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Platform:  Playstation 2
# of Players:  1-2
Developer:  Smart Dog
Publisher:  Titus
Features:  Rumble, 2 player simultaneous
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  
When Titus told me that I was getting a package of games to review I was very excited to hear about the new Barbarian game they have been touting. I also received the Virtual Kasparov which is reviewed elsewhere in this issue. What I was not too thrilled about was the game Downforce which has been a hit in the UK but has had little notice stateside. Immediately I had to give Barbarian a try and I will only say that the game is a work in progress with a lot of potential. In other words it sucked but it might be better once completed. So out of pure boredom I popped in the DF.
After about two weeks of rocking this gem for hours on end I have come to love it like no other formula racing game. Not since Pole Position has a title like this been worth even a small notice. While EA’s F1 series is very sim oriented this new Titus game Downforce has all the arcade action elements that make your nipples hard.
To start the game is fast, very fast. The control is tight, very tight. The graphics are superb, very superb. Are you getting the picture yet? Ok…so you need a little more detail than this and I understand. Why should you believe me? Hell…at first I did not believe it. To prove to myself that I was not a delusional idiot I recruited a fellow reviewer-Canaan. Canaan loves racing games even more than I do and has two other rally games reviewed in this issue. He immediately got hooked with me and we became arch enemies in the battle for first place. I think it is time to make clear what makes this jewel sooo sooo sooo sweet.
What makes this so special is an excellent two-player game. You have about twelve cars to choose from and ten tracks. Not a huge selection in my book but they get the job done. The tracks are laid out well and some have really tricky areas like thin tunnels where being side by side are impossible or a sudden turn without a railing and a huge cliff to steer into oblivion. The attention to track detail reminds me of a Need For Speed game or even the recent Vanishing Point from Acclaim, which I loved. While there are no grandstands with people on the wayside you do get a great feeling of background that does not distract you from your task at hand. Your task is simple, to destroy your opponent. Maybe destroy is not the right word. Let me explain further.
You have a few modes such as championship, trophy, 2 player tag battle, 2 player race, and time attack. Hidden in the game is a crash mode where you are in an arena scoring points for spectacular crashes. All these modes are obvious except the tag battle which I will put in plainer words. You are your opponent race for points in a three lap battle. You score a point by either outdistancing yourself from your opponent for ten seconds or by forcing your evil rival to crash. Once the point is scored the cars begin at the point where the losers’ car was. Crashing your friend is very fun and can be achieved through many means least of which is a tap friend behind to force them into the wall. Canaan and I go ape shit for this mode. The games get very intense. Some cars seem heavier or faster and depending on the track it can get very intense. You really have to play this to fully appreciate it.
Have I mentioned the crashing and collision yet? Yes, you do get car damage. Most gamers hate it that cars don’t get fucked up but this bad boy has full damage. All the tires can fall off, sparks fly, slow motion crashes, smoking tires, and insane flips. These are the eye candy that helps push this game into the great category.
Control is never an issue. It is tight and maneuvering the turns is as it should be. The only complaint I have is no car tune ups or upgrades. You just pick from the variety that they give you. The selection is acceptable but customizing a car is way cooler.
In the regular trophy mode it is as expected where you race tracks to get gold, silver, or bronze to open other tracks. You start as a beginner then work to intermediate and finally finish with expert. The AI is not to be dismissed. They will knock you off the track and outpace you if you’re not on top of your game. The music is uninspired but who cares. Popup does not exist but in the beta I was sent there is a very small amount of slow down at certain points in the track but it is so irregular that I am not making it a fault.
I hope you read this whole review and normally I save the last paragraph to summarize what was said. This time however I want you to actually read this whole review so you have the full picture of why I love this game.

Jesse Labrocca

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