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
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.
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.