STAFF REVIEW of Quantum Redshift (Xbox)

Wednesday, October 23, 2002.
by Queasy Buddy

Quantum Redshift Box art Most games that come out, regardless of platform, tend to follow fairly similar patterns. Perhaps developers feel they can get away with making the same game over and over again. Microsoft has taken the high road with Red shift, and while it's not totally and completely original, it does put a fairly large spin on the racing genre. You pilot a futuristic hover-craft around incredibly detailed tracks, racing other hover-crafts towards ultimate glory. Along the way you pick up weapons to take out the other racers. The capability of playing your own music is excellent, and complements the game excellently. In fact, the whole game has a very special feel to it. It sucks you in through the presentation: the music, graphics, and the designed logos all add to the immersive effects. These are minor points, though. Quantum Red shift is a good, solid game that pushes more boundaries than most. Ten years from now, when most other games have been long forgotten, Quantum might be viewed as a classic. The game takes place in the year 2102 which explains the evolved air crafts. And Microsoft made sure to have enough pilots to make everyone happy, over 16 of them. Speed must not be a fear if you own this game because ships can exceed to speed of 900mph. and don?t forget there is no reward for second place. Have fun!!!

Quantum Red shift is like most other conventional racers where the object of the game is to beat your opponents across the finish line in the standard race mode. In Red shift, this is just too easy, even though it is one of the fastest racer I?ve ever played. The very first time I played, I won handily. I know I?m strong with racing games, but nobody should be that good right off the bat. This is confirmed by the fact that I won the next half dozen or so races before I started looking for a way to make the game more challenging. I pretty much just scoffed at the other racers as I set new lap records every time around the track. To be fair, the game has great control considering it really does feel like you're going close to the speed of light. Those good old repulsor lifts keep your ship and thrusters hovering a constant 5 feet above the ground but the ship has surprisingly good traction for a vehicle that never touches the ground. The strange thing is, even on the ice level, your hovering craft will slip and slide around like a car if you're not careful. Of course, all the ships have different top speeds, handling and cornering abilities, but none of the ones I have played got too much out of control. And this is the problem with Red shift. Microsoft made the game very user friendly with almost no learning curve so that the challenge is almost nonexistent until you get deep into the game. Staying interested throughout the early levels is the tough part. There is a turbo function where at the starting of every lap you get to build up power in your engine before you can give yourself that extra boost. This is definitely a skill that requires some concentration, but the fact of the matter is, you won't need turbo to win any race early on. The Wipeout series, for the psx is a good point of reference, not only because of the floaty vehicle physics, but because both games have a whole lot of speed to offer. The difference is Wipeout demanded mastery of several skills before a player could win a race. Red shift is definitely easy to get into with no tutorial whatsoever. You will certainly need to be better by the time you reach the later levels in the game but the A.I. you're racing against seems to stay the same. After the first relatively lame races, players move onto different worlds with more jumps, nemesis, shortcuts, obstacles and sharp turns that are definitely a challenge. However, even if you do crash several times on a track and several ships do pass you, it doesn't take much to regain the lead, especially if you're on the last few laps when you'll know the track. Even thought the game does get tougher as you go along, the later levels aren't as challenging as they could be because you as a player have gotten better by that time as well. No weapons or power-ups kept the game in line and there's something to be said for the accurate translation. But, I kept thinking how cool it would have been to throw wrenches into your opponents' engines or really force them off the road. The bottom line is, if there's not going to be a challenge from the actual racing, then we should have some other goodies and gadgets for bashing competitors just to keep it interesting. Well of course you have the standard homing missiles and just normal missiles but I was looking for more depth in this title, it had so much potential.

The game looks a lot like I expected. The sense of speed is remarkable without making everything blurry and streaky like you would expect it to be if you could really race these kind of ships. The details of the ships are good enough so that you can see a flap open when you turn or see the flames coming from a thruster when you speed up. In the case of Zaki Shaheen, the giant yellow control flaps on the front ends of his engines open and close to change wind resistance as you turn left and right. Also when you go threw open water, drops will fly up on the screen which brings new sensations to the game, similar to Moto GP. The drops of water will also scatter over your screen when it?s raining outside. Levels are colorful and highly detailed. Clean, well-designed textures blend perfectly together for eye-popping tracks that rival a lot of the good racers out there. Additionally, Xbox's filtering effects have worked wonders, giving Red shift a smoothed-out look without the blurry side-effect. Also, the excellent cut-scenes I was hoping for didn't make the cut. Instead, we're treated of short, jerky intros with little life to them, a far cry from the impressive scenes in other games.

The sound of the game just isn't what it should be, considering that Red shift is a game that could really benefit from great audio elements. The low, humming noise from the engines at face value and assumed that's what they would sound like if they existed. But we were cheated in the sound department. The engine should sound more like a runaway locomotive well maybe not that exaggerated but the way it sounds right now made me think something was wrong with one of the engines. The whining of the other engines in other racers immediately reminded me of what we don?t have in Red Shift. The music is low-fidelity digitized mono streams, but on the other hand you can play your own soundtracks right off the hard drive, which is a very good thing, since most of the games out for the all mighty green machine doesn?t take advantage of this feature. The sound effects are also lame, with blurry boost audio and pretty much no "scrape" noises. Some of the sound effects, especially some lines of the famous announcer of more in depth titles, are sorely missing from red shift. The announcer has partially been replaced by the voice of cheery woman. Well actually there isn?t any cheery women, there is absolutely no intimidation made verbally while racing. Highly lame. But that's just being picky. All in all, Microsoft pulled off a miracle. In case you're wondering why there is load-time in between levels: according to Microsoft, the short break is needed for sound decompression. Red shift is probably the deadliest racing game you can buy for the Xbox. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, with some of the best light sourcing and effects ever. The control is smooth, the gameplay is fast, and the music is just well hideous. It's games like this that make you proud to be a Xbox owner. Well kinda!

A great game to have when you want to feel some of the fastest racing on the Xbox. Vehicle upgrades lengthen game's lifespan but next time Microsoft should pay more attention to small details and go more in depth with the actual racing, maybe more competition for a start???and please do something with this music it burns my ears when I listen to them tracks.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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