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Metropolis Street Racer Review

Developer: Bizarre Creations Publisher: Sega
Release Date: January 16, 2001 Also On: None

Bizarre Creations is undoubtedly one of the finest third party studios out there. For the Dreamcast, they developed Fur Fighters and Metropolis Street Racer (MSR). There’s a reason MSR feels a lot like a Dreamcast version of Project Gotham Racer. They were responsible for the Xbox’s premier racing game, as well as its sequel. On the Xbox 360, they developed Geometry Wars for which a Wii version will be released this fall. Quite an impressive lineup of games since 2001.

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If you want a challenging racing experience, MSR is the most difficult I have ever played. Even Gran Turismo seems easier. The difficulty is in the kudos system, which requires you to drive with style. Sure, you can finish a race first crashing on every turn, but placing first is not the only thing you need to do. Avoiding a crash, sliding around corners, and beating the time on the course are all ways to earn kudos.

The kudos system is the most creative contribution of MSR to the racing genre. The kudos you earn in each race will determine whether you can continue racing. This means that you may have to go back to races you have already completed and earn more kudos. The interesting thing is that you don’t earn more kudos each time you race, but receive a different kudo rating each time you race. This means that you will earn or lose kudos depending on your performance. It is suggested by this reviewer that you build up kudos in the early races to build a buffer when you face more difficult races.

Similar to Unreal Tournament, Metropolis Street Racer has a tier system known as chapters. Chapters start locked and require enough kudos to open them. Within the chapters you race until the championship series. Kudos will not just unlock the 25 chapters in the game, but also more races and improved vehicles to drive. Further adding to your kudos accumulation are Wild Cards (which can double your point value) and a prediction system where you bet on a time and increase your take by beating it.

This is a game that will have you sweating. Imagine speeding down a narrow alleyway with trash cans lining the way. All of a sudden, a turn comes into view and you need to slam on your brakes to make the turn. Honestly, this can get a bit frustrating, as it happens a lot. To make things even harder, Metropolis Street Racer seems to have some of the darkest night racing locations I have ever raced on. You will definitely need to brighten your television in order to see a 90 degree turn coming. It adds to the challenge, but Bizarre Creations almost slowed the race too much with their turns.

As far as visuals go, Bizarre Creations doesn’t let anyone down. Just like Fur Fighters exceeded early PS2 games, Metropolis Street Racer exceeds early Xbox games. The developers took full advantage of the internal clock of the Dreamcast. Depending on the actual time in each of the three cities, you will either experience day time, sun set or night. The three cities are based on actual locations in San Francisco, Tokyo and London. I’ve never been to any of them, but I know Big Ben when I see it.

Metropolis Street Racer is one of those games that keeps you coming back for more. The kudos system was nothing short of innovative and adds to the replay value infinitely. The multi-player is some of the best you will find from Dreamcast racers, as are the graphics. MSR has stood up well to time. Project Gotham Racing was largely based on it and aided the Xbox launch. History looks to be on the side of the folks as Bizarre.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide