Does it really count as a #ThrowBackThursday if you’ve never actually played a particular game before? Doesn’t really matter, its an older title on an unsupported platform, thats enough for me.
I actually picked up Street Riders thinking it was something else. I got it confused with Street Supremacy is a part of the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series/genre, Street Riders, whilst featuring cars and streets is a very different game all together.
Street Riders has more in common with the Twisted Metal series than it does a street racer like Tokyo Xtreme Racer. The player is tasked with taking part in a series of races and arena battles with pick ups dotted around the environment. Events are split into 4 types, Race is self explanatory, as is Elimination, Arena (I forget the games actual term) is a cordoned off series of streets or multi-story car park where you compete to be the last one standing and the last mode I’ve come across is another race type but all the pick ups are mines.
Generally speaking, aside from that last event type, pick ups are your standard guns; Uzi’s, Assault Rifles, Shotguns etc, that the stories main character uses by hanging out the passenger seat of the car whilst his female driver races. You control both simultaneously, racing using the standard controls and then firing forwards or backwards using the shoulder buttons. It’s a decent set up and overall the game controls well. The only real difficulty spikes come in during the events where you only have mines available to you, its far too easy for the opponent AI to get into the lead and stay there untouched (you have a handgun as standard but it doesn’t do much in the way of damage, it can slow your opponents down enough to catch them though), however the rubber banding if you get in the lead means you never really shake them and due to the majority of the corners being right angled (thanks to America’s use of the grid system for their cities) its far too easy to lose time and thus lose places. This isn’t as much of an issue in the standard or elimination races as you have a multitude of weapons that can be fired in either direction and thus used to slow down those around you (or blow them up requiring them to be reset to the circuit and losing time) but it makes the mine based races much much more difficult than the rest of the game.
Visually its not actually a bad looking game, its not the best looking racer on the system, but the locations, whilst samey looking, have just enough about them that they aren’t dull and it all moves along at a respectable rate with no noticeable drop in performance.
Street Riders plays out against a West Coast Gangsta Rap kind of setting, with the races and events being the backdrop for turf wars, unfortunately its also an excuse for some awful stereotypes, language and misogyny that litters the game and leaves a bad impression. Driving along and hearing the main character Bucky call out something along the lines of “Damn girl, mind my whip” or the shots of one particular characters cleavage in cutscenes, plus disparaging remarks aimed at her, left me cringing and hitting the volume down button on the PSP, and its ultimately these design choices that harm the game in 2019, some thirteen years after its release when gaming was still obsessed with GTA: San Andreas and being “Street”.
This makes it difficult to recommend Street Riders, the game itself, stripped of its themes and setting, isn’t quite good enough to stand on its own two feet, the setting and sexism, which whilst evident in other similar media such as San Andreas or movies like Boyz in the Hood, isn’t handled with enough skill from the creators which ultimately drags Street Riders down further.