Posted: May 21
This is a really old game! It's a F-Zero type racer (where your cars can blow up if you take too much damage, and you can heal by running over special tracks), with some Mario Kart items and Geometry Wars graphics. The soundtrack is very good if you're into electronica, and each racecar has different properties that can work with different playstyles or different racetracks.
For achievement hunters who happen to have this in their library already, it should provide about 10 hours of pleasant frustration. Otherwise, I don't really recommend it.
Firstly, this game has an outrageous number of technical problems. Sometimes when you try to run it, it doesn't initialize and you have to task-kill it before trying again. Sometimes it runs, but if something's hogging processor cycles, the framerate lag will snowball out of control until the game becomes completely unplayable. And the online multiplayer has long since been disabled, you can't host a server anymore. LAN play still works, however.
If you actually get the game to run, you might find that it's a very decent racer. There are some real magical moments of exhilaration when you're absolutely shredding the track and trying to maintain your first place lead. Unfortunately, the magic is killed by the game's terrible selection of items and the CPU players who will use them on you. See, when you get hit with an item, you lose the ability to steer your vehicle for about five seconds. It's just about as annoying as it might sound. If you're about to take a sharp turn and a CPU player comes up from behind and blasts you with a seeking missile... sorry! Now you're careening off the track and way in last place, and there was nothing you could really do to prevent it. Luck-based Mario Kart hell.
The items are not only unfun to get hit with, they're unfun to wield, and they require high precision if you want to do anything with them -- precision that the CPU players have, but not you. While I never caught a CPU blatantly cheating, they have an infuriatingly accurate aiming algorithm that leads their shot to exactly where you'll be when the shot will hit. It's very impressive and must use some kind of trigonometry calculation, but it will make you pull your hair out. They also have an uncanny ability to get a seeking missile or a tractor beam when they're in close second. Naturally, the shield item is the best item in the game, and it's usually the case that the player(s) who get the shield within the first five seconds of the race will be able to get a huge lead that they'll keep for the remainder of the race.
The weapon chaos wouldn't be so bad if the game didn't expect you to come in first place every single race
if you want to get the final achievement. Luckily, you get infinite retries if you abuse the restarting feature, and you will absolutely need to abuse it if you want to survive the random chaos in the first ten seconds of every race.
Overall, it's a perfect demonstration of why an F-Zero racer shouldn't have Mario Kart items. It's one of those games that's a complete blast when you're winning, but utter bull when bad luck screws everything up. Give it another chance if you already own it, but otherwise avoid.