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RC Revenge Pro

Developer: Acclaim | Publisher: Acclaim
Players: N/A | Release Date: 01/16/01 | Genre: Driving

Do you want to know the hardest part about being a video game reviewer? It is trying to figure out what market a game is intended for and then to review the game from the perspective of that target audience. When I first played RC Revenge Pro my expectations were not very high. I had heard that the game was not a very good title prior to playing it, so I wasn't sure what to expect. And I still can't be 100% sure of what market the game is targeting. But in fairness to the developers of RC Revenge Pro, I had to forget what I had heard and just play the game.

The first thing I noticed about the game was the graphics. They are brightly colored and filled with surprises. In fact I was actually amazed at how good this game looks. Now, it is not trying to look realistic. It is going for a campy toy-like appearance and it succeeds wonderfully. The tracks themselves are loaded with goodies that pop up in the background as you are racing by. In fact, there is so much eye candy in the background, you may have to race the tracks a number of times to take it all in. The tracks are designed according to various themes, like science fiction, movie monsters, jungle adventure, etc. and most of the tracks feature campy, humorous names (I Know What You Drove Last Summer). The RC vehicles themselves are not particularly detailed, but they aren't supposed to be. They are supposed to look like toys, because RC cars and boats are toys (no offense to the hobby enthusiast's that spend hundreds of dollars building high performance RC vehicles every year). The game features a wide selection of vehicles and there are ten cars that can be unlocked by finishing each of the championship circuits in first place. All the vehicles handle differently and take some getting used to.

The control and gameplay in RC Revenge Pro is what probably turns most people off. Depending on the vehicle you select, it can be very difficult to control. But here is the thing - these cars are behaving just like real world RC Cars. Anyone that says it is tough to control the cars in this game obviously has never played with a real RC vehicle. They only weigh a couple pounds, so when you hit a bump you are going to flip over now and then. Acclaim has actually done an outstanding job modeling the behavior of these miniature vehicles. The sound, in my opinion, is the main weakness of this game. The game's music is bright and cartoony and doesn't have the urgent sound you would expect form a racing title. But the music isn't really the problem.

I think the main weakness of this game is the lack of certain sounds. Obviously the designers of the game have a great, campy sense of humor. But the game just doesn't convey the sense of humor as well as it could. How about adding taunts from the people that are actually steering these little RC Cars. If the game had certain "human" characters that were steering the vehicles and ripping on each other, it would not only add to the humor of the game, it would help remind you that these are little remote control cars with people steering them. I would love it if colorful taunts were each time I shot another RC in the back with a guided missile, or got zapped by a lightening bolt. But sadly, the game is strangely audio free. Even a set of comical race announcers would have been an improvement.

As strange as it may seem, I honestly believe it is the audio that keeps this game from being truly successful. The Replay value in the game is created by the gamer's desire to unlock the extra vehicles. Unfortunately, once you learn your way around each track, they aren't particularly challenging. The only way to make a course challenging is to pick one of the low performance RC's. All the RC's do well on some of the tracks, but only a few do well on all of them. The strongest feature for replay is the game's track editor. You are able to make some pretty cool track designs and the interface is very straightforward. Unfortunately, the tracks can't be particularly long, due to the PS2's short supply of RAM. And you cannot create RC boat tracks!

Overall I have to ask myself, who is this game geared towards. I believe this title is intended for a younger audience and the difficulty of the game is suitable for a younger gamer. What I cannot figure out is whether or not a younger gamer will understand and appreciate that these RC vehicles behave in a very lifelike fashion, or if they will just think it is tough to control. For fans of RC racing, the game mimics real world RC vehicles very well, but due to the audio issues I mentioned earlier, it is tough to really get into the game. There are many things I like about this title, but overall my best advice is to rent this one. Some people will really like it, and some will undoubtedly hate it - my feelings on the title lie somewhere between these two extremes. And the thing that bothers me the most is that, with a few minor improvements, I think this could have been a really good title. The game has a sense of humor, its just to bad it doesn't display it.

By Jonathan Halwani - 08/01/00
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Screenshots for RC Revenge Pro

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