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by Activision

ssc3-01.jpg (6184 bytes)Supercar Street Challenge may go down in history as the game with the most wasted potential. Making your own "supercar" and then tearing around city streets at 250 mph sounds like a gear head’s wet dream come true. It is just too bad that while the game has nothing but good intentions, it falls flat as far as execution is concerned.

ssc1-01.jpg (6626 bytes)Creating your own car with the Steve Saleen Styling Studio is really cool for the first five minutes. After that time, you will have realized that your design choices are severely limited and tweaking your car’s performance consists of allotting points to handling, brakes, acceleration, and top speed. When altering the look of your car, you are stuck with only changing the entire front section and the entire back section, choosing from a handful of styles for each end and then determining how much the new piece influences your car. You can also choose mirrors, wheels, and spoilers, but these additional options are fairly limited as well. Creating your own car and then racing it is a great idea, but it is very poorly executed here. It is too bad that this is the only real draw of an otherwise average game.

supercarstreet05-01.jpg (7753 bytes)Once you either create your car or choose one of the stock cars such as a Saleen 57, a Zonda C12-5, or a Rinspeed E-Go Rocket, you can tackle the championship mode and try to earn new parts for your custom car. These races will fly by rather quickly as they are ridiculously easy. It is easy to win every race and upgrade your car to its maximum performance. After that, it is just going through the motions to win races because you will be so far ahead of your computer-controlled opponents. Your only real threat to winning is your own driving on the somewhat sloppy course design. Impossibly sharp corners follow long straight stretches and you are expected to brake and go through slowly. Of course, the computer always seems to be able to corner at twice the speed you are able to. If you mess up on these corners too much, you will be playing catch up to win races. It is merely a matter of blowing past the computer on the straights, so no real struggle to get back to the front.

supercarstreet14-01.jpg (7763 bytes)Graphically, SSC falls flat on its face. Everything looks very bland and only the cars serve to break up the monotony. What is possibly the worst part, however, is that the game moves very slowly. You have no sense of speed whatsoever because the game seems to crawl by despite your speedometer reaching well past two hundred miles per hour. Braking and cornering becomes guesswork because at high speeds it takes longer to slow down and corner. That is the same in every game, but because of the sluggish pace of the game, you either brake too late or too early, making the sharp corners especially frustrating. Another graphical aspect that is absolutely unacceptable is how poorly the game runs. For a game that runs so slowly and looks so bland, you would think it could push 60 frames per second all the time. Sadly, even on my Pentium 4 1.7 GHz with a GeForce 3, the game stumbles and stutters. The rapidly fluctuating frame rate causes the already slow gameplay to seem all the more sluggish. I’ve read several reviews that have had the same problem with setups similar to mine, and this is just unacceptable. I almost feel bad for people with slower systems trying to play this game, because it will just look and play even worse.

supercarstreet10-01.jpg (7928 bytes)SSC sounds as good as it looks, which isn’t very good. The cars all sound like Honda Civics and the music is typical boring house music. Don’t be afraid to just turn off the sound and play with your own music. Or just skip all that hassle and don’t play the game at all. That may be the safest bet.

supercarstreet03-01.jpg (8446 bytes)I had really high expectations for Supercar Street Challenge. I thought the idea of creating your own car and then racing it alongside all of the great supercars of today was great. I followed it’s development up until it’s release and read all of the reviews, but hoped that it would be better than they all said. Sadly, SSC is just as bad as everyone had warned. It is incredibly average on all fronts and pales in comparison to similar racing titles. It looks bad and moves extremely sluggishly. Supercar Street Challenge had a lot of potential, but wasted it. Hopefully, this idea of creating and racing your own car will be attempted again and executed better. Until then, keep away from SSC.

Eric Qualls   (02/21/2002)


Ups: Design your own cars.

Downs: Limited design choices; lame track design; no real sense of speed; glitchy and sub-par graphics.

Platform: PC