JuicedPublisher: AcclaimPlatform: Xbox, PS2, PCAttention all you gearheads and armchair street modders-here's a game that gets the adrenaline flowing like when you're gunning it from corner to corner racing for pink slips.
You start off as a no-car-having wannabe. Your goal is to build a crew and dominate the Angel City street racing scene. As the plot unfolds, over 50 cars in varying conditions (Skylines to Civics, Corvette Stingrays to VW Beetles) are unlocked and available for purchase. Plus, you can add over 100 real modifications, resulting in 7.5 trillion customization possibilities. You'll never see the exact same car twice.
The base car starts off with the OEM spec configurations for center of gravity, steering geometry, suspension layout, brake setup, horsepower, torque, tire properties, wind resistance and gear ratios. How did the company simulate these settings? By using a "highly sophisticated physics engine based on state-of-the-art simulation techniques," of course. This means handling and performance will vary according to what you modify-and you can modify damn-near everything. Picking out your brakes, intake, engine management system, exhaust, gearbox ratio, suspension, nitrous and turbo systems, and tires-not to mention stickers-will be just as much fun as the competition.
What's cool is you can dyno test your ride and see your torque and horsepower gains or losses every modded step of the way. Wind resistance is a factor you'll face on track so you can't get actual top speed numbers but it's available for bragging rights. Quick notes: One, more mods mean higher repair bills. Two, faster acceleration means you'll face more braking and suspension issues so consider your driving style when tailoring speed and handling. Three, road conditions like asphalt, concrete and dirt; rain; and time of day affect driving.
Remember how you can't test aerodynamics on the dyno? After you get the handling and performance tweaked the way you'd like you can invest in a body kit and some fresh paint-it's expensive so be careful! You can take the car for a test run on the track and find out how the air dam, side skirts and spoiler affect the drag and downforce. Remember, body kits increase traction but reduce speed.
Working your way up the respect ladder by battling drivers with different skills and cars in different classes will keep you busy until, hopefully, Juiced 2 comes out. If you run into some trouble the game is forgiving enough to not really let you lose. You can enter free races, go to events and bet on other drivers or-God forbid-sell some of your cool cars.
Juiced might be the thing for Import Tuner gamers who grew up on Mario Kart and Gran Turismo, saw The Fast and Furious (parts 1 and 2) and swear that-when they get the money-they will build the street car of their dreams.
Gran Turismo 4Publisher: SCEAPlatform: PS2Like a crack-addicted pit bull, we need Gran Turismo 4. The very knowledge of its imminent release was the only thing keeping us going. Finally, we got our fix. And it's good. Yet, something doesn't feel right, almost as if something is missing from the existential formula to complete and utter bliss.
That's right; there is no online mode. However unfortunate that may be, everything else was polished to a fine sheen and reflects the developer's obsession not only with cars but also with perfection. With more than 700 cars available, we got over it.
As usual, GT4 delivered the goods and had a few surprises tucked away for the astute gamers. For instance, you won't see cars bearing the Porsche or Lamborghini marque, but you will find cars bearing striking resemblance. The McLaren F1 GTR makes an appearance alongside the BMW M Series and Mercedes McLaren SLR. Driving mechanics and physics are again top-notch. Even the courses were mapped and rendered obsessively with nearly 100 configurations in sum. Ice and snow racing make appearances as well as several famous tracks in various configurations. The most striking addition was the Sarthe Circuit both with and without the chicane. You can even visit Le Mans, where even the minor bumps and undulations along the Mulsanne straight are rendered.
Did we mention the Nurburgring circuit is included in its entirety? How about Suzuka, all the Fuji and Motegi circuits in all their various configurations? By the way, two of the newest and most intriguing additions are B-Spec and Photo modes.
In B-Spec mode, you direct a racer in the car you've entered to perform on a sliding scale of one through five, with one being the slowest and most cautious approaches to five being the most aggressive. In Photo mode, you can snap shots of your car at various locations or even along the track of your choice. When you're done, hook up an Epson printer to your PS2 and print out the photos.
Finally, any racer this good deserves a damn-good steering wheel. Answering that call is Logitech's Driving Force Pro wheel. Featuring 900 degrees of rotation and extensive, variable-force feedback, the Driving Force Pro makes the experience all that more realistic. Tactile feedback is amazing and this is simply the best damn wheel on the market. It would be a mistake to pass this one up. It molds seamlessly with GT4. Anything more realistic would require a helmet.