The Cruis'n series returns, now on the Game Boy Advance. Does it speed into the recordbooks or crash into a brick wall? Read the review to find out.
Cruis’n USA was a pretty good game back in 1996. Since then the game has expanded into quite a large franchise. It’s really not surprising that the game has made its way to the Game Boy Advance with Cruis’n Velocity.
It’s becoming a trend lately to try and pull off some real 3D on the GBA with the use of mode7 scaling and rotation tricks. There really is a problem with this. The graphics look crappy when developers try to do this. I’m sure many of them are in the mindset that “3D = better” when that is obviously untrue. Cruis’n Velocity is one of these games. Most of the racing consists of going down a giant trench with occasional tunnels and open areas. Because it’s done in 3D the detail is almost non-existent and you rarely feel like you’re actually racing in the location the game says you are. Such locations include Las Vegas, Ireland, and Mars. Last time I checked, Ireland didn’t have a lot of deep canyons for racing. And Mars could easily be replaced with “Grand Canyon” if they just removed the tunnels. Basically, I feel this game could have been a lot better graphically if they hadn’t gone for the 3D feel. They should have stuck to what most of the racers on the GBA are using, just a mode7 track with sprite racers (like Mario Kart and Advance GTA).
The sound in Cruis’n Velocity is ok. That is, when there is sound. The only music in the game is in the menus. When you start a race a female voice says something like “Far out! Mars!” or “Wow, Ireland is so green.” It also spits out “Checkpoint!” when you cross the lap-line. Other than that the only thing your ears are going to hear is the amazingly fake “vrrrrrrr” of the engines in all of the cars. Again, I think because so much of the processing power is going to the 3D world, the sound was seriously cut back as a result.
Racing games need good control. Well, all games need good control, but for racing games it’s really important. Driving in this game is annoying all the time. The controls are simple enough. A is the gas, B is the break. The L button is for reverse, and the R button (used in conjunction with up and down on the D-pad) is the clutch if you’re using a manual car. Steering is awful. For most of the races I played I picked cars with good ratings on handling, and they still slid all over the tracks.
The game is also challenging, probably too much so. Out of all the races I played the highest I ever placed was 3rd, and that only happened once. I can easily pinpoint the problem that caused this. When you hit something, the game sort of re-adjusts the car. Basically it points the car in a direction so it won’t run into the wall anymore. So while I tried to steer away from the wall, the game also did the same. This resulted in me over turning and that resulted in my stinking. But that’s not the major problem. The biggie rears its ugly head when you bump another car, or when another car bumps you. The game’s engine interoperates this like you hit a wall. So it re-adjusts your position and it also slows you down because that’s what happens when you hit stuff. BUT, the other car doesn’t slow down. It just keeps driving like nothing even happened to it.
I don’t think Cruis’n Velocity would last long in most people’s GBAs. Its dirty graphics, icky controls, and sloppy physics totally detract from the game. Of course, those are all just technical terms for saying “this game isn’t much fun.” You would be much better off picking up a better racer like Advance GTA (the import version please).