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reviews >> xbox
SRS - Street Racing Syndicate

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: Namco
Developer: Eutechnyx
Year Released: 2004
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Teen

Visuals 8
Good car models, and mostly decent environments, but it's like we haven't seen this kind of thing before.
Audio 6.75
The effects lack impact and the music sucks. Wheee!
Gameplay 7
The racing is hardly exciting, wether it's due to a lack of a true sense of speed, or that you're playing against opponents who pay their bills with leaves. Hey, there's online play!
Replay Value 7
Honestly, it's not that compelling of a racer. I think a 5-day rental is all you need from this one.
Reviewer's Impression 6.75
SRS also stands for Souviener Racing Slags. Or Sport Racing Sluts. Or Skanky Raceway Supermodels. I think you know what I'm getting at...
Overall 7.25
Collecting whor- .. I mean, girlfriends, does not make a racing game better or more appealing. SRS really doesn't do anything better than the games that come before or after it, and really is nothing more than a rental.

Boy, when one company does something right, something many people like and draws attention, it's inevitable that there are four or five games that will do the same thing to be released afterwards. This is the case with SRS, a game that clearly has EA's Need For Speed Underground in it's sights, but really does nothing better to improve upon it, or even it's competition. It's a purely average street racer with some cheesy gimmicks that are more pandering than cool.

Have you ever wanted to drive in a tuned Mitsubishi Eclipse to attract the attention of some scantily clad ladies who really can't dance, by showing them your sweet driving moves? YOU CAN! One of the notable "features" of SRS is the abillity to collect skanks, err.. girlfriends, as part of the street challenge mode. Oh, gathering the ladies isn't all to the game, there's racing and betting for cash in there as well, plus the abillity to tune your car with licensed after market parts. BUT YOU CAN RACE FOR WOMEN! How innovative is that? Well, it's not. In fact, that one aspect brings this game to a near-BMX XXX level, but not nearly as raunchy.

But before we get to the total decline of civilization known as SRS, let's get to know the rest of the game. Much like NFSU, you basically drive in import tuners, beat rivals, make cash, and gain respect. But really, it's done with less flair and polish. What hurts even more is that this game was pushed over close to NFSU 2's release, which makes it seem all the more outdated. All of it's offerings seem a bit far behind when compared to the competition. The racing is hardly exciting, and feels too average. The AI is unbalanced and somewhat retarded. The open environments really have no use, mainly since you can get anywhere by using the map. The car selection is weak and lacks variation. The pink slip races are only limited to the online mode. Everything it does is average. Then you throw in the whole girlfriend element, which is really a small part of the game, yet they're seen everywhere in the game. What's so special about "collecting" them? They certainly don't add to your respect score, even though they're called "respect challenges". Well, she (the girlfriend) is there to start the race, and if you win, you get to unlock videos of her (and others) dancing badly in front of a green screen. But if you are going to include real-life ladies to parade around in the game, for god-sakes Namco, find ones that don't look like porn stars. There are some models that look like they hang around booths at conventions or do magazine shoots for import magazines, but there's actually a couple of them that look like they have a carrer in porn. And, if they're performing their own dialouge, I hope none of them ever have a carrer in acting.

The visuals are a blatant rip-off of the NFSU games, with the wet streets, neon lights and night-time driving. To it's credit, though, Eutechnyx did provide daytime events and areas. Even though the style is ripping off another game, it's pretty solid. The environments aren't so bad (better at night than in the day), the car models are pretty good, and the framerate is smoother than NFSU in most cases. But the sense of speed is lacking, and the on-screen displays look more at home in a budget title than a full price one.

The sound is average, and full of little disappointments. The engine sounds are weak, except for the rivals you race against, which for some reason sound louder than the car you're driving. The remaining effects lack the impact NFSU had, wether it be the weak collision effects or the "speeding through a puddle" effect called nitrous. The music is middling, with no option for custom soundtracks. Oh, and like I said before, the voice acting is BAD.

Final Thought

SRS is not a terrible game, but it is one of the weakest street racing games I've played. Nothing done here is really revolutionary, nor does it improve upon anything that other games have done. But, saying that, I'm sure it would have been a lot worse if 3DO was still around to publish it (they went bankrupt before this game saw release, and Namco bought the rights to publish it). The girlfriend element is cheesy and unnecessary, and seems more of a cover to what is an average racing game. The only reason to rent this one is to witness the clumsy dancing of these women (some are pretty funny), and play "spot the boob-job". Other than that, stick with Need For Speed Underground 2 or Midnight Club 3.