Speed Kings Review (PS2)
Since another company took the idea of MotoGP for the XBOX, here comes Acclaim’s Speed Kings. Yes, the company that brought you Burnout, brings you Burnout on two wheels. Speed Kings tries to deliver an adrenaline rush with this arcade title. Does it deliver? Well, we shall see.
If you have played MotoGP, you will notice that the controls seem quite similar. This is great for those that want to just pick up and play. Tricks can be done by holding the L trigger and pressing a quick button sequence to perform stunts like a handstand or surfing. Next up is a nifty move called “powerdown” which is done with the press of the Y button. The “powerdown” allows the user to slide under obstacles that have fallen in the users path. Performing tricks and powerdowns increases the “powerband” meter, once it is filled, press the white button to unleash a speed boost to send a cycle your motorcycle to mind bending speeds.
You want police chases in this game, like it advertises? Forget about it! The police are just parked along your path and if you manage to hit them, it delays you for 5 seconds. This hurts because there is a game timer and the player has to make it to the checkpoints before that runs out! I really don’t like this in a racing game, but it has found itself into this game.
There are a decent amount of gameplay modes available in Speed Kings most of the good ones will require unlocking. License mode is a great tutorial which will familiarize you with the controls and get you performing tricks in no time. There’s a single race option where you can practice any course that you have unlocked. Most of the stages and bikes are unlocked in “meets” play where there are six meets, each one consisting of three races. There are optional goals to do in races called “respect tasks” which range from doing a wheelie for so many consecutive feet to not crashing at all in a race. Points are earned from completing the tasks which go towards respect bikes. Bikes can also be unlocked by getting record times on tracks in time attack mode. There is also a trick attack option where you get sets of five tricks to do in progressively decreasing time limits. Grand Prix is probably the best mode of the bunch but can only be accessed after you unlock all the bikes, it’s where up to four players can play in any race, but with no traffic and even more AI opponents against you.
The graphics on this game are nice. While not photorealistic, the bikes look great and so do the environment. When you crash, you will see the different parts of your bike scatter all over the road with great detail. This aspect almost makes you want to crash, but then you have that damn stopwatch aspect. The game also features a “blurring” effect when you have the speed boost.
The game box claims that you can use custom soundtracks, where is it?? I have many songs ripped onto the hard drive, but I never heard them in the game. Original scores are included in the soundtrack of the game and the music always seems to fit the stage. You have rock in the city and laid back music when you drive through the mountains. The Game’s sound effects are your usual fare and sound decent. An indescribable sound emits when you do your speed boost, but you will have to play the game to experience that one.
No online and that damn stopwatch thing is bugging me. It is a great game to play for short periods of time, but I don’t think the game has much replay value. You will notice that many tasks seem to repetitive and start to bore the player. Please rent this title before you buy, I warned you first!