Almost everyone can remember slot cars from when they were young. Building your own tracks then tweaking the cars to beat your siblings, well now there is a game for the consoles called Grooverider: Slot Car Thunder. Is it possible that this game can make you recall your childhood memories? Let's take a look at Groverider and see if it can stack up to the real thing.
The graphics in Grooverider, although not bad, could be a little better. Although the console had no problem running it, there is nothing special to talk about in this department. The tracks and the cars look good and the background is mainly rooms around the house, so basically you have anything you would find in a house in the game. Looks real enough, but the explosions and such could have been a little better. I wish the camera would follow the wrecks a little better too!
As for the sound, it really does remind me of the slot cars when I was a kid, but the main problem I had was the music. The music has kinda of a techno feel to it, which isn't bad, but it was kinda scratchy. I tried this on two different televisions and the same thing happened on both. I eventually ended up turning the music all the way down and just left the sounds on. Other than the usual racing around the track sounds, there are also your weapons sounds. What can ya really say about them? When the mines blow up you hear an explosion!
Grooverider's gameplay is rather addicting. First loading up the game you have the option for one or two players. Lets go with the single player mode for now. After selecting single player there is another menu. This includes, arcade, championship, time trial, custom, and special. Arcade is where you pick a track, car, and just play. The problem is, if you do so, you are limited to one car and one track. So, you go to championship. Here you will race against three other computer opponents on four tracks for points. Playing does take getting used to. The left and right trigger buttons change lanes, pushing up on the left analog stick accelarates you, and the a button uses whatever bonuses you may have picked up. These will be shown as cubed boxes with question marks on them. They consist of things like lock track, which for a certain amount of time makes it so the other players can not switch tracks if they are on it. Then there is a shield and thats pretty self explanatory. You also have jump, well this one is a little dangerous. Be real careful where you use this or you will go straight off the track! Then you have your little electricity ball. This will go around the track until it hits something.
As you race around you also have to beware of arrow markers, if hit, you will fly off track unless you shoot them or have a shield activated. You will also notice green and red stripes on some of the lanes. Green makes you go faster and red slows ya down. You should really try to hit the green ones as the computer opponents hardly ever miss these!
After the first race you progress to the next, trying to gain points. If you come in first in a certain race, a new car comes available. Since you only can use the three volt cars at first, they are the ones you will unlock if you come in first. I really can't see the difference in the cars aside from appearance though. Now if you win the set of four tracks, you will open the bedroom and the tracks get harder. Some of them have loops and jumps, pieces of track missing, and some going up a wall. This is the way you play through the championships. Time trial is just like it implies, pick your car, track, and try to beat the time given. Custom is kinda nice. You do not have to unlock all the tracks to add them to your custom championship. So this is a nice place to practice. There is also a special option. This has cop challenge, GT spoils, mine madness and countdown. You will unlock these as you do certain things. Good thing it tells you what you need to do to unlock them! And that is pretty much your gameplay for Grooverider.
Now the multiplayer in Grooverider is almost the same as singleplayer. Arcade, same as single, championship, same as single play, custom, same as single play, and free for all, which is pretty fun. Both players pick a car and track and it's on. There is no lap limit here. You have three lives and that's it! Run around the track and try to stay alive longer than your opponent. I did have a little issue with multiplay though. If you did not go through and unlock other tracks and cars, you are stuck with the one car and track in arcade, and just the one course in championship. On the plus side though, if you goto custom, you can add the four that you wish without having to unlock the courses but, you will still need to unlock the cars if you want more.
My overall thoughts about this game is that it is addictive! My friend and I played it for six hours straight. It is a lot of fun and should keep your attention for a while. There is a lot to do and unlock. There are some things I wish that were included though. Such as I would have liked the multiplayer part to have a little more variety when you first start. There are just some times when I want to play mp without having to unlock all the stuff. It also would have been nice for them to include upgrading of tires. Overall for twenty bucks, it is well worth it aside from its short comings.