bitparade: Fast and the Furious (PlayStation 2)

In the past four years, games stores shelves have been saturated with identikit games, namely football, first-person shooters, sandbox crime titles (aka “GTA Clones”) and “street” racers of the Need for Speed variety, and here, for review, is yet another.

The Fast and the Furious is an identikit street racer, it has plenty of cars to choose from that you’d normally expect to see on the streets, it has loads of combinations of set ups, and is yet another title to lift Forza Motorsports decal editor, allowing you to create your own look on your car. If you recently purchased Need For Speed Carbon, then The Fast and the Furious is near on the same game, although its set on Tokyo’s highways.

However, Need For Speed Carbon was a good game, not great, or by any stretch a must buy, but it was probably the second best street racing game, with Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition being the best. Fast and the Furious doesn’t even come close to that quality. Sure it looks nice, once again NAMCO have created a nice looking game, hardly a surprise there if you’ve ever played the Soul Calibur titles. But thats where the niceties seem to end.

The first thing you expect from a driving game is for it to handle well, this is something that the Fast and the Furious doesn’t do, a slight touch of the analogue stick sends you swerving across the road, its stupidly sensitive, and don’t get me started on braking. In most games you release the accelerator briefly, brake, turn than accelerate through the corner, in simulators, depending on your approaching speed and how soon your turn this can either take you through the corner sensibly or kick the back end out a tiny bit (I prefer the latter), in arcade racing games this will result in a controllable slide round the corner, however in the Fast and the Furious, a slight touch of the break will result in your car being completely sideways but carrying on heading in the direction of the nose of the car. Resulting in you smacking the inside wall of a corner near on every time, this isn’t on and makes races with corners that require braking to navigate a really big pain in the backside. The games other big problem lies in its title, its neither fast, nor is it furious, races tend to be decided by who has the most powerful car, most nitrous and when you use it with hardly any jostling for position.

Now the mention of nitrous immediately brings to mind speed, but the cars travel sluggishly before you press the required button to activate the boost and just above sluggish while you are accelerating via the use of boost, travelling at 160mph for example feels like you’ve only just hit 60mph.

However, there are some nice touches to Fast and the Furious, and these are, sadly, in the car customisation area of the game and aren’t even there to improve the performance of your vehicle, they only act to make it look good. The things that I’m talking about is the inclusion of other NAMCO IP’s, namely in the form of Tekken and Soul Calibur characters appearing as vinyls for your car and Katamari and Pac-Man being included as “Drift Charms” to hang off your rear bumper and swing around as you drive your car around Tokyo. But thats really is the best thing about The Fast and the Furious.

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