Review by da007

Reviewed: 01/29/07

I am James Bond, and I approve of this game!

For a game that was hyped up since it’s showing in E3, this truly lives up to it’s expectations with the horse racing concept behind such a stunning Barbie adventure. It’s too bad this game was given the cold shoulder do to it’s brand name. Read further as I break down the scoring into 5 categories: Story,Gameplay, Visuals, Sound, and Rent/Buy?

Story: 10/10

I have to admit I was quite surprised at how well the story unraveled. You start of as a beautiful women by the name of Barbie who lives on a ranch infested with horses. She finds herself bored one day in her cabin so she tries to think of something fun. Upon pondering for a few seconds, she comes up with the wonderful idea of getting friends to horse race. I’m not going to give away too much but let’s just say this game will leave you at the edge of your seats with all the plot twists this throws at you. In certain races I thought one person would win when the underdog really did, it left me tricked the whole race! You’ll really enjoy the story as it relates to everyday life as a horse racer.

Gameplay: 9/10

This has got to be my most favorite part of the game due to it’s emence fun factor this delivers. There is a total of 8 characters(Barbie being the default) and 10 horses with 7 of each being unlockable by winning championship games and earning the gold medal through vigorous races that will leave your hands cramped and sweating. You hold “B” throughout the entire race to accelerate and “A” to whip the horse to run faster and the D-Pad being used for moving the horse in directions needed to move through the tracks. The hardness in this game really makes this game good since you won’t be blazing through all the races. There’s also a Time Trial and Multiplayer mode that you can play upon getting all 5 gold medals from “Championship” mode. This is a bit annoying since you’re basically forced to get all medals which will take you about 5 hours(1h/race), before you can start on any other modes. As you unlock characters and horses, the stats increase in the player being unlocked. i.e. You get a gold medal in the second race, you unlock 3 horses and 2 characters with each being higher in skill than the previously unlocked horses and characters in race one. This gives a balance as it will make you want to play until the end to get the best players possible. There is also a neat feature where certain characters on a certain horse will counter-react with one another and give you a special skill of some sort. One being a thicker whip to get the horses to run faster and another being a gold jockey suit that will keep your stamina at 100%. It’s not a given on what players you should fuse with what horses, so that will be up to you to figure out.

Visuals: 10\10

All I have to say is “Wow!”. For being a Barbie game on the Gameboy Advance, the graphics in this game really blew me away. This is why it’s a shame that so many people passed this game up because of false accusations. I really felt like I was there with such lucious green grass and the heavenly sky bringing light among the surface with the bright sizzling sun yellow as dandelions. The horses were so realistic aswell with their hair shiny and looking smooth with it’s bristled look. The characters looked like actual jockeys and I foolishly made the assumption that Ken, an unlockable character in this game, was Toby Mcguire from the movie “Seabiscuit”. If I were to name a game that held it’s own in the graphics department with the big names out there for the X-Box 360 and the PS3, I would absolutely mention this title.

Sound: 10/10

Now I don’t know who provided the sounds for this game but they sure as hell did a mighty fine job. Whenever the horses gallop you can hear the pounding against the dirt and hear the crushing of sand pellets as the horses smash them with their blazing fast speed. Once you come to a stop with the horse, it will neigh and stand on two legs for 3 seconds. When I first heard the neigh, I almost had a heart attack at how loud and realistic the sound screeched through the stereo speaker of the Gameboy Advance. That amazed me at how I felt like I actually had a horse living with me. I tip my hat off to the sound designer for such dazzling effects.

Rent/Buy?

Overall this was a beautifully made game that really takes your breathe away. If I could, I would bring this game to the many people out there and introduce them to a game they really missed out on. Matter of fact, I will make it a duty of mine to buy a few copies here and there and just randomly select people off the streets or in malls to give it to them for free as a favor for the wonderful fun they will encounter. Honestly, renting shouldn’t even be in your mind right now, I can’t fathom anyone not owning this gem that really intrigues the mind, body, and soul. Do me a favor and BUY this game. You won’t regret it for a millisecond, I guarantee it.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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