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Review: X-Racing
Author: David Newton (DavidN)
Added: 26/01/2003

Despite what the creator of this game says in the description, it's not really like GTA. It's more like a top-down racing game with a couple of missions thrown in, though the GTA element becomes more apparent near the end.

The introduction starts off looking impressive, with a starfield backdrop, but then there's a very pixellated and slow effect at a "glow" effect, which spoils it enormously I'm afraid. The story gets the point across but to be honest it isn't really very well written. As for the title screen, it reminded me of Zeb.

On to the painfully obvious explanation screen - nevertheless, an attempt to explain the controls is appreciated. The first mission is to simply complete a lap of a square track before another car does. At first I thought the car handled awfully, but I soon got used to it. Having to brake for corners isn't often a feature in Click racing games, and this makes it different. It's still default movement, though, and the turning circle feels too large.

You can see the road scrolling on to the screen before it is "darkened" by some sort of masking object in the first level. I'm not sure how the game was programmed. If you so much as dare to go off the road you are stopped by invisible barriers for some reason, but in another twist you don't actually collide with the other car at all.

After another cut-scene, you have to destroy "a punk's" car using temporary spikes put on your vehicle. I managed it fairly easily by ramming into his backside three times on the first straight, but I had to trundle all the way to the finish line before the game recognised my achievement. Strangely, the game blocked me from the finish "box" the first time I tried, but I went up and down the screen again and it worked the second time.

The third mission involves a more GTA-like mission of picking up a package and delivering it. In an unusual twist you aren't blocked from leaving the playfield any more in this level, so it's quite easy to vanish and never be seen again. Also, ripped fairly realistic-looking buildings are used for scenery. I wouldn't have a problem with this, but one of them is tall enough to jut out over the road. You can drive on to this one (you appear in front of it) and literally drive down the building until your car is at ground level again, which it had just left. It's worthy of Escher himeself.

You have a time limit of 35 seconds in this level, but rather than providing a counter in the corner of the screen the author has decided to just put an identical counter in each "block" of scenery. There's no arrow telling you where to go either, so whether you complete it or not is very hit and miss (or a memory test).

The fourth mission is pretty much identical to the third, but this time you have to dispose of your car, whereupon you're teleported into another one and have to drive it somewhere. After a brief driving section not connected to any mission, there's another cut-scene after that which contains the classic line "I'd like to work for some kind of GTA company."

After sitting through that you have to drive to the same building again via a different road that's been built overnight. By this time, the game's "Ready? Set? GO!!!" routine was beginning to become more than irritating - it takes too long. After picking up the package from EXACTLY the same place as for missions 3 and 4, it was a case of "To be continued..."

I've not been very positive about this game, but to its credit, it is reasonably long and has a variety of missions, but they're very poorly thought out. It needs a better engine behind it to make it enjoyable.

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