Search For Posters!
  Join the SGN staff!
Help Wanted
Release Dates


About Us

The Sports

Partner Links
Auto Insurance Quote
Irvine Moving Companies
LA Moving Companies
Brand Name Shoes

Speed Devils (DC) Review

Background Info

Every once in a while a game comes along that takes you completely by surprise. While all eyes were trained on the upcoming release of Sega Rally 2, Ubi Soft, a publisher best known for its racing simulations, quietly released Speed Devils, arguably the best pure arcade racing game yet for the Dreamcast. Go figure.

Presentation/Graphics : 86
While Speed Devils graphics don't rival the best that the Dreamcast has to offer, they rank solidly among the second tier. Often eye-popping, and never less than eye-pleasing, Ubi Soft has done a nice job here. Speed Devils is chock full of bright, vivid colors, oftentimes accented by some pretty spectacular lighting effects. The overall look perfectly complements the arcade nature of the game.

The car models are also nicely done, and the designs are about as funky as they come. Again, they don't quite rate with the best of the best, but they're certainly more than adequate. On the downside, the vehicles appear to float a little at times, as if they're not solidly connected to the road.

Speed Devils serves up a nice assortment of 12 tracks. The ability to race them mirrored, at varying times of day, and in different weather conditions provides near endless variety. The tracks are set in various locales around the world and the environments are nicely detailed and littered with visual effects that will make it hard to keep your eyes glued to the road. The tracks feature lots of animation and interactive elements that change in behavior as you move up in class. These are best left to discover for yourself but, trust me, they are very cool. Shortcuts are abundant and you'll need to find and make effective use of them to remain competitive at the higher levels. The tracks are nice and long, and feature some nice design elements, but there are stretches that lack challenge and can become tedious over the course of a long race. Ubi Soft have clearly borrowed heavily from past racing games in terms of Speed Devil's track designs, but have still managed to put a fresh spin on things. Just when you think you've seen it all a hundred times before, you'll round a corner and discover something new and inventive.

Presentation/Audio : 80
Like most Dreamcast games to date, Speed Devil's audio package is no better than average. Here's hoping that the next generation of games for the Dreamcast offer some level of Dolby Surround.

Engine sounds and other audio effects are passable, but fall well short of what they could be. The music is decent, and well matched to each track, but it's not the sort of inspiring soundtrack that will have you wanting to pump up the volume.

Interface : 83
Speed Devils' intro and main menu screen will have you wondering what you got yourself into. The intro in particular is far from impressive. It's overly long and doesn't look nearly as good as the in-game graphics. Once you're into the sub-menus however, things improve considerably. Everything is structured simply and logically, enabling you to find and adjust settings with ease.

The control setup is the now-familiar Dreamcast racing configuration with the addition of handbrake and nitro boost controls. I tested the game with both the standard controller and Concept IV racing wheel, and both work very well.

There are two glaring problems with Speed Devils' interface. The first is that your preferred view is not saved from race to race. That's fine if you use the default exterior view, but if you like to race in first person mode, it's a major pain. The view can't be changed during the countdown so you have to wait until the race has begun, pause the game, change the view, and resume the race. The second problem is the lack of a rear-view mirror. This is simply inexcusable. The aggressive AI of the CPU drivers makes blocking essential, and a "look back" view just doesn't cut it.

Gameplay : 85
Speed Devils includes the usual assortment of play modes including a time trial with ghost car (yippee!). Naturally, the heart of the game is the championship mode. It's here that Speed Devils separates itself from the pack. The game is divided into several classes that escalate in difficulty. You begin in the lowest class (duh!) with a bucket of bolts jalopy. Performing well in races earns you money to upgrade your hunk o' junk. However, rather than simply awarding a set amount based on your finishing position, there are a raft of other ways to earn money. Recording the fastest lap time and busting police radar limits are just a couple of the additional ways that you can fatten your wallet. In addition, your main rival will issue challenges and bets that you can accept if you're willing to lay a little of your hard-earned cash on the line. This adds an extra element of excitement, not to mention pressure, to the race.

Advancing through the classes takes time and patience, at times too much of both. Seasoned racing fans will find the game very easy early on. However, in order to earn enough cash to advance through the classes, you'll have to spend a lot of time racing the lower levels to earn enough cash to buy the cars and upgrades that you'll need to become competitive as you move up. This can become tedious. Speed Devils has some white knuckle racing in store, but it's not evident early in the game. It's not until you get some hot wheels under you that you'll really begin to feel a sense of speed.

Each CPU driver has their own character and driving style. The characters change as you progress through the classes until the ultimate showdown with the infamous Driver X. Every class features one rival that serves as your main competition. The other drivers serve primarily as obstacles and will go out of their way to impede your success in the race, often to the detriment of their own standing. I don't mind aggressive AI, but it seems kind of cheap here. I'd far prefer that each opponent provide an equal challenge and have a shot at winning any given race. That's not the case with Speed Devils, and the racing can become predictable as a result.

The cars control really well and are plenty of fun to drive, just don't expect real-world physics. The loopy handling is well matched to the wacky car designs and comic book feel of the game, but takes a little time to adjust to. Before you know it you'll be powersliding with the best of 'em.

Replay Value : 90
Like most racing games, once beaten, Speed Devils offers little replay value outside of multi-player and time trials. However, the challenge involved in working your way through all of the classes and, ultimately, in beating Driver X, should be more than enough to keep most gamers occupied for a good long while.

Overall : 85
I have to be honest here and say that Speed Devils isn't exactly my cup of tea. The game takes far too long to hit its stride, and the AI and track design can be kind of cheap at times. However, personal misgivings aside, I must give credit where credit is due. Ubi Soft have put together an attractive and well-rounded package that achieves precisely what it sets out to do. Speed Devils is an arcade racer through and through, and a damn fine one at that. Simulation racing fans need not apply, but for everyone else, Speed Devils should not be missed.

By: Pete Anderson 1/5/00

© 1998-2006 Sports Gaming Network. Entire legal statement. Feedback

Other Links:
[Free Credit Report  |   Car Insurance Quotes  |   Designer Shoes  |   Outdoor Equipment

MVP Baseball 2003
Street Hoops
Mad Catz Xbox Hardware

Inside Pitch 2003
MLB Slugfest 20-04
Tennis Masters Series



[an error occurred while processing the directive]