Rush Hour is a decent top-down arcade racing game that is much better known on the PlayStation than the PC. Like most arcade racers, driving in Rush Hour is very simple: just use the arrow keys to steer; no gear-shifting is required. However, it is overly responsive even when you choose the "Slow" steering option: the cars handle like bumper cars at amusement parks, which means it is very hard to control at high speeds. |
On the upside, the overhead view is quite cool, and you can zoom in and out of the action, as well as use the rear view and the trackside view to see more camera angles. The action is also somewhat fun, especially when you hit other racers hard enough to knock them off the tracks. When your car is hit, you see parts fly off, and damage bar at the bottom of the screen fills up a notch. When the bar turns completely red, it's game over.
There are two types of race cars: Performance vehicles and Heavy Metal vehicles. Each of these types has 4 different cars, and the Heavy Metal ones are much more interesting (my favorite are the Dune Buggy and Jeepster). There are also 4 additional hidden vehicles for each class, which can only be 'unlocked' after you win enough matches. You can race in 8 race tracks which span both the countryside and downtown areas. Time Trials, Single Race, and Championship are three available race modes. You can also change the difficulty level, turn autosave on or off, and turn checkpoints on or off. To round off the features, you can watch a replay of the race you have just completed - this is useful mostly just to admire the game's scenery you didn't have time to notice during the action. The details are quite impressive for a 1997 game: sparks fly, tires spin, and smoke comes out of your car when it is damaged.
Multiplayer mode is lacking, but adequate for a 2-player hotseat play in split-screen mode. A nice feature is that you can add a start time delay of up to 30 seconds to give a less skilled player some handicap. Despite all these nice features, Rush Hour is unfortunately too over-responsive to be addictive in the long run. Definitely not for hard-core racers, although casual gamers and arcade racing fans may be interested. Reviewed by: Underdogs