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Xbox Review - 'Freaky Flyers'

by Jordan Van Nest on Sept. 3, 2003 @ 12:58 a.m. PDT

Freaky Flyers drops players into the cockpit with the most unique and engaging cast of characters to ever explore, adventure, stunt fly and dogfight in the videogame skies. Intertwining stories and engaging aerial combat add to the excitement throughout completely open and interactive 3-D world environments. Adding to the intensity is multiplayer action that allows gamers to do battle head-to-head in aerial racing combat.

Genre: Racing
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Midway
Release Date: August 4, 2003

Buy 'FREAKY FLYERS': Xbox | GameCube | PlayStation 2

Attention Freaky Flyers! Welcome to the freakiest race of all time! You are here of course to take part in the greatest race of the century, a milestone in human aviation. Racers from all walks of life have flocked here in droves, lured by the promise of untold riches! But this is no ordinary race. Unlike other races where there are rules, guidelines, and boundaries to hold you back, this race has only one- do whatever it takes to win! That’s right my friend, go ahead and charge that homing missle up, drop a freaky bomb on your fellow racers, or strap some nitro to the back of your ride! Just watch out for the other sneaky pilots trying to do the same to you! In this arena, anything goes, and anything can happen. Now, let’s get freaky!

Freaky Flyers totally surprised me. I didn’t really know what to expect from it at first. Here was a game with a name that suggested a joke-like atmosphere, yet from screenshots and such it seemed like it was a fairly solid racing game. So, I really didn’t know what to expect from this game. First, let me say that this game is very unique. Not only is the idea of plane racing relatively new, but the atmosphere this game creates is wonderful. I could tell from the very beginning that Midway had spent a lot of time trying to get the feel of this game just right. They wanted a good racing game but at the same time wanted humorous moments and jokes to blend into the action as well. Have they succeeded? Well, yes and no.

There are so many things to do in this game. From the main menu, there are several different modes you can select. They are Adventure, Race, Dog Fight, and Mini Games. In Adventure mode, you will get to choose which racer you want to take control of, then will be taken through the main storyline. In most races you most finish at least in 3rd place to move on, however in some you need a 1st or 2nd. As you progress, you will be treated to small video clips detailing the story of your character. In Race mode, one or two players can choose any character and race against each other in any level they have unlocked. This is a great way to become comfortable with the controls, before you begin the adventure mode. In Dog Fight mode, two players fight against each other in any level that they have unlocked. In this mode the only thing you are concerned with is destroying your opponent!

The Mini Games section contains many random mini-games that have nothing to do with the storyline but are still fun to play! You will be given various challenges that you must complete if you wish to move on. Just like any other racing game of it’s kind, Freaky Flyers has an array of items to use to annoy, distract, or even destroy your opponent. Examples include rockets, nitro, and freaky bombs. In addition, the game includes stunts which you can attempt. These stunts are used in desperate situations when you need to avoid enemy fire or when you need to quickly dodge an incoming obstacle. These stunts include loops, barrel rolls, and power dives. As you may have guessed, it will take some time before you can hope to compete with the best of the Freaky Flyers.

There are many characters to choose from, and many characters that are waiting to be unlocked as well. The character’s appearance not only makes you laugh, but everything including their names and history have been designed to bring a smile to your face. I thought that many parts of this game were funny, however there were sometimes it seemed like overkill. I know this was created as a funny game, but I just think the developers tried a little too hard to stuff the humor into this one. Practically everything in the game can be taken as a joke, so it will certainly not appeal to some gamers.(the more serious type) I thought the controls for the planes were fairly good. It didn’t take me very long at all to become comfortable with the controller setting, so I was happy about that. I think the strength of this game lies in the fact that there are just so many things to do. Not only can you go through the entire adventure mode, but you can also race or fight fellow gamers, or just play some mini-games if you don’t feel like racing. So, I would say the replay value(assuming that you enjoy the game to begin with) is fairly high. I liked the combination of racing and combat in this game- it seemed to fit well together. However, just like any game, Freaky Flyers had its problems.

This game didn’t really have any major problems that stood out to me. Instead, the only problem with this game is that it will just not appeal to some gamers. This game has a very wacky personality that some people will just not find entertaining and will not enjoy. Personally, I enjoyed the game for a little bit, but it eventually just got too “freaky” for me. Not being a big race fan didn’t help much either. One thing that I appreciated however, was the level of work that went into this game. I feel that Midway really worked hard on this title- it seems very polished. Other than that, there are really not any other problems that I found. For many, the game may just eventually run out of nitro.

I thought the graphics were nice. I really enjoyed the large, open terrain and the nicely detailed scenery. It really gave the feeling that you were flying. The animations are also well done- I could see no problems with them. The characters are all very detailed and it was clear that much work went into the artwork behind these characters.

The sound was excellent. If you listen closely to the words of the songs, you will notice that they are not just random songs picked to set the mood. They are songs made specifically for the game, most with humorous lyrics! I thought this was a very nice touch to add to the game and really confirmed my thought about this game being very polished. All of the songs seem to fit, and really help to set the mood. There are a variety of songs as well so you won’t get tired of hearing the same one over and over again like in some games. The other sounds in the game were fairly good as well. Overall, I thought the sound was well done.

The multiplayer feature was great as well. It really gives you a chance to relax from the stress of adventure mode by racing or dogfighting a buddy. The only complaint I have was that only two players can play. I would have liked to see a four player option-this could have become a good party game. However, with only a two player option it just will not be able to make much of an impact on the multiplayer-oriented gamer.

Every person will have a different opinion about this game, since some people will fall in love with it, while others will just put it down immediately. It just all depends on your personality, and what kinds of games you like to play. If you are a racing fan with a sense of humor I would really recommend this game to you. If you’re not into racing or you prefer more of the serious games, you could still give this game a look, but don’t be expecting too much out of it. But if you’re felling “freaky”, give it a shot!

Score : 7.0/10


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