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Old 11-14-2011, 11:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Retronauts: Uniracers



In 1994, Nintendo was fighting to keep the Super NES relevant in the face of cutting-edge technology and fierce competition. A new generation of consoles meant that the Super NES no longer cornered the market on top-notch audiovisuals, and Sega pushed the notion that Nintendo's system was too sluggish to handle its famously fast Sonic the Hedgehog series. Nintendo offered the ambitious Donkey Kong Country as a response to the Jaguar and 3DO, but what could they do to make Sega eat its words?


The answer came from DMA Design, the Scottish team of programmers currently known for the Grand Theft Auto series. They developed Uniracers, a peculiar racing title starring a rainbow of animated unicycles. The game is slickly produced and charmingly European, but above all else, it's fast. Boy howdy, is it fast! Its stars blast across the screen with enough speed to drop the jaws of a certain blue hedgehog and his friends.

In fact, the action is so fast that there's no time for hesitation and little room for error in each race. The terrain changes in the blink of an eye, and you'll either have to make split-second course corrections or memorize the layout of each stage to stand a chance against the cutthroat computer opponents. Leaping off ramps and performing stunts gives you a temporary speed boost, but rubberband AI quickly closes any gaps between you and your rival, forcing you to perform flawlessly from start to finish.

The ego-crushing difficulty might be an issue for some players (well' me, mostly), but the real problem with Uniracers is the hollowness of its design. Critics of Sonic the Hedgehog have dismissed it as 'Hold Right: The Game,' but that description is a lot more fitting here. The straight on side view restricts your freedom of movement, to the point where Uniracers feels more like a reflex test than a race. Sometimes you'll be flipped upside down during a track transfer and have to right yourself before you hit the ground, and sometimes you'll get enough airtime to bust out a massive stunt combo, but that's as deep as the gameplay gets.

To DMA Design's credit, the game's presentation is sensational, if a little stark. The unicycles are animated with the same silent whimsy as Pixar's mascot Luxo Jr., leaning into the straightaways and enthusiastically bowing for the audience after crossing the finish line. The rock soundtrack is also incredibly catchy and makes the action at least seem more exciting. Slick audiovisuals can only go so far toward redeeming a game, however, and in the end, pokey old Super Mario Kart is a lot more satisfying. Sometimes, slow and steady wins the race.



http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9091192

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  Interesting article.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Uniracers

Uniracers Super Nintendo
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Uniracers

I don't know about speed, but those are definitely the most fluid graphics on the SNES I've ever seen. Kudos to the Retronauts for the find.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Uniracers

Awesome game.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Uniracers

I personally like it more than Sonic. I haven't played either very much though.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Uniracers

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Originally Posted by Kong View Post
I personally like it more than Sonic. I haven't played either very much though.
I don't know about gameplay, but I think that this has a lot more charm to me than Sonic does, despite the concept of unicycle racing seeming bland initially.

It's in your face, very fluid and cool to look at, (graphics on a DS level, I daresay) and really easy to break into. It ain't memorable, but it's a lot of fun.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Uniracers

I can't be the only one who thought the gameplay in Sonic was crap, all it was to me was run and hope you don't hit something.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Uniracers

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Originally Posted by stevencassidy13 View Post
I can't be the only one who thought the gameplay in Sonic was crap, all it was to me was run and hope you don't hit something.
I think that the system itself had it's flaws (why give you a bazooka if you have to be delicate?), but I think it was executed well enough to not be considered of poor quality.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Uniracers

It wasnt utter crap, it controlled well, but when you got running full speed it was just a crap shoot. I suppose once you learned the levels it would be better.
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Old 11-15-2011, 02:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Retronauts: Uniracers

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevencassidy13 View Post
I can't be the only one who thought the gameplay in Sonic was crap, all it was to me was run and hope you don't hit something.
You're definitely not the only one who thinks that.
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