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reviews >> playstation 2
Rumble Racing

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: EA Tiburon
Year Released: 2001
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Everyone

Visuals 6.5
Not very pretty. I can cut this game a little more slack if it were a launch title, but games such as Ridge Racer V looked better than this. Too many blurry and muddy textures, and a lack of a sense of speed. It does have a smooth framerate and some nice car models.
Audio 5
Generic music and some awful character voices, and the engine noises are very overpowering.
Gameplay 6.25
Rumble Racing can't decide if it wants to be an arcade or kart racer, and cramming both together is just a bit sloppy in execution. The cars have tight handling mechanics, but the AI is very unfair, even on "easy" setting.
Replay Value 7.5
There's a good number of tracks and cars to unlock, but only if you feel like dealing with a huge set of cheating bastards.
Reviewer's Impression 6
I was really hoping for this game to be the next San Francisco Rush, and it just doesn't come close enough to it. Sure, there are some jumps to launch yourself from, and shortcuts to find, but the courses are just too boring, and the design feels way too much like a kart racer.
Overall 6.25
I was disappointed on this one. I've heard great things about it, and it really did sound like the next San Francisco Rush. What I ended up getting was a game that wasn't very good to look at, not much fun to play, and really didn't deliver what I expected.

I was really hoping to like Rumble Racing, especially after hearing so many good things about it. The first iteration, which was Nascar Rumble for the PS1 was a fairly well recieved game. The premise here sounded promising as well, although very similar to San Francisco Rush. Arcade racing with some stunt aspects thrown in, as well as weapons. But The course designs aren't that exciting half the time, there's too much dependence on items and pulling stunts for boosts, the graphics are plain, the AI is a total A-hole, I could go on and on how this game was a bit of a let-down.

You have a choice from a large number of cars (half which need to be unlocked) to choose from, and a variety of game modes such as single race, championship, stunt mode, a showdown race, and multiplayer. Single session is okay for practice, but championship is where you'll spend the most time unlocking new courses and vehicles. Hell, that's the only way you can do it. But in order to unlock items and progress, you have to place 1st for the championship. That's a bit aggrivating, since it really never seems good enough that I place 2nd or 3rd overall. Sure, you get a trophy, but nothing is unlocked. Which means you have to do it again. Sometimes you need to go through a cup 3 or 4 times to clear it. So much time wasted, especially when you consider that most of your misplacements (lower rank than intended) are a result of a nasty AI. Even in the lowest level difficulty, "forgiving", the AI is still pretty aggressive. That's great if you're looking for a chalenge, but irritating to narrowly lose to the computer. The computer drivers are far from stupid, as they know every shortcut, know how to gain speed, and how to use items.

Stunt mode is not nearly as great in Rumble Racing as it was in San Francisco Rush 2049. It seems like EA tried to rip off what Midway did a year before by giving you wings to tilt your car for barrel rolls and flips. But really, those are the only stunts you can do. And there really are no stunt courses per-se, just the circuit courses with obstacles. Midway's design seemed simple, but was a lot more deeper than it was here. They gave you better designed stunt courses, different ways of scoring bigger (such as a bonus for NOT using the wings), and combing certain manuvers to create a combo. But nothing of the sort here. The showdown mode is basically a one-on-one race. Whoopie. There's also a multiplayer mode, if you're feeling adventurous. At least the control isn't terrible, so you won't suffer with a faulty design in handlng.

Graphic wise, the game is plain and muddy. I know this was made in 2001, but in that year, we saw better looking games such as Gran Turismo 3, Burnout and even Driving Emotion Type S. There's not much complexity in terms of polygon count, except for the cars, which look fine. The texturing is very muddy in quite a few areas, almost as bad as an N64 game. There's the typical aliasing problems associated with PS2 games. The game does hold a smooth framerate, but the sense of speed is lacking. You are traveling at 150 mph, but it doesn't feel like it half the time.

The sound is oddly similar to San Francisco Rush, mainly in the engine sound. It sounds eerily like the cars in SF Rush. There's music, but it's downplayed due to the excessive noise of the engines.

Final Thought

I'm done here. If this review seems a little shorter than the others, it's because this game isn't really that complex. The graphics are simple, the sound is overpowering, the design tries to be one of my favorite games, but fails due to weak course designs. Also, why does this game need pick-up items? It makes this seem so much more like a kart racer than an arcade automobile racer. Had the AI been toned down a little more, the graphics been given a little more spit-shine and the sutnt mode offering more to talk about, this game would have been alright. But it's way too average, way too unfair and at times, a bit too dull.