Studios jumps behind the wheel of Pixar's latest.
by Wu Lee
20, 2006 - Cars
is a videogame that lets you take a little bit of
the movie home with you. It's not the greatest movie-inspired
videogame but it's certainly better than most. As
a racing game it's a few notches above the standard
kart racer. The formulaic gameplay isn't apparently
obvious due to the endearing characters, interactive
storyline and numerous unlockables that are certainly
guaranteed to hold a younger gamer's interest for
Springs is a car community filled with animated vehicles
in the tradition of Herbie the Lovebug, though the
movie is entirely computer animated and presented
as a kind of high-tech cartoon. If you haven't seen
the movie, the game is sure to spoil some of the plot
for you so you might want to see the movie first.
The Story Mode follows the plot of the movie, but
not too closely. The gameplay is rather open-ended
giving the player a lot of freedom to explore the
town and the environments in addition to accepting
various races. By completing various challenges you
can advance the story by triggering cutscenes that
will lead you into new situations.
the town of Radiator Springs you will encounter all
of the principal characters from the movie, all of
which are voiced by the original actors from the movie.
Don't expect the cutscenes to look as good as the
movie animation, these cutscenes are based on the
movie but not taken from it. They've been recreated
so as not to contrast too greatly with the in-game
graphics. The Xbox version is the better looking of
the consoles. No surprise there. But the PS2 manages
to hold its own and gives us a good rendition of the
movie in looks, sound and spirit. The Cube version
is inbetween while the PC looks the best in high res.
Cup races in Radiator Springs are as popular as hockey
in Canada. By taking part in these races you will
earn points and be in a position to unlock a variety
of goodies including new racing tracks, different
sections of the town, new racers with customized paint
jobs, arcade races that you can re-play in the Arcade
mode, a slew of mini-games, art from the movie and
some new moves. The controls are very simple and easy
to use but they aren't exactly tight and responsive.
You have acceleration, braking, drifting and jumping.
You can unlock some other moves in the form of boosts.
Drifting is a form of powersliding. It's a move that
allows your vehicle to continue moving in the same
direction while taking a sharp turn, by sliding sideways.
This move is typically accomplished by slamming on
the brake hard and fast. Unfortunately drifting in
this game will stop the instant that you apply the
brake. In an effort to simplify the control system
the developers have relegated drifting to the press
of a single button. It does work but it only works
for a limited time. It feels a lot less natural which
is a shame since it's a great move that we want to
use in a lot more situations.
far as steering goes, the cars control well but not
exceedingly. They can be a little unmanageable and
will often leave the track if you don't negotiate
your turns properly. The cars don't have a great sense
of speed so things never get too intense but it can
kind of screw up your momentum. Fortunately there
are plenty of distractions in the way of unlockables,
mini-games and exploring that will keep players from
getting bored with the racing. The town is fun to
explore but like so many games it looks bigger than
it actually is since there are a lot of invisible
barriers that keep you from accessing these areas.
In some instances these areas will open up to reveal
a new track but you can't unlock the entire town.
Even though your car has the ability to jump, and
you're certain it can clear a particular obstacle,
if it has an invisible boundary you won't be able
to jump it. Instead of teasing us, the developer should
have made these areas Dead Ends or Detours, at least
that way we would know not to even bother attempting
to get past them.
are plenty of obstacles in the game but very few of
them are destructible. If you manage to plow into
a fence you'll find that it instantly becomes an immovable
object. Hey, racing can be fun but nothing compares
to being able to smash things into pieces.
you venture too far off the beaten path you will activate
a timer that will give you a warning to get back on
course. You can activate this timer by breaking away
from the pack like a wild mare into the great unknown
or simply by taking a turn too wide and leaving the
track unintentionally. If you're out of bounds for
too long, which seems like only a few seconds, your
car will be placed back on the track by the CPU. Sometimes
you'll find yourself ahead of the pack and other times
you'll be behind so there's no way to use this feature
to your advantage.
tunes are great and really inspire racing. They will
also bring back memories of the movie since the lyrics
are context sensitive to some of the scenes. Maybe
not all of the lyrics but the repetitious choruses
at least. The voiceovers, although well acted, don't
really bring the characters to life the way they did
in the movie.
you attempt to unlock everything in this game you
can expect it to last about 15 hours or so. The average
gamer will probably get five to eight hours out of
it before they've seen most of it and start to get
bored. I would definitely recommend renting this for
a weekend before committing to a purchase.
Based on the PIXAR film of the same name, Cars has
you playing as characters from the movie as you
help Lightning McQueen capture the coveted Piston
than 10 playable characters from the film
world environment with more than 50 races
voice talent from the movie
than 30 Mini-games
Mode lets you re-play any unlocked race, anytime