R.C. Cars

Hands-On - motorised mayhem on a miniature scale

Insane

jul01b

We think this shot is actually from the PS2 version of the game - the PC build we played at ECTS looked much better.

The game's ten tracks vary from beaches and seaside castles to military bases, and the focus here is on causing mayhem rather than professional racing. Many of the courses are wide open, complete with multiple routes and shortcuts, and races tend to devolve into a mad dash from one checkpoint to the other, with cars flying in all directions as you jostle for position and dodge obstacles.

There's also plenty of interaction with the environment, and not all of the obstacles standing in your way are stationary. Empty cans be pushed around and traffic cones knocked over, sometimes revealing hidden bonuses, but the real threat comes from the track's full scale inhabitants. For example, tourists can be found wandering along the ramparts of a fortress in one circuit, and if you manage to run into one you'll get a big "Hit!" message on the screen and the poor person you just ran into will then hop around in pain for a few seconds. Get too close though and your intended victim may try to kick you, costing you valuable time.

It's not just people you have to worry about either. Racing along a beach you might run the gauntlet of being mauled by a dog, which snaps at your car as you drive past, while some tracks include road sections where you have to dodge oncoming traffic that towers above you like something out of Land Of The Giants. To help you avoid these hazards, your car has been fitted with turbo boost and jump functions. As you would expect, the boost gives you a short burst of extra speed and takes several seconds to replenish before you can use it again, while the jump allows you to hop over small obstacles such as stones and stray cans.

Conclusion

R.C. Cars is, in a word, fun. The action is fast and furious, and the inclusion of outsized people and animals to avoid (or ram into at full speed, if you fancy some bonus points) keeps you on your toes. It looks good, plays good, and it should be out later this year, assuming 1C and Creat can find an overseas publisher in time. It's also coming to the PlayStation 2 some time next year, courtesy of Metro3D, although for some reason the console version is being called Smash Cars instead. Whatever the title though, it's well worth a closer look.

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