Tokyo Xtreme Racer puts the race in road rage

Tokyo Xtreme Racer
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Anyone who has ever driven on the Washington D.C. Beltway can sympathize with me when I say how bad it is. You’re driving the speed limit minding your own business when all of a sudden, some stupid speed freak comes up to you and either flashes his headlights forcing you to move faster or go to another lane, or he blazes by you, almost putting a dent in your brand new car.

Sometimes said driver will even respond by giving you the Stone Cold Salute, and I think you know what that is. And what do the cops do? Nothing, that’s what. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to show these speed demons the proper rules of the road; teach them a lesson about driving recklessly?

I guess that Crave was reading my mind, helping me cure my potential road rage without the risk of personal injury, as Tokyo Xtreme Racer helps me recreate my dreaded Beltway nightmares with great precision.

Based on the Japanese street racing circuits, TXR consists of no-prisoners, balls-to-the-wall night racing through a Tokyo beltway. Starting with 25,000 credits, a player purchases a car based on actual vehicle models, which have been altered so discreetly in order to prevent lawsuits. After the initial purchase, it’s off to the Beltway to search for rival cars to face.

Now what makes this game unique is that when you find a rival, you can start the match-up anytime you want. All it takes is a quick flash of the high beams to get a race started. Strategies such as starting a race on a long straightaway with a drone car in front of your foe can determine success or failure.

But the weirdest part about the race is that they are not based on laps, but are based on of all things, the fighting genre. Both you and your rival have an energy gauge which depletes when trailing. The further the lead, the faster the meter drops. After the meter reaches zero, the money is awarded for the level of the car, how much energy is left, and how much distance was traveled.

Rivals are set as various gangs, each with their own driving style, and consisting of anywhere from four to nine members. Once the gang members are all defeated, the gang leader will challenge you in a winner-take-all race. In addition, there is a special gang, called the "4 Devas" who will challenge you any time they see fit. Prepare to be smoked by this group the first time you see them.

Now the Dreamcast might not have a true racer yet, but TXR is pretty close. Its 60 fps visuals with amazing light blur effects [similar to R4] are a treat to the eyes, but the slowdown when more than three cars are on screen can be a hassle. However, I really wish that there were more tracks.

After all, even with the one massive multi-route track, it’s still just one track. In addition, I wish the car would handle more realistically, since this car feels like it came out of Ridge Racer, bouncing off of walls instead of grinding against the wall. Grinding also shows no physical car damage, which is somewhat of a disappointment.

Still, TXR is quite an adrenaline rush, and the best way to counter road rage. On the CD case it has been referred to as a best seller in Japan, and I can see why. However, the lack of tracks and environments, and the somewhat unrealistic car physics model forces me to lower my rating to 3 GiN Gems. I do, however, see a lot of potential for a sequel which will surely be released overseas because of TXR’s success.

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