Speed Freaks

Speed_freaks_pal_cover

Speed Freaks or Speed Punks in the States.

Link to IGN Speed Freaks Review

From the review….

The level designs are simply built for speed. In fact, Speed Punks is one of the few games that really lives up to it’s namesake, offering a sense of speed you just won’t find in any other kart racing game. Levels can range from caves and lava-strewn valleys to forests and even huge stadiums, absolutely packed with eye candy. As I said before, no other racer has been so gutsy as to throw so much onto the screen at once, and when it’s all said and done, Funcom’s excellent programming pulled it off with finesse.

Graphics
I still can’t get over how good Speed Punks’ looks are. It’s as if Funcom somehow found a little switch buried deep inside the PlayStation code that said, “here, flip me and you can shove more polys on the screen without popup or loss in texture quality than little Sam ever thought possible.” It’s simply stunning to see the amount on screen, in particular on one of the early levels. In it, you’re plopped down into a massive arena that not only houses the race you’re about to start, but a gigantic carnival as well, so as you’re ripping around a the track, you’ll come into full view of a huge ride that spins airplanes over the track, so when you finally hit that corner, a huge plane swings overhead. It’s simply stunning.

Another instance of absolutely sick visuals is a track that starts out in a wooded area, but then launches out onto the beach. You’re offered the choice of taking the winding hillside path, or the longer, more expansive beach below. If you drop down to the beach, you’ll immediately notice that you are now racing below a light layer of fog that blankets the shore and wraps itself around a beached old ship. I can’t gush enough over the graphics here, and it has lead me to this decision: not only is Speed Punks the best looking racer I’ve ever seen (excluding some of the recent PS2 entries), it’s easily one of the best looking games to ever grace the PlayStation. It’s that good.What’s more, Speed Punks has forced me to rethink my “less it more” approach to texturing objects in the game world. Before, I was adamant that texturing almost everything on screen was a resource hog, and often left games looking like utter crap, mainly because the texture work was so bad. In this case however, nearly everything is textured, and it’s done with such variety and brilliance that I’m still dumbfounded as to how it was all pulled off while keeping both the draw distance and framerate so high. Other games have done it (not surprisingly, CTR was one of them) but the list is a single-digit one in my book. Everything, from the stones to trees has bed graced with a bright, colorful texture with nary a case of blotchiness or pixilation in sight. In fact, some of the textures actually look filtered from far away…

All Imagery copyright Funcom