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Old 02-25-2010, 06:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Street Racing Syndicate

{Gamecube}

Similar to Need for Speed Underground 2, you play as a street racer - a tuner - looking to make a reputation in the local street racing scene while winning money to improve your car and buy new ones.
Unlike NFSU 2, your car takes damage and you must pay to repair it.
This creates a 'two steps forward, one step back' situation during the initial stages of the game.

The response of new stock cars is not good enough at first to avoid accidents while racing, and even small accidents cause expensive damage to your car.
You will need to repair that damage before it starts to affect the performance of your car.
Gradually, through the addition of better parts, the car's response increases which cuts down on the number of accidents you are likely to have.

In order to overcome this damage/ repair/ money hump there are sanctioned racing events which you can enter as many times as you want to earn cash while you slowly upgrade your car's performance.

There are several different Leagues in town that you can race with, and each have their own unique set of entry requirements.
Horsepower and cash are the most common criteria, and if you have enough of both, you can join in the race to get your chance of winning the purse which increases with the difficulty of the races.

Besides the sanctioned and League race events, there are also random tuners driving around town who you can invite to a race for cash.
The problem with driving around town looking for these events in the first place are the hundreds of COPS.

Yes, in the quest for realism Namco saw fit to add police cruisers who love nothing better than chasing you relentlessly until they catch you, or you get away.
Preferably the latter, and for that purpose you are given a meter which fills when you are in close proximity to a police cruiser - this is vital to escaping them.
Thankfully, they don't chase you during a race, like the police do in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, as this can become rather annoying.

The controls for this game are true to the type of car being driven, according to its own individual stage of development.
Game physics are realistic enough, but not as brutally realistic as Gran Turismo 4, which I consider to be a driving simulator rather than a game due to the fact that cornering even at relatively low speeds sends your car skidding.
On the other hand the physics are more realistic than those of Burnout: Revenge, where cars corner almost perfectly at high speeds as though they had velcro tires.

SRS has something that other racing games usually don't = GIRLS.
In addition to all of those races, there are also challenges in SRS which are basically tasks to test your driving skill which girls ask you to do in order to impress them.

If you complete the challenge she has presented, she will 'ride with you' in your car [although you never actually see her inside], and a live - action video of a real model dancing will be unlocked for your viewing pleasure.
Each girl has several unlockable videos, and new girls are introduced as you progress in the game.

Like NFSU2, there are lots of real - life specialty parts manufacturer's products available for purchase and installation with which you upgrade your car, and overall I would say the selection is quite good.

Unfortunately, cosmetics are not a major factor in SRS, and there are only a couple of bodykits and spoilers, a few colors of paint, about 10 vinyl decals sets, a handful of colors for neon underglow, and absolutely no subwoofers for the trunk, individual carbon fiber parts, custom specialty doors,...in short, bling is certainly no big thing in SRS.

This makes me wonder why, within the game, there are 'cruising zones', whose only purpose is to show off your car; it drives itself automatically while you control the carmera to get a good look at your tricked out ride.
{that isn't so tricked out at all}
It's a real shame this mode wasn't available for NFSU2, because honestly, SRS fails miserably in the looks department when you compare the two due to its lack of cosmetics options.

Graphics: 5
The game environment is realistic and the rendering of objects is crisp with sharp edges, although the coupling of your car to the road and its surroundings takes some getting used to since the camera behaves as though it is mounted solidly to the trunk of your car.
This is unusual since most other driving games I have played let the car move somewhat independent of the camera, giving a certain sense of momentum and force to turns.

Sound: 4
While I am not personally fond of the game's soundtrack, the quality is good and game sound effects are as well.


Replay value: 3
This is a good racing game, but it pales in comparison to NFSU2 in my opinion because:
A. It has a mode specifically to show off the car, while NFSU2 had 10 times as many cosmetics and accessories [but oddly didn't have such a mode].
B. The police.

Challenge: 3
The biggest challenge I found was getting my car upgraded fast enough to improve handling during the first part of the game.

Tilt: 3
The girls in the game may be a big plus for some, but overall, besides the good graphics they are about the only notable thing about this game.

Apparently the PS2 version had online capability where you could compete in 'pink slip' races, and put your car on the line - online.
For the amount of hype surrounding Street Racing Syndicate, I'm a bit disappointed but will continue playing it...

Last edited by RU Joe; 02-25-2010 at 06:25 PM..
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