GAME REVIEWS

Friday, November 13, 2009

Racing Damashii

~ RACING DAMASHII ~
Irem
HuCard
1991

Racing Damashii allows you to suit up and hit the road as one of the world's premier "DAREBEVIL RIDERS" (as the game's heartfelt epilogue lovingly refers to them). There's no superfluity of motorcycle games on the PC Engine, and Damashii doesn't play like the system's typical auto racers, so it's different if nothing else. Thankfully, the bike handles well enough to make the distinct gameplay a positive rather than a deterrent; and with decent graphics and some challenging courses, the overall package isn't unappealing after all. It beats Super Hang-On, for sure.


As in Victory Run, there's a parts-management element. You don't have to budget out spares for the entire trip, though; instead, you simply make race-by-race adjustments (such as replacing your standard "Slick" tires with "Rain" or, uh, "INTER MIDIEIT" ones, as dictated by course conditions).


The first order of business is always a two-lap time trial to determine your starting spot for the real deal. Figure out the lay of the land during the first lap, and exhaust your "turbo boosts" for a quick run through the second.


Then head back out for the five-lap main event, which won't feel much different from the preliminaries if you get off to a good start and never look back. Seven laps don't just fly by, so the game feels a little tedious and repetitive at times.


Win by a comfortable margin (as you likely will during the easy opening events) and you'll get to sit around staring at nothing while the losers finish their runs. This only adds to the tedium, but those early-stage victories will prove very important: points are tough to come by during the more-challenging races.


Inclement weather and super-sharp turns are tough to deal with, but your opponents themselves constitute the biggest concern later on, as they suddenly turn into talented speed demons.


Pit stops are a necessary evil. Try to build up a big lead before heading in for work, and don't take it for granted that your competitors will also need breaks (chances are they won't, especially near the end of the game).


Put in enough practice and you can become the greatest darebevil rider who has ever lived...


...but, uh, maybe it's best to leave the game unbeaten after all.

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