GT Advance Championship Racing
If there's one thing a system needs, it's a top-notch racing title. Racing games have been a staple in the industry since Day One. Because of classics like Rad Racer and RC Pro-Am, the genre has become a big one. Today, a good racer can define a system. So, it only makes sense that the Game Boy Advance should have a fantastic racer at launch. Enter GT Advance Championship Racing (Advance GTA in Japan). The idea behind the game is simple, as it is with most racers: get around the track and beat everyone else. Yet somehow, despite the simple premise, the game is quite deep. To give you an idea of how far the simulation aspects go, this game has often been called "the handheld Gran Turismo".
GT Advance comes to us courtesy of MTO and THQ. There are a total of 48 cars in the game, and numerous track to race them on. All the cars (except the 2 secret ones) are licensed cars that appear in the real world. They are all, of course, Japanese. Almost any Japanese car imaginable is in the game, including a pint-sized truck. The cars are extremely varied and have 3 main attributes: Handling, Top Speed, and Acceleration.
There are a wealth of courses, and they are all different. Some of them take place on city streets, while others are on dirt tracks, freeways, or standard race circuit tracks. Races can take place in the daytime, evening, or at night. Also, tracks can be either wet or dry, which will greatly effect the handling of your vehicle. Most of the tracks are pretty curvy too, requiring a good sense of control.
By winning races you can unlock new cars and upgrades for your cars. The upgrades increase the stats of the car, which gives the game a lot more depth than just driving. There are tons of upgrades. You can upgrade everything from the car's engine to the driver's seat.
The game does support multiplayer, but only for two players. Unfortunately, the game does not support the 1 cartridge multiplayer feature. According to MTO, the developer, there was just too much info to squeeze though the cable to implement that feature.
The Japanese and American versions of the games are almost the same. There are a few differences though. Surprisingly enough, language is not one of them, as both games have English (and a bit of "engrish") text. One notable difference is that the Japanese version uses a battery to save progress, where as the US version will use a password system. So, it might be smart to spend the few extra bucks to import this puppy. You wouldn't want to lose a password that had you fully loaded out. GT Advance Championship Racing is a launch title for the Game Boy Advance and it looks like a fantastic racing game. Racing fans, and pretty much everyone else, won't want to miss it.
by Michael Cole - August 2, 2001
by Mike Sklens - June 5, 2001
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