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In a storyline inspired by films like The Fast and the Furious, Street Racing Syndicate has players making a name for themselves in the high-stakes world of underground street racing. Players begin by creating a character and then gaining notoriety by entering and winning races. Vehicles can be upgraded with various parts along the way, from suspension and tires to turbo and nitrous oxide. Players can also customize the exterior of their cars by selecting different paint schemes and detail work. In addition to racing for money, players can opt to race for their rival's most prized possession: either his pink slip or his date.
Crack For Street Racing Syndicate
Gameplay offers a choice of sanctioned racing events as well as illegal street races held at night. Players selecting the latter option must be prepared to outrun the police or risk being thrown in jail, receiving a ticket, or having their cars impounded. A damage option has the jostling action between rival vehicles gradually affecting each car's appearance and performance. Players may then need to purchase an upgrade or authorize repairs using after-market parts to get their vehicles back on the road and ready to race.
Like World War II games in the FPS genre, street racing games have really taken off in the racing genre lately. It isn't hard to see why - just about every breathing male (and the occasional female) between the ages 16 to 25 have some sort of love for cars, and while fantasy arcade racers like the original NFS titles are fun, they don't quite compare to the rush of taking a highly accessible car and modding the crap out of it until it is race worthy. Street Racing Syndicate is one of the latest of such games to hit the PC from the guys at Namco and Eutechnyx, and while it offers some intense racing, it fails to deliver anything significant over what we have already seen.
Surprisingly enough, the game actually does a pretty good job impressing with its driving model, particularly when you consider it is an arcade racing game. For instance, you will notice the difference between lightly modded cars and heavily modded cars. You will also notice the difference between 4WD cars and cars with Rear Wheel Drive. You will also quickly notice this game isn't about holding down 'accelerate' and never letting go - you will need to get a feel for your car and learn when to brake and slowdown into corners. For an arcade game, the handling actually comes off as somewhat realistic in some regards, making it quite challenging at the same time. One aspect which could have made SRS that much more realistic though is crash damage - whilst it exists visually (i.e. cracked windows, warped metal etc), it doesn't seem to have any real affect on driving ability.
So, is SRS a poor man's NFS:U2? Whilst it does share quite a few similarities, it isn't necessarily a replica, but on the other hand it is definitely not its superior. SRS does have some intense racing on offer and the amount of content is impressive, however there just isn't anything here that really strikes out as unique - the cars and modifications are all pretty expected, the environments and racing modes are all generic, and the unique features, such as "girlfriends", don't add up to anything significant. SRS is a solid street racer, but certainly not at the top of the list in the genre's hierarchy - it will likely appeal to fans of the genre more than new comers but probably won't keep the majority of either demographic occupied for long due to its repetition.
Nine months ago when the now-defunct Acclaim was days away from releasing the game, Juiced would have been considered a worthy addition to the street-racing scene - one with a slightly more realistic slant that fits snugly between the simulation values of GT, but with the street-racing theme that's proven so popular over the last few years.
Unlike its street-racing contemporaries Juice favours the cordoned off empty street approach, and as such it doesn't help its cause that the tracks feel vacant, lack excitement and need life. You could argue the same thing about Gotham, but in that instance you had the novelty of real-life cities, cutting edge visuals and an excellent progression system that drags you through for hours on end. In spirit, Juiced is well and truly aligned with NFSU and MC whether it wants to be or not, but its look and feel lacks its own identity and character, and at times it's hard to distinguish some of the tracks from one another.
Another thing that's becoming less acceptable these days is the superficial damage modelling; not just in terms of the visual side but in handling terms too. Sure it shows up the odd dent, spark and scratch, but there's no meaningful sense that you're beating up your car, and there's certainly no handling penalty for piling into barriers at high speed. For a game that the publisher and developer have repeatedly held up as the more credible, simulation-minded alternative in the street-racing genre, there's a lack of discernable evidence that the game either looks or feels realistic.
One area Juice Games reportedly improved was the AI, and in this instance we have to agree that compared to many similar games it's far more in line with what we'd expect a racing game to do. Unlike other games the AI doesn't 'hang back' if you fall behind, and if you start to find yourself way down the pack, the chances are that's your lot. Likewise, they're aggressively trying to win and won't miss a trick, even if it means saving their Nitrous for the finishing straight. Time and again we lost out to this tactic, and on that score we admired what Juiced was doing. Races do feel challenging and tough; car classes and levels of modification do have a significant bearing on your chances of success and it's apparent after only a few hours play that Juiced is no easy procession through the various car classes. It's exacting, and often punishing. As far as a meting out a decent challenge, Juiced can be a tough nut to crack if you don't go about it in a considered and patient manner; and that's where opinion has really polarised about its relative merits.
Essentially Juiced has its own unique progression system related to the level of respect your opponents have for you. At the start just T.K. of the Urban Maulerz crew has any interest in your prospects, but soon the other seven challengers will start to notice your antics. Each one favours a certain aspect of street racing; for example the level of customisation you've applied to your car, or your skill in sprint races, or how willing you are to bet on other drivers, and so on.
The Ballas are battling with their rivals Vagos, Varrios Los Aztecas, and especially the Grove Street Families to control South Central Los Santos. The Ballas have been around since the 1970s - Involved in drug dealing, gang banging, protection, murder, gang warfare, gang-related homicide, robbery, street violence, arms dealing, vandalism, degeneracy, but mainly, the cocaine trade. Mindless, uncontrollable, and have ties with Big Smoke and the Loco Syndicate for drugs (mainly crack cocaine), and the Russian Mafia for weapons.
A small-time Latin/Mexican Los Santos street gang based in the barrios of El Corona and Little Mexico in addition to Unity Station - a popular meeting spot for the Aztecas, distinctly recognised by their turquoise bandanas. They have a major rivalry with the Los Santos Vagos and San Fierro Rifa but are also enemies with the Grove Street Families and the nearby Ballas. They are heavily involved in gun running/arms dealing, street violence, gang banging, gang warfare, gang-related homicide, murder, robbery, vandalism, illegal street racing, and carjacking but are slowly diminishing. The Varrios Los Aztecas are traditionally anti-narcotics and part of their identity is heavily involved in the lowrider culture.
They can be seen drinking beer and smoking marijuana while hanging in groups. They can be seen roaming around in San Fierro. They are either unarmed or carry 9mm pistols and Micro SMGs. Their main involvements are illegal street racing, arms dealing/gun running, and carjacking. Gang veterans include Cesar Vialpando, Jose, Sunny, Gal and Hazer. They drive Broadways, Hermes' and Glendales and their favorite radio station is Playback FM. They are allies with the Grove Street Families.
The Vagos are a large and powerful Mexican Los Santos street gang that sport yellow bandanas, and occupy a majority of the far North and East areas of Los Santos, namely Las Colinas, East Beach, and Los Flores. This Hispanic gang are sworn enemies of the Varrios Los Aztecas but are also enemies with the Grove Street Families and Ballas. They are known to attack in large numbers. Heavily involved in drug trade (especially crack cocaine), gang banging, street violence, arms dealing, gang-related homicide, gang warfare, murder, protection, robbery, and vandalism.
This sole Mexican/Hispanic San Fierro street gang control the areas of Garcia, Doherty, King's, and Battery Point. They have become a major hub in the international drugs trade (especially crack cocaine). They are also involved in gang banging, street violence, gang-related homicide, gang warfare, robbery, murder, protection, arms dealing, and vandalism.
They are involved in gang warfare, murder, smuggling, extortion, bribery, loansharking, gambling, and illegal street racing. It is revealed that the Triads are against drug dealing (especially crack cocaine).