Tuesday 13 July 2021

Chicane: Jenson Button Street Racing (Gizmondo review)

Developer: Gizmondo Studios Helsingborg
Publisher: Gizmondo Games
Released: N/A

Chicane: Jenson Button Street Racing is an unreleased Arcade-style racer that was due for release in 2005.

It features 8 cars, 8 city routes, 2 racing circuits and 6 challenge tracks. Alongside the Single Player mode, there's also Multiplayer which allows for Bluetooth racing against a friend. The courses are enjoyable and scenically varied, and include beautiful seaside resorts and grittier industrial locations. I also like how some races are over in a flash while others can last minutes, as they test your driving skills and mental stamina. However, my main gripe lies with the controls, as power-sliding around corners is annoyingly tricky, even after lots of practice. Part of this is the twitchy and overly-sensitive drifting of vehicles during a turn, and another is the camera which doesn't give you an ideal angle when attempting to re-centre. Despite lengthy play sessions, I never felt in control during a drift and this mechanic paled in comparison to the similar mechanic found in Ridge Racer (2005, Sony PSP). Also, the spotty frame-rate can't quite keep up with the fast-paced action and the limited draw distance affects you being able to adequately see what lies ahead (at times it's a bit of a guessing game until you fully memorise the course). It's a shame, as the races can be blisteringly fast and you can definitely tell the potential for some hair-raising moments that would keep you on the edge of your seat. There's some great lighting effects on offer too, not to mention the excellent texture-mapped graphics and fast loading times that quickly get you back into the action. The music is the typical electronic style found in many driving games, but interestingly the main theme from Point of Destruction (2005, Gizmondo) is recycled here.

Chicane: Jenson Button Street Racing is a majorly frustrating game, as beneath its technical issues is a solid racer with terrific course design and some of the best graphics on the system. However, the controls are simply too finicky (especially for an Arcade style title) and mastering them takes serious patience that few will likely attempt.

Random trivia: The game was eventually ported to the iPhone in 2008 as Fastlane Street Racing.

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