Speed Racer DS Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by ZeroEXE93, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. ZeroEXE93

    ZeroEXE93 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Jan 1, 2008
    United States
    New York City

    Zero.EXE's Review of Speed Racer DS


    Most games based on movie franchises are not very good. However, previews of this game caught my interest. What I really liked about the Speed Racer video game was its similarity to the F-Zero series, one of the most popular and greatest racing game series ever released. As the release date approached nearer and nearer, I began to have second thoughts about getting this game mostly because of the fact that this game was in fact based on a movie. I ultimately decided to give this a try after hearing good things about it from others.

    Graphics / Presentation

    I admit it, the released screenshots look terrible but the game actually looks a lot better when you play it. At a constant frame-rate of 60fps, this game is one of the better animated games on the DS. All of the tracks and environments are vibrant and colorful and make the game look very attractive.
    There’s not much to say about presentation. The menu is simple and clear, if a bit plain. The character / car selection screens are nowhere as colorful and detailed as Mario Kart DS, but they are good enough.
    Overall 8/10 in this category

    Music / Sounds

    Nothing special, mostly just generic techno beats.
    Overall 5/10 in this category


    You choose from over 15 different characters, each driving with a unique car. Every car has different speed, acceleration, power-sliding, and charisma stats. Speed is the most important factor in this game, as the name suggests. The fastest cars race at insane speeds, some even over 400MPH. The tracks are equally insane, each with different twists, turns, jumps, and branching paths. What really makes this game unique are the stunts. While your car is in the air, you may mash the directional pad to do stunts, gradually gaining boost power. You can boost the car at any time to gain a temporary increase in speed or you can save the boost power to get “In the Zone” to unleash a more powerful boost. When your car is “In the Zone,” it becomes completely invincible and the winding tracks straighten to make driving easier. You can also crash into other cars while in this mode to send them flying backwards. Speaking of sending cars backwards, you can do this in two other ways. One way is to press X when an opponent’s car is next to you. Your car will unleash a spin move and all those that are too close to you will be rammed into the wall. The other way is called “Car-Fu.” (Yes, I know it sounds really stupid.) You can activate the Car-Fu mini-game sequence when you are getting close to a car ahead of you and are prompted to press the B button on-screen. You just have to press the X or Y button (prompted on screen) when the circle approaches the center of the bar (and your opponent does the same). The person who was closer wins the engagement. The engager will jump into the air and cause the defender to spin out of control if the engager wins. If the defender wins, it gains a free boost away from the engager. The combat approach to racing adds to the enjoyment of this game.
    Overall 9/10 in this category


    The controls are fairly standard for a DS racing game. The A-button is used to accelerate and D-Pad to turn. X will unleash the spin move or to restore your car to forward position if it is facing the wrong direction after combat or a jump. The B button activates the Car-Fu sequence. The R button does the boost while the L is used to brake and perform drifts. The touch-screen is only used for menus.
    The controls are simple and intuitive but may feel awkward at times. The combat buttons sometime clash with the A (accelerating) buttons and the drifting is almost impossible to do (for me, at least). Despite minor flaws, the game still has solid controls.
    Overall 8/10 in this category


    This game has somewhat high replay, mainly thanks to the unlockable content. There are many racers to choose unlock, and each car has a different set of color schemes. These are unlocked by the Fan system, which is basically a point system in most games. As you do stunts throughout the game, you gain many new fans. The more fans you have, the more goodies you can unlock.
    Overall 7/10 in this catagory

    Speed Racer DS is one of the best DS racing games released so far, second to only Mario Kart DS. If you enjoyed Mario Kart or just racing games in general, do not miss out on this underrated gem! This game gets an overall of 8/10.

    + Solid racing title for the DS
    + Combat!
    + Insane speeds
    + Thrilling tracks and environments
    + Great frame-rate

    - Lack of Wifi
    - No victory animation sequences like in most racing games
    - No story mode
    - No real map
    - The word “Car-Fu”

    Sample Screenshot:

    By the way, first review ever! Go easy on the critiques please.
  2. updowners

    updowners lurklurklurk

    Sep 26, 2008
    Nice review. [​IMG]

    I might play the game later and see if I like it.
  3. GameSoul

    GameSoul youtube.com/variantdevil

    Mar 21, 2008
    United States
    Good review! It's very deserving of it's score, and I felt the same way about it when I played this game.
  4. Hadrian

    Hadrian Everybofy knows badgers like MASH POTATOES!

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004
    United States
    I did a positive review for this myself for the temper post.

    One of the best racers on the DS, very well made but its such a shame that there wasn't any WFC on it. Probably the closest we'll get to F-Zero on the DS sadly, seeing that Nintendo hasn't bothered with the series for a while now.
  5. pilotwangs

    pilotwangs GBAtemp Maniac

    Jan 20, 2008
    Great review,I really enjoyed the game when it first came out.

    Good work.