Another new addition to the Racing genre of XBLA, but does Bang Bang Racing stand out?
I’ve always been a fan of the saying “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” and in a way this is how I see Bang Bang Racing. To explain, do you remember when fun racing games just involved racing? No built-in weapons, tedious power-ups or stupidly powerful upgrades? When the challenge was to win by actually racing better than everyone else? Well, this is that kind of game! Remember back to the likes of Micro Machines and R.C Pro-am (Yes, I’m old!) and BBR is cut from the same cloth. It is just racing with no gimmicks.
You start with Career mode. Four different stages, each with a number of its own individual races. There are 3 basic racing events:
First there’s Standard Race, which is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s you, versus 7 computer AI. First to the finish line wins. Secondly there’s Time Trial where you have a limited number of laps to beat Bronze, Silver or Gold lap times. No AI on this one, so it’s just you and the track. And finally there is Elimination, which again pits you against 7 computer AI, but every 10 seconds (After the first lap!) last place gets eliminated, until there is only first place left. You complete the races to complete the Stage, to unlock the next Stage and so on.
Each stage has its own type of cars for you to race. Stage one puts you in the driving seat of Muscle cars. Stage two, Street Race cars. Stage three, Racers and Stage four, the ‘epitome of racing’, F1 style racers. Included in each Stage is also a choice (After you’ve unlocked them) of 5 cars. Each has its own redeeming feature over the others. There is a choice of the ‘Tough’ car, which enable you to take more damage. The ‘Agile’ car, which gives you better steering control. The ‘Accelerator’, which as it suggests has the best acceleration in the class. The ‘Nitro’ car, which has a longer lasting Nitrous system. And finally the ‘Top Speed’ car, which again is pretty self-explanatory.
There are only 9 tracks in Bang Bang Racing, but couple this with being able to race them reversed or even different variations of each track, there are lots of combinations to keep you entertained for quite a while.
Then there is a Championship mode. This, as well as the majority of the car variants, is not available at the start and unlocks as you progress through the Career mode. Championship mode, again, is exactly what you would expect. You compete in a number of races, winning points depending on where you finish. 10 points for first, 8 for second and so on.
The only other mode available is a Time Trial variant, where you can choose your track, your ‘Stage’ of car, variant of car, etc. This is exactly the same as Time Trial within the Career mode, where you have a Bronze, Silver and Gold time to beat.
The multi-player… or lack of it is a real let down. Although you can play against up-to 3 of your friends locally, there is no facility to play anyone over Xbox Live.
The racing physics of the game are great, it plays exactly how you would expect. Adding in it’s ‘nearly’ top-down view makes it graphically pleasing. The camera panning takes a bit of getting used to, as when you turn, the camera pans slightly afterwards, meaning there are points where you are navigating corners and getting slightly confused at how tight/short the next corner may be. But, you do adapt to it after time and it does add an edge to the game-play.
All-in-all Bang Bang Racing is what it is. It’s a great racing game, with loads of track and car variants when you manage to unlock them all. But once you’ve completed the Career and Championship modes, without an online multi-player there isn’t that much to keep you coming back time and time again.
As always, I’d recommend that you download the trial game off of the Xbox Live Marketplace and try it first!
Here’s some game-play footage: