Action Girlz Racing Coming to Wii

Is Diddy Kong Racing not sassy enough for you? Do you need a kart racer that’s a little more…fabulous? Have we got the game for you. Action Girlz Racing, originally a budget PS2 title, is now on its way to the Wii, the platform that will surely see many, many more random ports like this in the not too distant future. It’s developed by Metro3D, the team most recently behind the hearing-loss inducing Earache Extreme Metal Racing. No word on a release date just yet.

They’ve announced a whole suite of Wii games, including a bunch of other racers. Here’s the list:

  • Action Girlz Racing
  • Hamster Heroes
  • Monster Trucks
  • Anubis II
  • NinjaBread Man
  • Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland
  • Mini Desktop Racing
  • Billy the Wizard
  • London Taxi: Rushour
  • Myth Makers Orbs of Doom
  • Myth Makers Super Kart GP
  • Earache Extreme Metal Racing
  • Rock N Roll Adventrues

New Stuntman Announced

Stuntman Ignition

Remember Stuntman, the Hollywood-themed Driver knockoff that hit PS2’s back in 2002? It was fun, but it was frustrating and, well, pardon me while I just quote my own review from way back when:

Stuntman is an intriguing concept for a game that’s just not fun to play in execution. There’s a great graphics and physics engine at work here, but driving around obeying every whim of some guy is not my idea of a good game. Part of what made the Driver series so much fun was the freedom to drive where you wanted to, to try to head to some side streets to get away from the fuzz, or drive on the sidewalk, anything you wanted. Here, it’s exactly the other way. You do what the director says, or you do it over again. Where’s the fun in that?

“Where’s the fun?” is an important question in any videogame, and hopefully it’s one that new developer Paradigm Studios and new publisher THQ can answer when they bring Stuntman Ignition to the PS3, Xbox 360, and PS2 sometime this summer. IGN has the scoop on the title which, it seems, will offer an intriguing multiplayer mode that sounds a little bit like an automotive version of H-O-R-S-E:

The online mode, playable with up to eight players, is where things start to get new and interesting. Here, you’ll be able to challenge other stuntmen and steal stunts from them in multiplayer arenas. With the included stunt construction toolkit, you’ll be able to plan out your own stunt runs and then take them online to see if anybody can meet your challenge.

Stunt construction toolkit? Sign me up.

Flog a Lambo; Be Like Clarkson

Jeremy, that is. Top Gear fans undoubtedly were drooling over the Lamborghini LP640 that Mr. Clarkson flogged around the test track in the most recent episode. (You can watch the segment here and see it walk all over another VAG product, the MK5 VW GTI.) Thanks to the miracle of modding, you can get a taste of that car on your own.

A modder by the name of Rick M. has created a fictional LP840 for GTR2, adding an additional 200 hp and a luscious black paint job that does look the business. You can download that car here, and enjoy a nice video if it cruising around Brno above courtesy of Pekka Vallo over at RSC. Then, check out the prototype Top Gear Test Track for GTR2 as well at this link.

Now you’re just some odd camera angles and a pet bird away from having your own Top Gear Top Segment.

More F1CE Reviews

Formula One CE on PS3

A few more reviews of Formula One Championship Edition have been placed online since we did our roundup, and while they both also fall into the trap of making NASCAR comparisons, they’re worth reading. The first comes from GameSpot, with a 7.2/10 review:

Given how long it had been since the last Formula One game was released in the United States, many felt that Formula One Championship Edition would never see the light of day in North America. Perhaps it’s just here because the PlayStation 3 needed some original content, but regardless of the reason, Formula One CE has now been released in the US, and the PlayStation 3 is better for it. The touted rearview-mirror feature didn’t make it into the final game, but the visuals look great and the gameplay is quite good.

Then there’s Shacknews, who don’t give the game a score, but spend a good bit of time detailing the controls:

F1 CE can be driven with either the d-pad or the analog stick on the Sixaxis. It can also be configured as a wireless wheel. While the car handling wasn’t bad with the traditional solution, using it as a motion-based substitution for a wheel was not as exciting. It will mainly serve to give rumble fans ammunition for their argument that Sony should have included the rumble feature in its PS3, and will likely urge others to invest in Logitech’s supported steering wheel and pedal setup to get a more authentic feel. Some more tactile feedback while watching my car rub dangerously close to another F1 racer, or in hanging onto a hairpin turn while skirting a gravel embankment, would have added to the experience. While Monster Games’ Excite Truck (Wii) worked just fine with its take on wireless action, it is an arcade racer in which arm twisting fits in with the offbeat fun of its gameplay. In trying to weave in and out of traffic in F1 with the Sixaxis, working with the light, tiny controller in alongside the conservative action onscreen felt awkward.

So, there you have it. This is surely one of those games some will love, some will hate, and while those two groups are arguing the rest will feel decidedly “meh” about the whole thing.

The Sound of New Life for Grand Prix Legends

GPL

Yesterday it was word of a new mod for NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, a long gone but still played sim. Today, again thanks to SimHQ, we bring news of Grand Prix Legends seeing some love, a 1998 race sim that still has a huge following. That game followed the 1967 Formula One season, and an upcoming mod poses to add the 1966 season. GPL 66 is the name, and while we don’t have much info to share on it at this point beyond what’s on the mod’s official website, they’ve released some engine sounds for you to enjoy:

Sounds quite nice for what will soon be a ten year old game.

TDU on PS2 Reviewed by Eurogamer

Test Drive Unlimited

The game is still a few weeks away, but the cheeky chaps at Eurogamer have managed to get their hands on an early copy and weigh in with a very positive review.

Test Drive Unlimited is very much a game for drivers, not racers. It’s for the sort of people who’ll happily spend twenty minutes in a pretend car showroom, taking each staggeringly sexy and expensive sports car for a spin before leaving empty-handed to enjoy the view on a coastal drive home. There’s a reason that the game clocks up points even when you’re just pootling down the street for a laugh. There’s a reason that the in-car view is almost as detailed as the exterior, allowing you to use the right stick to look around at the luxury of your leather-and-chrome cocoon – even while driving. And why else would you have the utterly pointless option to open and close the car windows, if not for another excuse to gaze around at the polished finish of your latest purchase and listen to the sound of traffic change while digital fresh air blows through your virtual hair? It’s a game for people who love looking at cars, love sitting in cars and – yes – love racing in cars.

This is sounding like a must buy for PS2-owning racing fans.

Formula One Championship Edition Review Roundup

Formula One CE on PS3

The game should be hitting stores near you today or tomorrow if you live anywhere in the greater Americas, and so let’s take a look at how the media are reacting to the title with a little help from GameRankings.com. The review scores are all over the place, ranging from as low as 4/10 to all the way up to 5/5, a spread that is a bit unusual to see.

Many of the lower scores come from UK-based print magazines, so we don’t have the text from their reviews, just the scores. Edge Magazine weighed in with a 4/10, the lowest score, with PSM3 Magazine delivering a similar 48/100, and gamesTM magazine a 5/10. If you’ll forgive my making some demographic assumptions, due to the popularity of F1 there vs. in the US it’s likely many of these reviewers are more serious F1 fans than your average American gaming journalist, so if you are as well these scores may give you reason for pause.

Switching to the American online media things are much more positive. IGN has the lowest review, a 7.2/10:

Formula One Championship Edition can be a really fun game if you happen to be a big fan of either Formula One or technical racing in general. There aren’t many whiz-bang features that will draw the interest of outsiders, though it’s likely one of the most newbie-friendly Formula games around.

GamingTrend is next with an 83% score:

The 2007 season opens on March 18th, and this isn’t a bad way to get ready for it. The game is a triumph for simulation fans, and is moderately accessible to new players. If you are a racing fan, you owe it to yourself to pull the demo and give the game a try – you may find that flying around tracks that aren’t perfectly shaped ovals is more your speed…so to speak.

PSX Extreme delivers a gushing 8.7/10:

Every once in a while, a racing game comes along that is so intense, so precise, and so damn addictive that it takes you completely by surprise. What’s even more surprising is that this particular game doesn’t start with the word “Gran” and end with the word “Turismo”. No, it’s actually Formula One. And you’d never guess just by looking at the screenshots, or even playing the demo, that this is one well-crafted racing game. If you’re a fan with things on wheels, Formula One welcomes you. Developed by the talented folks over at Liverpool Studios, Formula One was one of the first PS3 games showcased at E3 2005 as a tech-demo. Originally believed to be an over exaggerated mock-up of the final product, one glance at Formula One on your TV is all you’ll need to realize how absolutely wrong that assumption was.

Finally, GamePro.com rates the game a perfect 5/5:

With blazing speeds approaching 215 miles per hour, fragile cars, and highly demanding, technical race courses, the international F1 circuit serves as an interesting counterpoint to the far more popular macho, roughneck world of NASCAR.

Amazingly, Formula One Championship Edition captures all of these themes. Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be paid to this game is that it feels markedly different than a NASCAR racing game.

Amazingly, of all these online reviews, only PSX Extreme doesn’t take the time to mention NASCAR. Are American gamers incapable of understanding a racing game unless it is related to NASCAR? It seems some think so.

First MotoGP’07 Screens

MotoGP'07

As seen at GameSpot and Game Planets, the first images of MotoGP’07 have been released. It seems the acclaimed racing series that called the Xbox home before moving to the 360 in MotoGP’06 will be making another annual trip to the system. ’06 looked amazing and was fun to play, but in many ways just felt like a prettier version of the previous installment. Will ’07 bring some engine enhancements this time in addition to the typical rider and bike updates?

UPDATE: We’ve got the official release thanks to Gaming Nexus, which includes the following bits of info on the new title, apparently due sometime in the Fall:

MotoGP ’07 is the definitive next-generation motorcycle racing title, delivering the most authentic MotoGP racing experience to date. Featuring life-like visuals, complete 2007 rider and team data, new 800cc MotoGP bikes and the newly-announced Misano event, the game’s GP mode will be more robust than ever before. The title will also feature interactive track-side crowds, intense on-line tournament features, on-line “pink-slip” racing, a revamped Extreme mode and significantly more bike and player customization options.

MotoGP'07
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Open Wheel Racing 2007 for NR2003

Open Wheel Racing 2007

One of the most enjoyable race sims of all time, surely one that still holds a special place in my heart, is Papyrus’ last hurrah, NASCAR Racing 2003 Season. It was challenging, it was realistic, and, well, it was just a lot of fun. And now it’s being given a bit of new life with a new oval-based mod. As seen at SimHQ, the Open Wheel Racing 2007 mod has been announced over at The Pits. The mod includes the 2007 IRL cars, drivers, a new cockpit with working wheel lights. You can find download links to the mod and car templates over at The Pits.