In case you’re not aware, Speed Racer is the latest movie from the Wachowski brothers, the same guys that made The Matrix films. It’s basically your underdog faces the big corporations story all shot on blue screen with some ludicrous car races set on futuristic tracks. Of course, this makes great fodder for a videogame along the same lines as F-Zero and WipeOut and the version for the DS doesn’t fail to be some good pocket racing fun.
Like the afore-mentioned games you race along at breakneck speed round some twisty bendy tracks, doing loop the loops and jumping over lots of ramps. As you go over these you do all manner of stunts – and if you land them correctly by tweaking your spin with the d-pad and race in an exciting way you get more boost and fans which leads to extra unlockable items including cars, tracks and racers.
Instead of firing weapons you can do spin attacks just like in F-Zero and indulge in a bit of Car-Fu. Hi-ya! Basically you press the B button when near an opponent, then have to press the correct button at the correct time to beat your opponent. It’s not rocket science but if you win you send your opponent into a spin and get some extra boost. Fill your boost metre right up and you can enter ‘The Zone’ where the track becomes a straight line and you can drive through your opponents like a knife through butter.
I like what they’ve done here on the DS. They haven’t used the touch screen just because it’s there and they’ve kept the graphics simple yet colourful so there’s no drop in frame rate. The cars are a bit sketchy to control at first but you soon get the hang of how to drift round corners, when to boost and how to do your Car-Fu.
There are three classes to race in and an arcade mode with time trials, a stunt mode and a Car-Fu takedown race in there too – and you can play this with friends wirelessly.
I haven’t seen the film but still find this an enjoyable game in its own right. Speed Racer on the DS gets a very good 7 out of 10.