#10: Test Drive 4 (PC)
Starting the list with Test Drive series. The Test Drive game were one of the first series of games that introduced the people to street racing in various locations. Out of all the games in the series and including the Unlimited spin off series, I've selected Test Drive 4 for the PC. The Test Drive series has always been about street racing along with police chases in some of the series. The series is well known for being the street racer against the Need for Speed series, which was seen as their competitor. Test Drive 4 was the game that reached it's high of popularity and for it being a good game at the time of it's release. After Test Drive 4, the later games in the series didn't live up to what Test Drive 4 offered, or they tried too with whatever new they tried to put into it. After it's release, many other video games that offered a street racer started to become available, which slowly overshadowed the Test Drive series. Test Drive 4 had you selecting from almost 20 vehicles taking these vehicles onto the streets across the world on six courses. The PC version was seen as very superior in terms of graphics and gameplay and was also said to be better then the Need for Speed series at the time. The PC version was also described to be better then the PlayStation 1 version of Test Drive 4.
Midtown Madness was Microsoft's early attempt of the street racing street. The game stands out of the crowd of the games, even for today because of it's contemporary feel of the 90s, set during the daytime or in the afternoon. Instead of the world being in a dark underground world or having cars with the high tech being thrown as each other like many of the street racers released today, the look and tune of Midtown Madness looks like yuppies are throwing these vehicles around across an open world city during the work day by driving trendy looking city vehicles such as the Volkswagen Beetle or Cadillac Eldorado to other classes of vehicles.
Midtown Madness was praise for being set in a open world city. Being set in Chicago, the open world design was something that was never seen before in other street racing games at it's time in 1998. The fact it was on the PC may of helpped this happen quicker then being seen on the consoles. The open world city design allowed the player to explore the city where ever they wanted to go and also races in many different ways during a race, such as taking shortcuts, which was something new for a racing game at it's time. Vehicle wise, not only was the player were able to select standard road cars, they were able to select and drive a pick up truck, the Ford F350 and a transit bus. The Midtown Madness series later went onto making another two more games. The Midtown Madness series since been quiet since it's last release, being Midtown Madness 3 for the Xbox. Midtown Madness set the standard of what open world racers can do. The team that created Midtown Madness 1 and 2, Angel Studios later went to make the Midnight Club series, where they carried over the street racing themes from Midtown Madness, where they renamed the studio Rockstar San Diego soon after in 2003 to continue making the Midnight Club games and to show off more street racing found in video games.
The Tokyo Xtreme Racer series has alot going for it. Many fans and gaming websites refer to the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series as the games that really pay homage to the street racing culture that was born out of Japan. These set of games were called the Shutokou Battle games, which started out during the mid 90s and later made way to the Tokyo Xtreme Racer games in the late 90s. The Tokyo Xtreme Racer series enjoyed its popularity with it's first release of their games on Sega Dreamcast in Japan. After the Dreamcast was discontinued by Sega, Genki moved it's production onto the PlayStation 2 to continue the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series and later created Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero in 2001.
The game is set on the highways of Japan, a place where many real street races in Japan really do take place, because it's very difficult for police to pursue racers. In the game, drivers drive around highways, using a GPS to find other racers, they let the other drivers know if they want to race and the race begins. The players try to overtake, take in the lead and outrun their rivals, to win the races. For this, they get rewarded and use these awards to buy better parts, cosmetic changes on their vehicles and even new vehicles. Many players often regard Shutokou Battle to be one of the greatest Street Racer simulations of all time, due to it's accurate representation of street racing in Tokyo. I went with Tokyo Xtreme Racer because it was the game is alot more accessible for players if they want to play the game. Despite the games name, Xtreme Racer Zero is set between Xtreme Racer 2 and 3. Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero was shortly followed with Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 for the PS2.
Juiced was released for the PC, Xbox and PS2 in 2005. What makes Juiced extremely interested yet very tough of a game is it's betting system. Racers have to use their money to buy a vehicle and do whatever they can to win races, earn respect from different crews and to avoid going bankrupt, making the game very challenging and very risky, which many players at the time enjoyed about the game. The player can enter in different districts and meet other crew members. To do this, the player can also select from a cell phone to send and receive messages to other rival crews to set up races. Earn respect was interesting because the players had to guess what each rivals interests was, to get respect from them. There were 8 other crew leaders in the game, each with there own interests where they'll offer respect. This was from winning racings, having good customization on vehicles to even winning them, which got the player noticed.
One of the other interesting features in the game, that some people liked and other didn't, was training your own AI controlled crew members. Many people didn't like it because they needed to be trained and the AI wasn't good and they would sometimes lose, costing alot more then just a loss in a race. It was also very time consuming and therefore, many players and reviewers didn't like it. The game also forces the player to save before starting a race and after making bets to make sure that cheating doesn't occur or someone doesn't rage quit, restart the console and think the money was given back to them after a restart.
There is a small story behind the publishers before the game's release. Juiced was going to be published by Acclaim Entertainment however due to Accliam's bankruptcy,it was sold to THQ to publish the game. Juiced went to sold very well in the market at it's time of it's release in 2005. Juiced was followed by a sequel Juice 2: Hot Import Nights, which was released across various consoles and handhelds in 2007.
#6: The Crew
The Crew has been recently released of December of 2014 on the PC,PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360. Even thou the game can be played alone, it needs a constant online connection. It's the only game on this list that is to have a heavy online dependent mode to mix in with other players and has the use of micro-transactions. Players can easily compete against their friends. It's worth giving this game a try if anyone has the chance. Developed by Ubisoft Reflections and Ivory Tower. The game is set in a really large world of the United States, where players takes control of the lead character Alex Taylor, who is seen in the beginning of the game being pursued by law enforcement. The players can drive around a small scaled version of the United States riddled with long highways with six major cities between them and as many as over thirty little mini scaled version of cities, which the players can freely drive around. The player can take part in races, police chases and other challenges to earn money and to progress the story. It would take 45 minutes in real time to drive from coast to coast thus showing off how huge the game is, therefore making it very refreshing for street racing players would enjoy on current generation consoles.
It was said that the folks at Ivory Tower didn't like the way Test Drive Unlimited 2 panned out and also didn't like how Atari tried to close the original studio, Eden Games, so the developers from that studio, quickly formed Ivory Tower and made The Crew instead, with the help of Ubisoft Reflections.
Street Racing Syndicate was released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PC by Namco. The game is mostly set in Los Angeles however it also stage races in other districts and neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Miami on closed courses. While completing the game is straight forward ,the game is filled with other challenges, other then racing on the street and tournaments. During the game, the player can approach women on the street, who asks the player to perform challenges to show off their skills. Completing each challenge would allow access to these women and to take them to races. Complete races while the players girlfriend are present, would allow them to unlock videos of the models in the game this contributing towards completing 100% of the game. Obtaining 100% in the game would mean defeating each rival, each gang on their territory, each tournament and race, purchasing and owning all 50 vehicles in the game from the dealership and also obtaining all the girlfriend and their videos found in the game.
The game also feature police chases however this only occurs in the open world sections of the game and out of races and aren't as exciting compared to other games. The player can complete the game without taking part in police chases. The game is hard and extremely challenging, sometimes feeling that it represents the really aggressive crews found in the different areas in the game. The games lively world, makes it worth exploring and taking part in. The vehicles can also be customized.
The Fast and The Furious game for the PS2 and PSP were developed by Eutechnyx and released in 2006 by Namco. A Xbox version was planned and in development by Genki, the same studio known for the Toyko Street Racer games but the Xbox version was later cancelled, so fans who wanted the game, had to purchase the PS2 version developed by Eutechnyx. There are other The Fast and The Furious games found in the arcades however they have nothing to do with the movie and are a quick cash in nor not much of street racer in itself.
The game is very representative of the street racing culture in Japan. Players can take part in point to point sprint races, circuit races and even outrun races. The game also features touge races for racing and drifting too. The open world city is very seamless and looks very colorful compared to many other street racing games that are set at night. The player can purchase vehicles from various dealerships however if they want to purchase American made vehicles, they have to go to the dockyard, where they are imported, for the players to purchase them, which is a nice touch of detail to the game. The player can race against the characters which appear across the first three The Fast and The Furious movies, who also drive the vehicles also found in the movie. The player can also win their vehicles found in the game too, which are accurate and modeled to what they are found in the movies. The game does not feature the police and have any police chases however the game does make it up with a variety of game modes found throughout the game. The game has really nice customization options that aren't found in other games, such as LED lights placed on tire valves, so they make the tires look very lit up and modeled mascots made and placed as drift charms on the rear of the vehicles, which are modeled from other characters found in other games published by Namco, such as Pac Man, thus adding a bit more realism to the game, as it's respective of Japanese culture of the modern era. Many fans of The Fast and The Furious consider this game to be the spiritual successor of Street Racing Syndicate as many of the elements were more of an improved version from that game, which was also developed by Eutechnyx and published by Namco.
The Fast and The Furious game was meant to treat gamers to the world of The Fast and the Furious shortly after the release of Tokyo Drift. This was when no one knew the direction of what would of happened to The Fast and The Furious movies, before another production company bought the rights for the franchise and to continue the movies to what they are today.
Burnout 3 was a very surprising good game during the time of it's release in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Developed by Criterion Games, the first two Burnout games focused on street racing and make crashes worth looking at for game consoles however many players saw this as punishing at times. Burnout 3 changed all of that. This time, players can do whatever they can to attack other racers during a race. They can bump and stunt into other drivers or feel the force of the attack themselves if other drivers rammed into them with it's responsive physics during races. Players can cause other racers to crash, thus giving them more speed boost to help them accelerate faster helping them win races or giving them more power in some situations.
Races took place across many areas featuring streets or highways, sectioned between three different places around the world, the USA, Europe and the Eastern Asia (Eastern, maybe because Asia is so big). The biggest and most unique feature of the game was the Crash After-touch. Whenever the player would crash, they can hold down impact time, which will slow the game down and the player would be able to control the movement and direction of their wrecked vehicle into other racing rivals and cause them to get wrecked. This awarding them with more points and more speed boost. This was a big deal back then and it really gave players more of a chance in races after they crashed. This feature became more of a feature in the later Burnout games, Burnout Revenge and Burnout Paradise and it added alot more depth in and something very interest with what a street racer could do in a form of a video game.
Another surprise which make it into the game, was the Road Rage mode, which happened to be many players favorite mode. In Road Rage, players can drive and cause other racers to crash for as long as they wanted too, on a never ending supply of driving rivals. This mode really surprised alot of players and was heavily praised at the time of the games release. Burnout 3 also featured a crash mode, where players can use vehicles to crash into road sections and cause a massive pile up and try to score the most points. Burnout 3 didn't have any police chases or pursuits. The closest the game had to chases was the online multiplayer mode if anyone was lucky enough to access them at the time in 2004, Burnout 2, which offered a pursuit mode or they had to wait for Burnout Paradise for the Cops and Robbers pack in 2009.
The Need for Speed games are almost the king of street racing games itself compared to every other entry that is out there, with their countless sequels and spin-offs and their success. The Need for Speed series has had it's ups and down with their releases of all their games over the years for the pass two decades. In 2002, EA released Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 across various consoles however it wasn't a commercial success and the series struggled soon after. It was shortly followed by Underground, which was a massive success and really put the street style into the series however the police absence was noticed by gamers, where they were disappointed by and wanted the return of the police in any shape or form, even if it were another Underground game.
Need for Speed come back with street racing after the Underground series with Most Wanted in 2005 for the PC, Xbox and PS2 developed by EA Black Box. The game really put everything it made from the previous Need for Speed games into Most Wanted. Everything from a full cinematic and well presented story, in-depth and tactical police chases on a full open world environment and a whole bunch of game modes to make this street racer more risky and put on edge then the other titles out there. The game uses real actors to make the game cut-scenes and voice acting worth while, which amazed a lot of gamers and reviewers at the time of it's release. The player takes control of an unnamed racer who drive a BMW M3 into open world of Rockport City. The player finds and races again the Blacklist's number 1 street racer, however the player gets cheated out of his BMW M3. The player purchases another vehicle and started from the bottom of the blacklist and progresses to defeat all the blacklist racers in Rockport before the final showdown of the blacklist number 1 racer. The game doesn't stop there.The games police chases make up the bunk of the gameplay as the player, right towards the end of the game, gets treated and challenged by police pursuits, where they get challenged by evading roadblocks, avoiding police SUV's nickname Rhino and trying to outrun the helicopter from time to time. Some of the police chases occurs during races and get really heated after a race is completed, making the world feel very seamless from time to time during gameplay.
Out of all the Need for Speed games created to date, Most Wanted released in 2005 is the game that Need for Speed given gamers what they wanted and really excited gamers with it's return to street racing with police chases. Most Wanted later got a reboot in 2012 to revive the series a bit and to fit with that generation of gamers at the time and hasn't got much to do with the original most wanted game. All the other Need for Speed games out do themselves but I think Most Wanted was aimed towards everyone at the time and anyone could play the game and get the most out what the Need for Speed universe would offer at the time.
#1: Midnight Club II
It was a difficult choice to select one Midnight Club game because all the Midnight club games are as good as each other in there own merit and really show off how street racing in a video game can be. The Midnight Club series was developed by Rockstar San Diego, the same studio that created the Midtown Madness series when they were Angel Studios before they were renamed. Released in 2003 for the PC, Xbox and PlayStation 2, Midnight Club 2 is strictly street racing events set mostly during the night across three open world, major cities around the world. These cities are which are Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo. The cities are really well crafted, designed and are rendered beautifully, with the setting of a well lit open world city. The player can unlocks cars and motorcycles as they progress and win races thought-out the game and race them on later street races, which is required to help win racers. The games AI was widely praise as the AI drivers would drive differently each time, every time, even if the events gets restarted from time to time, the AI drivers would always take a different route as they would try to win the race. The game is challenging and there are trial and error however the trial and error isn't as bad as the other Midnight Club games. The later Midnight Club games in the series do get better and better however I selected Midnight Club 2 because it has the right balance of racing and presentation, from the graphics and vehicles and includes the introduction of motorcycles in a street race. The game also shows off fully pre-rendered cut-scenes of rival, which the players meet and interact with and to see their personalities and race throughout the game to tell it's story. Some of them as seen on the box art of the game. It really adds a tone to the game of who the player come across during the game during races.
Compared to the other games in the series, The first midnight club is dated and way too challenging to the point where it's extremely difficult for new comers. Very challenging because the developers wanted to do whatever they can to keep the gamers on their PlayStation 2 and as it was one of the early PlayStation 2 titles. Midnight Club 3 was more opened and would be very time-consuming as the game offered an option of loads of vehicles which are fully licensed and they can be tuned and customized. Midnight Club Los Angeles can be very difficult at time too. So if anyone wants a good introduction to the Midnight Club games, they should start playing Midnight Club 2 before moving onto the rest of the other games in the series.
Worthy Mention - Crazy Taxi - Not much of a racer, Crazy Taxi is an arcade styled game where players take control of a taxi and have to pick up fare across the city and deliver them to earn loads of money. The only thing the player is racing against, is the clock. Some people consider it a street racer but it's not as striking of a racing game as many of the other entries on this list. The game can be very comical at times.
Street Racing in video games has come a long way for almost three decades. Developers are doing whatever they can to add more to the street racing culture and to make the games as appealing and stylish as they possibly can, as well as offering a different level of excitement compared to other racing genres out there.
List by 91210user (07/02/2015)
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