I love it when a great game
comes out of nowhere. It seems like the only race games weve been hearing about for
the PS2 are Super Bombad Racing (a game for which I had a hard time building any level of
enthusiasm) and Gran Turismo 3. Then, out of nowhere, comes EAs Rumble Racing with
its combination kart racing and stunt driving gameplay to totally readjust what you can
expect from a racing game. Simply put, Rumble Racing is the most fun Ive had on the
PS2 since SSX.
If youre looking for deep gameplay or really strong
character motivation you wont find it here. This is an arcade racerplain and
simple. In fact, Rumble Racing is the closet thing youll find to a kart racer
without a hint of cute furry animals. The racing is fast and furious (isnt that a
movie coming out soon?), and you will be sucked in to the game from the moment you set it
in the PS2 tray. The controls are simple to master, and the trick system is basic, but
like most great games it takes a little time to learn your way around.
tracks are huge with a lot of nice detail. It takes some work to get to know the turns and
layout of the tracks and even more work to find all of the shortcuts. The only complaint I
have is that most of the tracks felt a little flat. I was hoping for just a little more of
a San Francisco Rush feel with all of the jumps in the game. I wanted jumps that felt more
like Superman, and Rumble Racing delivers more on a Dukes of Hazard level. Again, this is
a minor complaint. There is a lot of nice detail throughout the tracks. I especially liked
the river rats that scurried across the tracks in the wharf section, and the shortcuts
alone are worth the price of admission.
is a game that you will be playing over and over again just to unlock all of the cars and
tracks. Rumble Racing wisely doesnt give you very much to start out with. This game
makes you work for your rewards. There are tons of cars that can be unlocked through
competition, and you can also find some vehicles hidden in the form of Easter Eggs on the
tracks. There are vehicles for everyone from the testosterone-fueled muscle cars to
Grandpa and Grandmas Winnebago. As my family has grown Ive been trying hard to
resist the pull of the mini-van, but after doing a couple of laps and barrel rolls with
the suburban, I have to admit it doesnt seem like its that bad of a prospect.
I cant believe Im writing this, but Rumble Racing has even made Mini-Vans seem
cool. The game does lack a customizing function for those who like to tweak with
appearances or handling (more of the kart racer influence), but there are so many vehicles
to choose from, you dont really notice it.
main complaint with the game (and it is nitpicking) is how the other racers slow down and
wait for you if you fall too far behind. During a couple of races I just decided to look
around the tracks for shortcuts and I noticed that the other cars were going at a
snails pace. It doesnt really affect gameplay, but I was mildly insulted that
the other drivers had such contempt for my racing ability that they would taunt me by
driving as if they were in a school zone.
Racing starts out easy enough, and initially you may worry that youll play through
the game in no time. But as you start to win a few tournaments it slowly gets harder and
harder. It gets to the point that you need the shortcuts just to keep up. The game has a
nice look to it. It doesnt show off the PS2s abilities in terms of detail, but
the speed of the game makes up for it all. Rumble Racing is so fast that you dont
have time to stop and notice how nicely the roses are rendered. Its not that the
game doesnt look great, it does. Its just not going to blow you away.
the game lacks in track design, it really hits a home run with the addition of the stunt
option. Using the left and right trigger buttons you can pull off stunts for extra speed
boosts. It works like a paired down version of pulling stunts in SSX. The designers where
careful to keep it from taking over the game. Its a really nice addition that just
adds to the whole of the game. The power boosts that you earn with stunts become
increasingly important as the game progresses.
cant believe that Ive gotten this far into the review and havent even
mentioned the power ups. Most of the power ups are fairly standard kart racing fare: oil
spill, bomb, super traction and speed boost. But Rumble Racing has the single best power
up Ive seen in any gamethe tornado. The first time I triggered it was buy
accident. The skies went dark and sooner than you could say "Ruby Slippers" a
massive funnel fell from the sky and started tearing up everything in its wake. Seeing the
tornado that first time was akin to the feeling I had watching Twister when it came out. I
was in awe.
expected, the game sports a two player mode that runs at a really nice clip. Theres
also a challenge and stunt modes for a little variety. What complaints I have about the
game are minor and none of them would keep me from recommending the game without
reservation (not even the really annoying commentator). This is a great game. Could it be
any better? Probably. Could it be any more fun? I doubt it. EA has essentially doubled the
number of must have games for the PS2 (the other being SSX). Popping this game into my PS2
was one of the nicest surprises of the season. Rumble Racing has something here for fans
of any racing genre.