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Top Gear RPM Tuning Review

Developer: Babylon Publisher: Kemco
Release Date: February 22, 2005 Also On: PS2 and Xbox

Either Kemco is a genius for releasing Top Gear RPM Tuning months after Need for Speed Underground 2, the best selling game of holiday season 2004, or they made a miserable mistake going up against such a formidable opponent with a release date disadvantage. The latter will likely be the case. Top Gear is a budget street racing title, retailing for $19.99. With that $19.99, you can expect the generic experience that you paid for.

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As if the field isn’t crowded enough with NFSU2, Midnight Club 2, Street Racing Syndicate, Burnout 3, Midnight Club 3 in May, and Juiced this summer, Top Gear has a responsibility to distinct itself from the competition. The only distinction I can find is Top Gear takes generic racing, without licensed vehicles, a sub-par soundtrack, and a Los Angeles representation (don’t we have enough of these?), and drives with it.

Despite not having licensed vehicles, Detroit, Motown USA, would likely be proud of the creators for recreating some of the cars that they couldn’t legally include in the game. Instead of the Ford F-150, there’s a truck titled ‘Pickup F-150’ or something like that. They do this with nearly all of their vehicles, so despite not having ‘real’ cars, I must say that the developers did a good job of creating cars that we can recognize. Aside from American rides, there are Asian imports and German imports, such as the BMW remake.

Top Gear has two basic modes: Adventure and Quick Race. For those of you expecting Xbox Live, prepare to be disappointed. The Quick Race allows for both solo and split-screen multi-player. You can use vehicles and tracks unlocked in Adventure in the Quick Race. There’s not much to Quick Race, so you’ll likely be spending most of your time in Adventure.

The Adventure is the strongest point of the game, though considering the game is so limited to modes, it damn well should be. You’ll play as a start-up racer, meeting some underground racers, taking jobs such as delivering missions, and race challenges. You’ll earn fame and money, using those to tune your ride. The game also includes a story with cut-scenes. Despite their unoriginality, they beat the comic approach in NFSU2.

The title of the game is Top Gear RPM Tuning. Kemco keeps true to their game title in this respect. If modifying vehicles is your thing, Kemco promises ‘over 2 million total options’. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to verify that, but I can say, for a budget title, there is a great deal of modification.

Not all of the visual modifications will be visual spectacles. Some modifications can help the aerodynamics of your car. Modifications range from nitrous, exhaust, electronic components, etc. There seems to be an endless amount of modification. For some of us, that’s overwhelming, and we’ll leave the vehicle as it is, or change what we deem as necessary to win a race.

Top Gear RPM Tuning is not ESPN NFL 2K5. Don’t let the budget price fool you, this is meant to be a budget price. It’s not a marketing tactic to co-opt Electronic Arts, it’s the only price point the game can sell at. Nothing about Top Gear RPM Tuning makes you want to continue to play it, but the argument can be made that there is little to stop you from playing either. Top Gear is an over-generic, low-budget development project that tuning aficionados may appreciate, but for the rest of us, there’s NFSU2.

Graphics: 3
Sound: 3
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 5
Written by Kyle Review Guide