I had a Ford once. It was a '74 Mustang Ghia II. I enjoyed it but it was getting pretty beat. It wasn't anything that a collector would have wanted at the time. I did enjoy putting the pedal to the medal on rare occasion but I really needed that damn car to get me around so I wasn't about to prematurely destroy the motor like some teenage idiot.

Ford Racing 3 allows me to relive some of those good old days. It reminds me of the kind of game you wouldn't mind throwing a few quarters into before the start of a movie at the four-machine arcade to the right of the concession stand. It does nothing, however, to remind me of the vehicle that brought me to that theatre.

I have to wonder what Ford was thinking when they licensed this game. It's a budget title that is anything but inspired. I could see if the vehicles were pristine examples of modern computer technology but these cars and trucks look like they were created by student designers.

Collecting Ford vehicles is the object to this racing game. There several different classes of races that utilize various Ford coupes, sports and muscles cars in addition to some trucks, spanning all the best production years of these machines. There are 55 vehicles in all but it's only as much of a challenge as you want it to be since you don't get anything for your efforts but the satisfaction in knowing that you collected everything. You never really "unlock" anything, instead you "collect" everything including tracks and racing styles.

Driving the vehicles you will hardly notice any differences among them. The steering is loose for all the vehicles and making sharp turns is a crapshoot. The AI is aggressive as they nudge, push, bump and smash into you. You can do likewise safe in the knowledge that your vehicle won't take on any damage. Even if you hit a wall or a rail head-on you won't suffer anything more than a temporary slowdown. Hence much of the challenge is reduced to just keeping your car on the road and being careful around turns.

At 30 fps there is decent sense of speed but you're not properly equipped to deal with many surprises on these tracks and you can't upgrade your vehicles. Once you get to know the layout of the track you'll have it aced. The first few races of the game are incredibly easy.

Up to six players can race online. This is a good addition but it still suffers from lack of control. At least all racers share this same handicap so there are no unfair advantages. Online racing is the only real reason to own this game since it offers the best challenge. The two-player split-screen mode comes in a close second.

With lots of alaising and plain textures, Ford Racing 3 is nothing to look at. The backgrounds basically define "generic," as does the faux rock music. The female announcer tries too hard to be exciting and just ends up reading her lines too fast and unintelligibly. Must be one of the developer's girlfriends - or someone looking to break into the "biz."

If real Fords performed the way they do in Ford Racing 3 we'd all be driving Toyotas.


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System: PS2
Dev: Razorworks
Pub: Empire Interactive / 2K Games
Released: March 2005
Players: 1 - 6
Review by Dan