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Genre: Racing


PS2 Review - 'Corvette'

by Hank on April 19, 2004 @ 1:21 a.m. PDT

Genre: Racing
Publisher: TDK Mediactive
Developer: Steel Monkeys
Release Date: March 9, 2004

If you are a car fanatic, there are two types of cars you will go crazy over: the modified Japanese cars such as the Skyline and even the AE86 (Trueno), or the American powerhouses like the Shelby Cobra, and the Lightning. Because of the recent decline in purchases on sports cars, the US has slowly decreased the number of sports cars available for purchase for the average Joe. The more common cars we see now are the everyday sedans – the Hondas, Toyotas, and Fords. Once in awhile, we will see the more fancy sports cars such as the Viper, Camero, and Ferrari’s. Well, there’s one more car we occasionally see on the roads, and that would be the Corvette.

Everyone recognizes this car by its logo: the famous dual flag (one checkered and the other bearing the company logo), which most of us will associate with the same checkered flag used in Daytona to symbolize the final lap. The design of the Corvette is another notable feature. The car rides so low that it seems like the underside of the car should scratch the road, and the car seems to ride lower in the front than in the back. For those fans who know every model and every spec of the Corvette, they have heard your gamers’ cries for American muscle cars. The companies Steel Monkeys and Global Star Software have come together to produce a racing game that is designed to please you fans, especially those of you who were disappointed in the lack of American cars in NFSU.

Corvette is a game that seems to use a system similar to Need for Speed, but it is not as finely-tuned. The thing that shines the most in this game is the excessive amount of Corvette cars available. I believe there isn’t a single game at this time that can outmatch the number they have in this single game alone. They have Corvettes from 1958, 1963, 1969, 1995, and all the way to the 2001 z06, which is my favorite car to race in GT3 (aside from my RUF and Silvia). So if you are a Corvette lover, they are bound to have one car that is to your liking. If not, maybe you should turn to other games like NFSU, GT3 (and GT4 when it comes out), or Ridge Racer Evolution.

So how does this game fare against these other games? Well, personally, I really did not like this game as much as I do the others. One major reason is that the physics don’t seem like you are driving a Corvette. Rather, it feels like you are driving some type of toy car like the Tyco trucks. You clearly see this when you crash into objects such as oncoming traffic or even the barrier. The car seems to bounce in the oddest fashion – your car will still be moving forward after a head-on collision, and the car you hit won’t even budge. On the other hand, your car rebounds off like a rubber ball from a sideswipe, and if you are unlucky, you will spin out. Finally, when you are tapped from behind, the AI tries to drive through your car. In real life, opponents rarely hit your car, especially in a straight away. GT3 had a similar problem, but it was mainly a tap from the computer while turning (a light tap, not an attempt to drive through your car). Although it has a poor driving system, the game did implement some nice effects that were sorely missed in NFSU.

NFS (Need For Speed) was known as the racing game in which you raced and had to avoid the cops, a feature they removed from Underground, although they did have some nice crash physics to compensate for that. Corvette has taken into account the missing cops and placed them in their game. The cops aren’t around all of the time, but you will see a few every so often. Personally, I would have been happier if they had placed more cops in the game, especially on the longer tracks. In order for the cops to arrest you, they try to bump you off to the side of the road, and if they are successful (which they usually aren’t), you will lose the race. One good thing is that the cops aren’t only going after you – they also chase the AI. The only stages where you will see coppers are ones in which you are racing on normal streets and highways.

There are a total of 23 courses with 5 different race brackets (C1-C5, starting with the oldest Corvette and progressing to the newest), racing on either closed circuit courses or the everyday public highways and streets. The racing styles are slightly altered when racing in the different track types. In closed circuits, you just have to worry about the track, while for the public races, you have to worry about oncoming traffic and cops. Even though you use different styles for racing, cornering is identical in both situations: very unstable and inconsistent. I say this because in NASCAR, taking the straightest line and consistently repeating the same thing is what leads to victory. When I was taking the turn, I would hit the brake, making it easier to take the corner. However, even with the hard braking and pressing the control all the way to the right or left, the car just doesn’t ever want to slide out. What does happen is that the camera angle seems to zoom in and out when taking the turn, confusing me for that split second. I don’t quite understand why it does this, but it may be the graphic engine.

The graphics in the game aren’t very good, especially with the grainy background. Even though the background wasn’t very appealing, they did mix up the scenarios, changing them in every race. You will see courses where you drive through canons, construction sites, and the downtown sections of town. The background occasionally has inanimate objects related to the background (such as houses or construction tools), and in certain positions, there will be moving objects like a plane or crane, but it is not enough to make up for the poor quality. The game does receive a boost from the car designs of the Corvettes, though. They are probably the only good thing about the game. I personally do not know the design of the older Corvette models, but I do know the latest, and it’s enough to please me, especially the HUD for the z06. The HUD shows the gear, redline, and speed of your car, and it’s most enjoyable with the later models. That is when the car seems like it’s going at a decent speed to race in; the older cars seem slow, but I guess that is the limitations of older generation cars.

Older generation cars have always been stereotyped in my mind as powerhouses: vehicles that can easily smoke some of the Japanese cars. And to follow up with that stereotype, I have always believed that these cars would growl, showing off their extremely powerful engine sounds, one that scares the pants off of racers. Well, in this game, the sound is awful. The cars seem more like lawn mowers than high-powered race cars. To make matters worse, the sound in the game is very repetitive and becomes annoying. The classic American type music is similar in beat to “Born to be Wild.” If you leave the game in the start menu for too long, you’ll eventually see what I mean.

Overall, this game was pretty bad, and I did not enjoy it. It was a nice concept to have a game completely devoted to Corvettes, but the game physics need to be fixed. They need to find a better music mixer and work on the background graphics. The graphics they chose were not necessarily bad, but it was just too grainy to enjoy. If you are a Corvette fan, you may enjoy this game, and it may be a steal for its price, but I suggest the rest of you stay as far as possible. If you like Corvettes, I suggest you turn to the Corvette in GT3 or wait until GT4 comes out (limited Corvette exposure but you’ll enjoy it a lot more). I would also strongly suggest R: Racing Evolution, since it does have a few old school power cars that you may enjoy.

Score : 5.0 / 10

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