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SRS: Street Racing Syndicate (PlayStation 2) artwork

SRS: Street Racing Syndicate (PlayStation 2) review


"From the old school arcade to the modern day consoles, racing games have developed a large following. Whether you’re a fan of tearing down the streets racing for pinks in games like Need for Speed or entering the circuit and chasing the checkered flag in games like Sega Rally, there is something for everyone. Even for the guys like me who don’t know anything about racing or even cars for that matter, there are games. Games like Street Racing Syndicate. Maybe not the best thing out there, but cer..."



From the old school arcade to the modern day consoles, racing games have developed a large following. Whether you’re a fan of tearing down the streets racing for pinks in games like Need for Speed or entering the circuit and chasing the checkered flag in games like Sega Rally, there is something for everyone. Even for the guys like me who don’t know anything about racing or even cars for that matter, there are games. Games like Street Racing Syndicate. Maybe not the best thing out there, but certainly simple and grounded enough for someone like me to enjoy it.

As I said, I don’t know a thing about cars. I can’t tell you what a camshaft is for or what purpose a Hemi serves. All I know is I want the car to go fast; really fast. Which is why SRS is so cool, if you can read numbers you can deck your car out. Before you purchase a car, before you even take it to the garage SRS’s neat little system provides you with everything you need to know. Pop the hood open right there in the shop and a little chart appears on the right side of the screen, giving you important information like 0-60, top speed, brakes, torque and horse power.

After you find the car that suits you--style wise or power wise--you can head to the garage, where you may spend a lot of your time. Souping up cars is almost as fun as it is driving them. The chart reappears the moment you start tacking on upgrades, allowing you to choose the best upgrades for your car, even if you may not know what those upgrades are. The numbers on the side, along with a bar, will increase or decrease depending on whether what you’re buying is beneficial or a step down. With so many legitimate companies like Bosch and Venom and countless options like electronics and turbos, you will have your hands full and your wallet empty for a while.

Not to mention all the cool little add-ons SRS also provides. You can choose from countless stickers and place them almost anywhere on the car, mix and match the vinyls by putting ghost flames on one side and racing stripes on the other, or hit one button and cover the entire car in one slick display of fire. I’m not a big fan of Neon, but the option is there if you want. Attach one of several spoilers, or use the body kits option to give yourself running boards and grill guards as well. The choices were endless, and so too were the bevy of cars I had to show off.

When you actually start racing, you find that SRS provides a lot of variety in that department as well. Something I appreciated because driving around an oval shaped track while some schmuck in a booth waves a flag at me just isn’t appealing, but racing around the street impressing all the pretty girls…does. SRS has all kinds of races; most notable are the Respect challenges. Different girls appear all over the map with all sorts of challenges for you. Sometimes it’s hitting each checkpoint; other times it’s shadowing their car without crashing into them. Win these races and you win the girl, their bio and one out of three videos of them dancing around. The other two you can unlock by “hooking up” with her (I.E. hitting the square button in their menu) and having her tag along as you win races. Lose a race and she bails on you. Tch. Chicks.

And perhaps the biggest races are the “Street Crew” races. Five crews are scattered all over the map and you can jump to any one of them so long as you meet the requirements. These races are a bit different, as they are usually only lap or drag races, but the challenge comes in earning “respect”. Every trick you pull off in your car--whether it be driving on two wheels, catching air, hitting a turn on the outside and staying there, being a lap leader or any number of things--gives you respect points. Each Street Crew race has three different challenges with three different races in each. Earning you, if you do everything right, 3000 respect points for each challenge. It’s Street Racing Syndicate’s neat little way of adding a little dazzle to each lap.

There are also a few non-sanctioned races out there as well. You can drive around searching for bragging rights and flash your high beams on a marked car to enter into an impromptu drag to earn you cash, or go to a specified area and challenge one of the local show offs. This, also, is where you can find one of your “girlfriends” if she bailed on you. Eventually, she’ll start rolling with one of those lamers. If you want to get her back, all you have to do is beat him. Did I mention you can also run from the cops? Who doesn’t have fun with that?

You can even cruise around and leave the driving up to the computer, allowing you to take in SRS’s wonderful graphics. The glint on the hoods, the wonderful smooth outline of the cars and the detailed streets of the city are definitely up to par. The one problem I had with the graphics was the girls. They look great in their videos (especially Courtney and Linda) but their in game design leaves much to be desired. When they walk up to your car and challenge you they all look the same, so you can’t help but wonder, “Do I smash my car up trying win this one or should I just call animal control?”

The cars themselves look great as well. Most of the top brands in cars like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Lexus, Mazda and Volkswagen provided some of their top sellers and all of them were designed phenomenally. They are almost mirrored images of what you see the real people racing with.

The controls are fairly tight, and steering never becomes a problem unless you take a turn way too fast. The analog stick is extremely responsive whether you give it a light tug or a hard jerk, depending on what you want to do. Most of maintaining control of your vehicle is based upon your tires and weight reduction, but the games mechanics really help even a simple novice like me keep the rubber side down.

I can’t really give the soundtrack a thumbs up. I’m not a big fan of rap, but there only seems to be a few songs (I guess, they all sound the same to me) and hearing them over and over was just irritating. I could gladly just play the game on mute, as there were no other note worthy sounds. Tire screeching? Eh.

SRS provided me with countless customizing options, cool things like videos and girls to unlock, tight controls and some decent aspects to simple races. It gave me variety, which is why I liked it so much. It’s slick. Okay, it may not be the king of street racers but in my opinion still slick.

Rating: 7/10

True's avatar
Community review by True (April 27, 2006)

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