Release Date: June 2006
Add an extremely popular movie franchise to one of the most popular genres, and you end up with a game that promises to fly off of the shelves. It helps that the movies are speed-oriented adrenaline fests full of pedal-to-the-metal racing and customized top-of-the-line automobiles, as those are the things that lead to success in the racing genre.
The newest "Fast and the Furious" movie is focused around drifting, a type of racing that requires the drivers to intentionally come close to losing control, while literally sliding around the track, oftentimes almost completely sideways. Naturally, The Fast and the Furious game features an emphasis on the drifting portion of racing, giving players the ability to monitor their slip, grip and speed while carefully sliding sideways down a track at insane speeds.
The fact that the primary emphasis is on drifting doesn't seem to detract from other features, such as the all-important car customization. Most racing games offer a "Pimp My Ride" style vehicle editor, but The Fast and the Furious pushes the limits. First, they arranged to have 100 licensed cars, ensuring that any gamer should be able to find their favorite set of wheels. Then they provided gamers with 16 universal spoilers, 300 licensed body kits (many of which include even more spoilers), 100 licensed wheels from all of the best manufacturers and a number of drifter charms featuring real physics. That's right, you can have a swinging Ms. Pac-Man hanging from your vehicle's rear, if you so desire.
Of course, the single most important part of customization in racing games is the vinyl section, which is an area that The Fast and the Furious excels in, with an offering of over 2,000 pieces of art, including many of your favorite Namco characters such as Ivy from Soul Calibur, Pac-Man and more. The player can place these vinyl patterns in up to 25 layers per location, ensuring that artists can flex their creative muscles and create a styling ride.
It couldn't be based on the Fast and the Furious franchise without liberal application of nitro, so all of the cars will be able to stock up on ludicrous amounts of it. Players will also be able to perform engine swaps, allowing them to put the best engine they can get into the car body that they love. Put simply, there is a huge emphasis on allowing players to design the car of their dreams.
The races will take place on a plethora of unique tracks, from straight-on freeway races to spiraling mountain courses, which require precise drifting. There will be a number of unique locations that may seem familiar if you watch the movie, including four Japanese mountains, each full of twisting, winding roads – the perfect places to practice drifting.
The game manages some very impressive feats for being a PS2 game; the cars each feature as many as 10,000 polygons, an achievement that I believe is unique to this title. The fact that everything is modeled after real-life counterparts is another aspect of Fast and the Furious that is very easy to appreciate. Even the HUD is modeled after the Pioneer AVG-VDP-1, a device designed to allow enthusiasts to monitor their vehicle's performance with far more depth. Like the real-life counterpart, the HUD allows the player to watch their g-forces, grip, speed and just about anything else they might want to monitor. I wouldn't be surprised if it even had an egg timer on it.
The Fast and the Furious looks to be a great game for fans of either the movies or the customizable racing simulation genre. It offers a surplus of speed, customization and that particular attitude the movies possess – what more could a racing fan want? Expect this title to hit the shelves around June of this year, along with the movie release of "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift."
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