|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
The size of a vehicle is directly related to its popularity. Be they small Volkswagon Beetles or Hot Wheels, or large Surburbans and pickup trucks, people enjoy extremes of one end the other.
This could be a workable theory, were it not for the dreadful Re-Volt, Acclaim's remote control racing title for Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation. This review is based on the N64 version. (The PC version is different enough to warrant not being represented by this review.)
Like Micro Machines, Re-Volt's courses are an assortment of atypical locations: suburbs, supermarkets, museums. There are seven courses, with several variations on each, but only the first three basic courses are initially available. The routes have no guardrails or blockades to follow; rather, arrows are displayed indicating which turn to take.
Taking those turns is the main source of grief for Re-Volt players. The analog control is much too sensitive: plan on turning twice as many degrees as you intended to; causing you to do an about-face or slamming into walls and curbs regularly. The digital pad works a bit better, but is insufficient in today's analog world.
The situation isn't helped by the graphics. Re-Volt utilizes the RAM Expansion Pak, but without results. Multiple cars or items on the screen can shoot the frame rate to heck, aggravating control. The graphics are also dark and indistinct, making it difficult to make out turns or to distinguish a glass floor from a glass wall.
From the get-go, the music is simple and irritating, with singers attempting to hum and be-bop along with the music. Sound effects are on the lesser side of average, with a barking dog that sounds more like someone banging a pot. The Nintendo 64 does not have the best sound chip, but even it is capable of better than this.
If you can endure Re-Volt, there are several modes of play in which to do it. Standard one player modes include single race, championship, time trial, and practice. A stunt mode requires perfect maneuverability to score stars floating throughout the course's loop-de-loops, jumps, and half-pipes.
Replay value is limited to two modes. Up to four players can race in the multiplayer arena, or a single player can create his own course with the Track Editor. If you want to take the time to learn how to use this mode, it can produce some satisfying results.
The Nintendo 64 has become known for its number of terrible racing titles. With unbearable control and downright unfun gameplay, consider Re-Volt as Acclaim's contribution to that reputation.
This article is copyright (c) 1999, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 30-Aug-99