-depth mode of the game. There are five different leagues with which to race in: novice, amateur, expert, master, and redshift. Only the first two leagues are available at the beginning of the game. Each racing victory unlocks a new track, pilot, and the next difficulty level. Race lengths and opponent aggressiveness increase with each level, with redshift demanding complete perfection if you are to win. Time attack pits you against your previous runs (represented by a phantom image of yourself); quick race drops you in an exhibition race; and multiplayer is pretty self-explanatory, allowing you and up to four friends to zip around unlocked tracks against each other.

Quantum Redshift features a nemesis for each racer, similar to that of SSX Tricky, but a bit more stagnant, with attitudes between characters based on prearranged past events rather than current circumstances on the racetrack. The backgrounds of each character are not interesting and, while they give your eyes a chance to blink between races via cinematic cutscenes, they seem out of place and laughable at times.

Your graphical appetite will definitely be filled after indulging in this title. Curly Monsters spent two years developing this game and harnessing the power of the Xbox. It truly does show too. Turbo motion blurs and weapons particle effects are all here in this full course meal of eye candy. The most impressive effect is the 췡ter on the lensffect. While ships are pretty much of same design, they look great with translucent canopies, reflections, and smooth moves over terrain. Detailed character models represent each pilot in the menu screens, but is a shame that this attention to detail wasn't paid to the character animations, which are stiff and unhuman-like.

Do you like techno? Because, unless you do, you'd better get a backup soundtrack prepped right now. Artist Junkie XL created the beats to Quantum Redshift and they are lackluster and get very repetitive very quick. Luckily, Curly Monsters was kind enough to those who may not favor this brand of music by supporting custom soundtracks. Other sounds are familiar and re-hashed, but at least they are there. If they weren't, something would be wrong. What really perks up the ears is that the characters and announcers speak in their native language.

Sure Quantum Redshift fills the futuristic racing slot in the list of Xbox missing parts, but it isn't anything you haven't played before. The game is good for gamers wanting to race more, but because it lacks anything that truly sets it apart, Quantum Redshift can be called just another Wipeout.

By Peter Humpton - 09/30/02
ESRB Details: Mild Violence
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Screenshots for Quantum Redshift

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