Publisher: Whiptail Interactive
Developer: Creat Studio
Release Date: December 11, 2003
Buy 'R.C. CARS': PC
Many people look over the budget games for consoles and PC systems, people like myself. However, Whiptail Interactive and Creat Studios have brought to my attention a little diamond in the usual rough. They did so by programming and releasing a fun, cheap and solid racing game. RC Cars has many great features and some depth but also hits its low spots along the way.
As the name suggests, RC Cars is a racing game based on remote-controlled cars going head to head on racetracks. By no means is this game meant to be an actual simulation of RC car physics, but it still captures a lot of what makes the hobby fun. Of course, this game's courses are much, much different than the standard indoor NASCAR-like tracks that are used for RC car racing. RC Cars will bring you around ten different tracks, a lot of which are either near or actually on the beach. Other examples include campsites, military bases and old-time western themed levels. The game does an amazing job bringing the levels to life with loads of moving people, animals and even cars, all of which are properly scaled to your little racer.
The ten tracks of the game are not all available at start. I dove right into the championship mode and began amassing money. The first race is free and you'll get a little bit of cash if you win it. Money is very important in RC Cars as every race after the first has an entry fee. This is where the training mode for each course will be helpful, allowing you to practice and learn each curve before throwing down the cash required to race it. As the courses become unlocked they also become harder with more obstacles and turns to hinder your quest for first place. You'll never really get too lost in RC Cars since the mini-map will always be showing you where you need to go as well as the graffiti arrows painted on walls.
RC Car's graphics will be the first thing you'll notice as you tear through your first race. Impressive textures adorn all the cars in the race as well as the environments. Watching the water wake and crash onto the beach is really cool and really grabs your attention. Which isn't a good thing since the courses harbor so many potholes, rocks, dogs that give chase and a multitude of other things, you'll hardly have time to focus on anything but your car. RC Cars also offers some neat lighting effects when you go through certain areas and really makes you wonder how a budget title could have such a well-done graphics engine.
This game also features some pretty impressive physics. Flying around a corner at 30+mph and hitting a rock or similar small objects will send you end over end and all about. Thankfully, the game offers a button to right you in an attempt of placing higher than last place. Most RC cars in real life probably won't have boosters, but these ones do. Tapping or holding down the boost button will give you, well, boost of speed that is no infinite. Crossing a checkpoint will give you back ten boost points and it also slowly regenerates over time if you leave that button alone. It's a great feeling as you trail in second place near the finish line and bust out the last twenty points of your boost to eek out a close win. Controls for the cars are very tight and responsive. I used my trusty Microsoft Sidewinder in place of the keyboard for RC Cars so, I cannot really tell you how tight or responsive they are for the keyboard. On a controller they are smooth as silk.
Another neat feature in RC Cars is the garage section, in which you can use the money you earn from winning races to upgrade your little speed monster. If you need more power just save up to buy a new engine, or, if your tires are beginning to fail you just upgrade them. The same goes for increasing your maximum amount of boost power. These three upgrades do add minor visual enhancements but not enough to drastically notice on your car's body. Sadly, there are not very many upgrade options available to you and as you get to the better stuff they become very expensive. While this does add to the replay value it does get tedious racing five laps per race just to earn $200 or so when the upgrades greatly exceed your winnings. It's also somewhat annoying that you are forced to buy the lower-grade upgrades before you can get to the good ones even if you have the money for the higher-end stuff.
Sound in RC Cars is exactly how you might imagine it to be. The cars don't offer much in terms of engine noise; instead you'll get a drone of sorts and not much else. Music is the standard heavy metal/industrial sound most games use nowadays. It fits well and I like it since it's great racing music.
Sadly, I was unable to try multiplayer as finding a server was impossible. I didn't even get a chance to try it LAN however the game modes pretty much speak for themselves. I imagine RC Cars plays like any other multi-player racing game.
In closing, I will say that Whiptail has revived my feelings towards quality budget titles with RC Cars. If you want a good hour or more racing around real-world tracks with small cars, or even ten minutes, this game is one you should check out. Fast-paced racing action mixed with great graphics and a solid physics engine makes this title an excellent one to have.
Score : 8.0/10