STAFF REVIEW of L.A. Rush (Xbox)

Thursday, October 20, 2005.
by Rhiannon

L.A. Rush Box art L.A. Rush is Midways shot at the underground street racing scene of Los Angeles, California. It contains all of the typical racing elements such as licensed vehicles, flashy characters, soundtrack and races to win you dough. The game lets you select difficulty ratings and play modes, such as quick race, story mode and multiplayer mode. I have to say right off the bat, I was impressed by the sheer size of this game. Rush includes all the boroughs such as Compton, Long Beach, Santa Monica and more. It also has a decent soundtrack and great graphics to boast about.

In the story mode you play a character named Trikz, who happens to be your typical underground street racer. Trikz has it all, as far as reputation and a garage full of street racing power. The introductory cut scene takes you inside the home of Trikz during a party. All the games characters and stars are introduced here, such as the West Coast Customs Crew who includes the MTV stars Mad Mike, Big Dane, Q and Ish. The meat of the story mode involves Lidell Rey,who wants a piece of the popularity pie, by all means necessary. Luckily for him he has connections, which enables him to take each of Trikz?s mad rides and hide them throughout L.A, save for his puddle jumper. So you start the game as many other street racing games, with one vehicle and a dire need to race for money. The first race is easy and earns you some quick cash to pay for the next race?s entry fee. Each race hereafter requires a racing fee to enter, which is typical of races in the real world, and allows the story to progress as you move from series to series. My only gripe here would be the onset of boredom between races as the only break came during cut scenes or the occasional phone call from Trikz?s right hand man or the informant. So basically its up to you to win back your reputation find your scattered cars and settle the score with Lidell. The game mechanics were on par with other racing titles. You?re able to pick up the controller and go speeding down the road while running over all manner of utility poles. As a player you have the option to use the nitrous oxide and take it a step further, awesome if your eye hand coordination is up to par, mine is not. I was frequently busted by the local boys in blue, and I am sure you will be too because they are everywhere, constantly watching and ready to take you down. Loading times were short and sweet and transitions were seamless as well.

I loved the graphics of this game, the cars were flashy and the maps were enormous. Landmarks were right on and transitions from one area to the next were seamless. My favorite graphics effect was hands down the collisions, which was awesome because I wrecked about every ten seconds it seemed. Particle effects flew in every dimension as the collision was shown in slow motion from a separate camera angle. The police were in the loop as they were everywhere just waiting to bust me, while letting those with cereal box licenses pass on by or park in the middle of the road, whichever suited them. The amount of non player vehicles on the streets is amazing, due to their sheer numbers. You have to be a very skilled at racing games to avoid losing races because of their uncanny ability to cause you to crash. That in and of itself was great due to the collision sequences, but sucked hard core because I had to come up with more money to reenter the race I just lost, bittersweet I guess. Also landmarks, time of day and sidewalk pedestrians were all appropriately done, it puts you right in the scene.

I have no complaints in the audio department. Everything was well done, from the swish of nitrous to the sound of pedestrians screaming ?jerk!?. Voiceovers were done by many well known stars such as Twista, the West Coast Customs Crew and Bill Bellamy. I also appreciated the soundtrack for this game and the ability to switch from rap to techno to rock and roll depending on my mood. The soundtrack touts big names as well such as J-Kwon, Twista and Lil?Kim. Sound effects of passing cars, police sirens and typical city noise are all audible yet they do not take away from the sounds of your own vehicle.

My only suggestion for Midway developers would be to fully take advantage of Xbox Live next time. I was a real bummer to find out I cant race people on Live, but only download the occasional paint skins for my cars and race content, or upload racing scores. Xbox Live is so popular among gamers now, and for developers to not use it to their advantage is a sure let down regardless of the genre of the game.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 10.0 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10


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