Format: PS2

4 005209 063081
Age Restrictions: 12+
17 June 2005

Buy your car, customise it and then race it against other street gangs. Earn respect and cash to progress through the levels and buy the flashiest and fastest car to leave your competitors standing...

Juiced tries so hard to do something different with the racing genre that it's hard not to like it. Sadly, and this is due in part to the fact that this game has been in limbo for some time, it never quite manages to deliver what it promises.

You start off with a small amount of money with which to buy your first car. And then, it's off to the workshop to change the engine components and look of your vehicle. Actually, this is a part of the game you can spend ages on as you tweak the colour of your car and upgrade elements like the alloys and spoilers.

Once you've got your car all set you can have a look at the race calendar and see if there are any events that take your fancy. Typical races include circuit, point to point, sprint and show off (which you are best to avoid until you get the feel of the game, and your car).

The car doesn't handle particularly well either and it's really easy to come flying of the track while other cars, going the same speed, hug the road. But then, it's down to you to customise your car so that it handles better.

One of the most annoying aspects is the fact that drivers who you easily beat in the standard races, suddenly become super human drivers when you enter a 'pink-slip race' (a simple race where the winner takes the loser's car) against them.

Another annoying problems was that while other computer controlled characters can join your gang, there is no point in letting them race for you - most of them are truly terrible drivers and this is the best way of losing money fast. And if other drivers should ram you off the road, you lose respect points and then they have a go at you for being a reckless driver.

It could have been a really impressive game if it hadn't been stuck in development hell for years. Sadly, this is a little to lame and a little too late. Still worth checking out if you want something a little different in the racing genre.

Nick Smithson

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