Metropolis Street Racer
Racing games tend to represent a fairly large chunk of any console's game library (post 16-bit, anyway), and the Dreamcast is certainly no exception. Its software lineup boasts a wide variety of racing titles ranging from awesome ( Daytona USA 2001) to abysmal ( Spirit of Speed: 1937). Truth is, it's hard for a racing game to stand out from the crowd when it's faced with such a large number of contenders all vying for first place. A console racing game had better feature something that its competitors don't offer if it expects to get noticed, whether it be stunning graphics, loads of licensed cars, or a plethora of options, shortcuts, and secrets. In the case of Metropolis Street Racer, deep gameplay and copious amounts of replay value make up for average graphics and a dismal soundtrack, earning it a hearty recommendation.
Metropolis Street Racer takes a truly innovative and refreshing approach to the tired racing genre, replacing the standard "beat a level, earn a new car" formula with a system of driving centered on something called "kudos." Players are rewarded based on not only how well they drive but also the style in which they drive -- a concept that encourages skillful, yet flamboyant racing. Simply placing first on a particular racetrack will certainly move you forward, but placing first with theatrical (and occasionally reckless) driving will get you further. Control is excellent with either the standard control pad or a driving controller, and this is a good thing since precise driving is paramount to racing success. Options include loads of cool vehicles and interesting tracks to unlock, plus bonuses based on how accurately you predict your own success.
Regrettably, the graphics and overall visual presentation of Metropolis Street Racer are strictly average, falling squarely in the middle of the Dreamcast's inflated pack of racers. Track design is admittedly excellent, with a wide variety of courses and environments (many of which are based on real-world locales.)
The soundtrack, on the other hand, is surprisingly bad, bordering on awful. Bad country tunes and forgettable pop songs do not make for a positive auditory experience. Your best bet is to turn down the volume a bit and concentrate on the driving, which is where this game really excels anyway.
Simply put, Metropolis Street Racer ranks as one of the better Dreamcast racing titles in spite of its graphical shortcomings and poor soundtrack. Gamers looking for a quick arcade-style fix will certainly enjoy the experience, while those in search of a deeper, more simulation-oriented game with find plenty to like, too. Developer Bizarre Creations obviously put a lot of effort into the control and track design, resulting in a game that ranks highly in the Dreamcast's already excellent library of titles. ~ Luke Barnes, All Game Guide
The graphics are decidedly average, especially considering how long the game was in development. There isn't much "pop-up" to be seen, but the graphics are jagged, the frame rate sputters occasionally, and some levels are just too dark. ~ Luke Barnes, All Game Guide
If Metropolis Street Racer has an Achilles' heel, then the soundtrack has got to be it. Tunes range from mildly irritating to downright awful. At least the standard racing sound effects (howling tires, revving engines, etc.) are pretty good. ~ Luke Barnes, All Game Guide
Awful soundtrack aside, this game will provide hours of enjoyment for both arcade fans and hard-core gamers alike. ~ Luke Barnes, All Game Guide
Very few racing games encourage the player to keep playing over and over again like Metropolis Street Racer, and even the most jaded of gamers will find themselves returning to it for "just one more race." ~ Luke Barnes, All Game Guide
The in-game menus aren't the best ever, but the control layout is clear and the instruction manual provides plenty of detail. ~ Luke Barnes, All Game Guide