Get in the Game
New Fast Fun for Xbox and PlayStation2
Project Gotham RacingBizarre Creations
Xbox Five -- socket your transmission into gear. Four -- smash the accelerator to the floor. Three -- clench your fingers around the steering wheel. Two -- fix your steely gaze on the horizon. One -- pop the clutch, and let your engine roar. And in that frozen, lingering instant, never forget this: You must command the road, or the road will command you. Forget the socially conditioned construct of speed limits. Forget the antiquated notion of pedestrian right-of-way. Let go your conscious self and feel the g-force flow within you. For within these computer-generated streets of high-octane racing, the laws of normal society do not apply. This is the closed circuit that TV commercials warn the unemployed masses about. Yes, folks, herein lies the land of milk and horsepower. An Elysium where boys grow into men, and grown men wet themselves silly with fear. It is the world of Project Gotham Racing, and rest assured, sports fans, Ferrari F50s run wild here like packs of unsaddled mustangs. Through the streets of New York, San Francisco, London, and Tokyo, PGR offers a whopping 204 racing tracks to break the backs of 29 different vehicles. From a turbo-charged Volkswagen Beetle to a top-of-the-line Porsche Carrera GT, players can jump instantly into an arcade race, earn big kudos in freestyle courses, or test their mettle in the close quarters of a multiplayer track. Just take care when slamming fenders against the likes of a Mercedes SLK 320, because if you bust a headlight during a night run, your loss of visibility quickly impairs your ability to see the track ahead. Of course, this real-time damage to your vehicle adds a wonderful sense of reality to PGR, and, along with ample choices of car color, helmet style, personalized plates, and number of courses offered, PGR creates a proper sense of customization. If only the music selections blaring from your car radio were as vast. Not a fan of Sir Mix-a-Lot? Don't really dig the Chemical Brothers? Good thing Xbox comes with a hard drive for downloading your own music, because these tunes lose their tread as fast as a first-gear redline. PGR would also have greatly benefited from a tad more attention to cityscape re-creations, as the sidewalks tend to grow generic after you whiz past on your 1,000th lap. Nitpicks aside, PGR does offer good re-playability, and suitably complements beer, pizza, and a lost Saturday night with friends.