Street Racing Syndicate
Tuning is in, and the game developers have noticed it. After great games in the Need for Speed Underground series by EA, now also Namco wants to make a gamble in the world of pimp mobiles and neon lamps with SRS Street Racing Syndicate. Did they manage to kick NFSU from the throne or do they miss the trophy ?
“They miss the trophy!” I immediately shout but since Speed would probably instantly throw me away (literally seeing that I’m quite small) if I would put this short sentence as full review, I’ll elaborate on my statement. SRS Street Racing Syndicate is a game that could have been a lot more if some additional time would have been spent in development.
The story is far from original, although you don’t buy such a game for it’s gripping scenario, you’d better get yourself a Shakespeare book for that. You’re a young man who wants to become the best street racer and therefore puts all his savings in his first car to race the streets.
Already at the first race you notice SRS’s biggest problem: it’s got the Namco virus that previously was present in R:Racing. It’s way too slow, especially for a street racing game. The general grandma will probably shout in fear when playing this game, but for a gamer like you and me this snail pace isn’t what we want. By using nox you do get the typical blur-effect added with some flashing beams and a controller that rumbles as hard as a drill, but a true feeling of speed is not something you should expect.
The graphics aren’t too spectacular either. The models of the cars and accessories as such are good, but it looks like they’ve been cut with scissors. Next to that everything just shines too much, really over the top. Also the sound could be improved, the engines sound realistic but the music gets too repetitive at too short timespan.
To get to one of the 72 races that are spread over Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami you can either choose the track in a menu and warp to it, or drive to it yourself, through the big city. At a race the rules can change, some will need you to pay a starting fee, others are free. You can also put wagers in with other racers and when you win you’ll get the predefined amount of money.
There are also contests where you need a certain amount of respect, something you can earn by winning.
Well-done and quite important is the tuning part. The more than 50 cars can be completely adapted with a ton of stickers, neon lamps, wings, body kits, … Of course there isn’t only tuning gear the appearance of your vehicle but also useful stuff like new engines, turbos, etc.
The only disadvantage is that the loading times for the tuning part are horrible. Each time you want to see an adjustment in the previewscreen, of just want to check out the accessories of a certain brand, you’ll need to wait at least 3 seconds. On paper this doesn’t sound too long but when you just want to change a little thing on your car, you’ll notice how annoying this can be.
Up to now it seems like Namco doesn’t show anything we don’t already know from NFSU. Luckily there’s one element where the company tries to do better than EA’s games. You can unlock different babes with accompanying movies. These girls who come from the real world of street racing first ask you to complete a special challenge before you can really check them out.
SRS Street Racing Syndicate is a sad attempt to do better than NFSU. The main downpoint is the lack of speed for as far as you can talk about “speed”. The tuning as such is good but the loading times manage to screw that up as well.