|The world of the R/C racer isnt just for guys who spend
thousands of dollars on cars and accessories anymore! Now we can all know the power of
standing with a remote control in our hands and watching little cars go around in a
circle. Well anyway, Tyco R/C: Assault With a Battery is a nice little game. It looks like
a standard racing game, but really its a lot different. Sure, youre racing
cars on a track, but other than that the game is really about surviving until you reach
the finish line. The reason is because of all the dirty tricks you inflict on your
opponents, and very often are inflicted on you. The racing is secondary. I spent the first
10 hours playing this game trying to win races by large margins, but I couldnt ever
achieve easy victories. Many times even when I had a lead and could even see the finish
line, BAMM! a fireball would send me spinning up into the air as another car won the race.
I am kind of famous, in my family, for my frequent displays of profanity; early on,
playing this game, gave me a lot of practice for the upcoming holiday season. So
dont think racing, think survival.
The game itself has standard graphics, and youre probably not going to be playing the soundtrack at any party in the near future. In the beginning of the game you are given a choice of either 6.0V or 9.0V (I assume V is for volt). I would suggest starting out in 6.0V until you get accustomed to the controls, simply because it is slower. The main menu gives you three tracks and tree cars to choose from. The different modes you can choose from include Tyco Challenge, single race, or two player. Collect Tyco, Flip Tyco Challenge, Flip single or two player are unlocked as you progress through the game. Battle, Capture "IT" and Soccer mode are two player options which are also unlocked. As you win races, more tracks and cars are also unlocked. By the time you unlock everything you end up with eight tracks, and eight cars.
To start unlocking things, begin with Tyco challenge. Win and move on, lose and retry. Win all eight and you are given either a code, car, or a mode. Each car can win the Challenge and the Flip Challenge, as well as the Collect Tyco. The Collect Tyco mode is harder than the regular challenge because not only do you have to survive the race, but also collect the letters T, Y, C, and O in order. This really took me some time to do, but the letters are always in the same places, so after a couple of times it should get easy. In two player, you can race, battle, play soccer, or a version of tag in the Capture "IT" mode. All of the two player modes are pretty hard to do because of the split screen. You end up spending much more time just trying to find each other than you do battling. Also, on most of the courses, you need to be able to see whats coming next, and the split screen makes that much harder. This game is best played in the single player mode.
As far as driving goes, I am disappointed with the controls. It takes a long time to get your timing down because if you are doing a quick turn around and screw it up, it takes forever to get straightened out. Many times I ran into an obstacle, backed up trying to turn, and only ended up running into the obstacle again. After many hours I became more proficient at the sliding turn, but if its not perfect, youre right back into the obstacle. The only reason that this game didnt end up in the trash on the first day was because no matter how many times you spin out, hit obstacles, or get blown up by competitors, youre never out of a race. Not long after you get going again, you will start to see the other cars in the distance and soon the other cars are sucking your smoke.
Of the eight tracks, two courses are on freeways, where you need to dodge both your competitors and the traffic that likes to try to run you over. Keeping your energy up on these tracks is important. At the starting line of every course is a charge station. If you choose to go through it, it will slow you down while youre getting recharged. There are also a couple of off-roads tracks with lots of obstacle and challenges. Two of the tracks are on snow, so the big challenge on these is, of course, maintaining your traction. Of the two remaining tracks, one is on a beach and the other is in a junkyard. All of the tracks have obstacles in the most inopportune spots, so at many times during races, speed must be traded-in for control.
The fun part about this game, as well as its challenge, is acquiring the power-ups and inflicting them on your opponents while trying not to be nailed by theirs. The power-ups include: mines, cyclone fire (fireball that makes cars spin), the shrinker (shrinks all of the surrounding cars to ½ their normal size and speed), electro-zapper (steals power from other cars and gives it to you), super R/C (makes you go really fast for a few seconds), shield (opponents weapons will not work on you), quick charge (refreshes all of your energy), and "IT" and anti "IT". When youre "IT," you are charging-up all the time, and when you have the anti "IT," youre loosing energy. The key to winning this game is mastering when and where to use the power-ups. If you can do this, the game can be fun.
The most exciting part of the game has to be the mini-games you can play while R/C is loading. In two player mode you get to play a version of tennis using an egg as the ball, and cars as racquets. In single player mode you get to either dodge speeding cars as a chicken or shoot eggs at a big bird. If I were a video game historian, I could tell you what classic games these resemble, but Im not. The great thing about this is that at no time do you have to sit there and do nothing for twenty seconds while waiting for the game to load.
Overall, Tyco R/C Assault With a Battery didnt cause me to quit school and start a cult based on it, nor did I hate every minute I had to play it. At no time did I feel unable to quit the game. So, if someone gives you this game as a gift, I think you will enjoy it for a while, but if you buy it for fifty bucks, you might feel a little dirty. Final thought: not a bad game, but also not a great game.