Racing Gears Advance Review

Developer: Orbital Publisher: Orbital
Release Date: February 8, 2005 Also On: None

It is because of games like Racing Gears Advance why I am glad the DS doesn’t have analog controls. I couldn’t imagine trying to play a GBA game with an analog joystick, like some have suggested the DS needs. Afterall, who needs DS games for the DS when we can be playing great GBA games like Racing Gears Advance?

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For those unfamiliar with this title, Racing Gears Advance will be called RGA from here on. Basically, it’s a 2D racer of that which we have not really seen before on the GBA. Please note, I played this title on the Nintendo DS, so your experience might be slightly different on the GBA or SP. RGA is a top-down racer, featuring eight cars per race and 25 tracks. Unlike some games, there are no reverse tracks here; they’re all original in design.

The soundtrack in RGA is surprisingly good for a Game Boy Advance racer. Even though they’re of your traditional video game electronic music, some of the tunes can become addictive. Other than the music though, there aren’t many in-game sounds, aside from the sounds of cars slipping on oil and such. No engine sounds to speak of, or sounds of brakes.

The controls in RGA are basic. A is used to select on menus, B to backtrack on menus. You can customize the controls, but my settings had B as acceleration, A as break, R as fire for the powerups, and L to change powerups. The control pad is used to move your car. Everything feels natural, mainly because the developers made it so that you can make it to what feels natural to you.

So what makes Racing Gears Advance different from other racers? To start, its camera is a top-down view. The cars look like race cars that you’d use as a kid, and all are licensed. The vehicle choice ranges from Coupe to Hummer H2 to Viper. You select one of six racers to begin with, in the Championship mode known as Circuit races. Once you complete these Circuit races, you unlock new Circuits. From here you’ll also unlock new racers with new vehicles to drive in.

You’ll play in a Circuit with whichever racer that you choose from the start, completing five races, and trying to place in the top spot out of the eight racers you’re competing against. As you do this, you’ll earn cash, which is used to upgrade your vehicle with new tires that best suit driving conditions, engines, brakes, armor, etc. Once you purchase new tires, you’ll need to equip them for the driving conditions that you will face, be it snow, dirt, or asphalt.

You can also purchase weapons such as oil slick, rockets, missiles, smoke screen, etc. These add to the difficulty, as you’ll have to learn how to avoid rocket fire, smoke screen, mines, and oil lying on the road. I would have personally preferred the weapons to stay out, as some of the later tracks are hard enough to drive on as it is.

Whether you’re into weapons-based racers, or straight-up racers, Racing Gears Advance will please you. With a fair amount of length, and replay value in the form of multi-player and replaying existing tracks, this game will keep you occupied on your Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS (whichever you play GBA games on) for quite some time. So far, this is the best handheld game of 2005.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.8
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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