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     " It seems like you could play it forever, but then one of your eyes will start to bleed and you will have to turn it off for a while and rest. "

      Title: Kinetica by Sony

      Format: Racing for PS2

      Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

      The Hype: After the economy goes to hell (for whatever reason) underground racing becomes hugely popular and a way for people to forget their cares. With the discovery of new forms of kinetic energy the economy is saved and the racers that were underground before now have super advanced racing suits and super star classification. You must race with them through 15 insane tracks over many incredible environments as you pull of eye-popping gravity defying stunts to get the gold.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: I am going to write the three words that best describe this game at the beginning of every category that they apply to. Those three words are, "over the top." This game is great looking the characters and tracks and environments and eye candy effects are all just awesome! The first time you play it you probably will lose continually because you just keep wanting to look at the beautiful surroundings and watch your character perform amazing acrobatic stunts. And the game runs at a solid 60 fps with little slowdown! And when you consider that there are 11 other racers in competition with you on the track, it is even more amazing. And there is a crazy amount of stuff going on all the time with particle effects on the boost pads, and the city traffic flying past all the time. 4.5 out of 5.

      Sound: The sound is absolutely perfect for the game. Everything has a futuristic quality to it that really sets the mood for the game. The music is that ambient techno type that is often found in futuristic games and works perfectly for this one. It really sets the pace and makes you want to go as fast as you can. Additionally, this game is supposed to have something special about it. It was made with "sound MAX" which is supposed to make the sound react to what is happening in the game, but I really didnít hear anything that seemed unbelievable. 4.5 out of 5

      Game Play: Over the top! This game is all about crazy fast paced action on tracks that will make you blow you mind if not your dinner. The whole point of the game is to be the first to reach the finish line (duh) but you canít do that by just being really good at negotiating turns. In this game you have to perform stunts to build up your boost meter so that you can blast past the competition (boost is also especially useful to break out of a slide). That type of gameplay isnít really a new innovation, everyone who has played SSX should find it familiar, but in this game the way in which you pull of tricks is really simple so it doesnít distract you from your racing. The other big factor in this game is bonuses. You have to pick up five glowing crystals to get one of many bonuses that do anything from giving you unlimited boost (for a short while) to a burst attack that will make all competitors nearby stop in their tracks. And the straw that broke the camelís back, so to speak, is the amount of shortcuts in this game. They can be found on all of the tracks, and will take some skill to access. At first these shortcuts are good ways of ensuring your victory, but as you advance in the game these shortcuts will be necessary to obtain the win, so keep you eyes peeled. 4.5 out of 5.

      Level and Environment Designs: Over the top! One of the shinning points of this game is the track design. They are just absolutely twisted- literally! They will make you drive upside down, sideways, straight up buildings, and have jumps that freak the hell out of you by making you think down is down, when really down is up. The variety in tracks is also really cool. They arenít all in these big futuristic cities. Some tracks will take you out to the jungle and through Mayan temples, other will have you racking along the edge of a cliff, will still others are just so bizarre and crazy they seem like they must be on alien worlds. The best part of this variety is that out of the 15 tracks that you eventually get to race through, there are never tracks that just recycle textures, it is all fresh and new. 5 out of 5.

      Multiplayer: The two-player mode in this game is pretty straightforward, but allows the players a good amount of control over how they want to play it. You can choose how many races you want to play through, so you wonít have to go back to the first menu all the time, you can choose up to 4 bot racers that you can compete against, you can choose who gets to pick the next track (winner, loser, or random). And the best part is that you can choose between three split-screen modes: top & bottom, left & right, or my personal favorite, which really is only good on TVs that are bigger than 19 inches, the wide screen mode, where the screen is split left and right, but has the Black bars on top and bottom so each player has a square with the full view of what they would have in one player more. However, there are at first only four tracks to choose from in multiplayer mode, so you have to advance in the one player game to get everything out of the multiplayer. 4 out of 5.

      Replayability: This game is so faced paced and exciting, it seems like you could play it forever, but then one of your eyes will start to bleed and you will have to turn it off for a while and rest. The fact is the game has huge replayability due to the track length, the season length, and the secrets that you will have to develop real skill in order to unlock. Of course as always the multiplayer adds even more to the replayability, but my advice is that you lend this game to your friends so that they can get used to the races as you really have to know the courses to do any good. 4 out of 5.

      Story/Dramatics: This game only has a little bit of what I call an excuse story. The excuse story is that little snippet of story that is found only in the manual that basically explains why the game doesnít need to make sense. According to this little thing, it is years in the future and the underground racing that became popular with the economic downfall has been revamped since kinetic energy allowed for a blooming economy and gigantic cities. Now the racers who were underground before have official sponsors, and have specially made kinetic racing suits along with superstar status. And thatís pretty much it. The reason you race your races is because they are there to be raced. 2 out of 5.

      Instructions and Learning Curve: The instructions are great at giving you all the information needed to start enjoying this game: you will learn what racers are good for you, and even find out how to perform all of the stunts, but this isnít enough to make you good at the game. The crazy track designs along with the speed at which you travel make this game more comparable to bobsledding that to current motor vehicle races; i.e. you really have to race the tracks in practice mode a couple times before you can be good enough to beat the other racers, this is most especially true for the tracks in the final season of the game. 4 out 5.

      Installation and Real System Requirements: This game is really good about using the PS2 to its potential. The tracks are gigantic and there are tons of moving objects all the time, and they are loaded really quickly. Kinetica uses the full abilities of the Dual Shock 2 analog controllers, including the pressure sensitive buttons. And to top it all off, it doesnít take up a whole crapload of space on your memory card. 4.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:


       This game is all about crazy action on crazy tracks. At first it seems a bit intimidating but you will be amazed at how fast you get used to all that is going on. It has great graphics and sound and the designs are all top notch. And the best part is the amount of control you have over how you want the two-player mode to work.

      The Good: Great design, for racers and tracks alike, plenty of cool environments, fast-paced action, and a ton of customization options for two-player mode.

      The Bad: There isnít really much of a story and there isnít a four-player mode.

      The Overall Ugly: If you like crazy fast races, you should get this game. If you normally donít, you should give it a shot anyway, chances are youíll love it.

      What it's Worth: Market.

Buy it direct from Amazon.com

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