Ford Street Racing

14_1Ford Street Racing is fairly impressive considering it’s a budget release. Upon loading the game you’re greeted with all the usual options – dive straight in with Quick Race, or choose between Solo Racing, Team Racing and Multiplayer. Solo Racing features a couple of decent modes beyond the standard race – Elimination is here, along with a neat mode called Overtake, where your aim is to overtake a set number of opponents in a time limit, gaining time bonuses for clean overtakes (as in no contact). There’s a career mode here too, with a series of tournaments that allow you to unlock various cars and tracks.

The entire game is set on the streets of LA, hardly an original location, and while the reproduction of the City of Angels is reasonably detailed and well put together, it’s certainly nothing special. The cars look good enough and have a bit of reflection and damage modelling, but being limited to a range of Ford cars isn’t ideal. Still, you’ve got your classic Fords right through to the modern high performance end and the range actually sports real variety in the handling, so you notice a distinct difference in steering, cornering and acceleration between classes and even between individual cars in the same class, although the extremes of this make for vehicles that can be tricky to keep on the road.

A nice touch is that the AI drivers are pretty realistic; you notice straight away that they’re not all on the same rails, driving flawlessly around – they make mistakes and sometimes even smash into each other. Unfortunately, the feeling of speed isn’t here and while some races can be challenging, you can’t help but notice that there’s a complete lack of excitement. The one feature that I haven’t seen done before in a racer, which is a really great idea implemented reasonably well, is the Team Racing mode. Here you have a team of up to three cars and it’s up to you to try and get all of your cars into the top positions before the end of the race. You can switch between the cars at will, so you can get one up near the front, then switch back to bring the next up and so on.

There’s also a series of Challenges to work through, in order to earn credits to buy cars, and these can be really tough – the first Time Trial challenge is a real bitch to overcome, although it’s good that they put in your best lap ghost to help you gauge if you’re going to beat the time on the next lap or not. Not one single part of the game is really jaw-dropping or awesome fun, but as far as budget releases go, it’s at least of good quality.

System Requirements: Pentium III 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, WinXP

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