L.A. Rush

Format: PS2

5 037930 072512
Age Restrictions: 12+
21 October 2005

Explore Los Angeles by day or by night from Compton, to LAX, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the beaches of Santa Monica. Pure racing skills are on the line as the world's best street racers gather in L.A. and your self-respect is up for grabs in a variety of non-racing driving missions. Cop chases, gridlock, cross-traffic, high-flying jumps, and the death-defying shortcuts that the
Rush franchise is known for take L.A. Rush beyond the standard tuner-car simulation game. The game also features more than 50 licensed and concept cars, classic muscle cars, SUVs and import tuners, as well as customisable part manufacturers and designs...

L.A. Rush seems to have been rushed onto the market without being properly tested. There are more bugs in this game than in a hippy's bed. Race position indicators don't always work as they're supposed to (more on that later) and the arrow that directs you towards your chosen destination doesn't always offer the best route.

Also, another really important element is missing from this release - some actual gameplay. You'll soon get bored of the repetitive missions and races (well, I did anyway). And once you do, there's nothing else to do - there aren't enough jumps to make driving around the cities exciting. To be honest, once you've driven down one street, you've driven down them all. Even running from the police gets very dull very quickly.

There are also plenty of annoying elements in the game that start to grate rather quickly. Take the race modes as an example. Firstly your competitors will always (and I mean always) get the better of you should you both bash into each other. You'll be spinning out of control, while they race past you. The indicator at the top of the screen, to let you know which position you are in, doesn't work all of the time. On more than one occasion I was told I was in first position way after one of the other cars had passed me. When the police are chasing you, they chase you and not your competitors. If you are competing in a race with several circuits, the police will always chase after you at the same location, no matter how many times you re-race Not only that, but other elements (like large articulated lorries driving across your path) also repeat their moves time and time again at the same destination - taking any actual surprise out of the game. And, finally, when you finish a race you are not give the option to try again. Instead you have to wait for the game to load up the free roaming level and then re-enter the race.

While the crashing of the car looks great, there's no incentive to actually swerve around traffic. Once your car is totalled, you restart from where you crashed, going at quite a pace. If any of your opponents were just in front of you, they won't have moved very far. Not only that, but the replays soon become really dull. Also, I noticed that if you start driving with a totally unscathed car, the fist hit you get always results in the front of the car looking like it's hit a lamppost, even if you are hit from the side.

Other annoying elements include the fact that you can't perform handbrake turns (surely essential for racing games) as well as most other games. There is a handbrake feature, but it's not that much different to just braking. Also, you can't look left or right (you can only look behind you). This seems a little odd, as you really need to be able to check down streets as you whizz past them. Also, why is there no horn? Part of the fun of burning round the city is to blast your horn to anyone who will listen. And, the fact that there is no online gaming option beggars belief.

Right, now I've got all that off my chest, what about the good bits? Well, to be honest there aren't any. Well, nothing new that you haven't already seen elsewhere done a lot better.

Even die-hard fans of the Rush franchise are advised to try this before rushing out to buy it. If a little more thought had gone into this release, as well as some actual gameplay, then this would have been an interesting game. As it is, however, it's just a very flat driving game with really nice graphics.

Nick Smithson

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