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Cyber Speedway (Saturn) artwork

Cyber Speedway (Saturn) review


""This might be a decent game." "



"This might be a decent game."

"This could be a decent game."

After playing and reviewing thirty-some Sega Saturn games, this is the mindset I now have going into unplayed games for the console. And it's not like I'm intentionally picking bad games in succession and making the system look bad, because it does have its share of gems, but most of the Saturn's library, the US one to be specific, does have a large amount of titles ranging from average to crap. Cyber Speedway happens to fall in the "from average to crap" category. While it may not be a great release, it did have the potential to be an entertaining, futuristic, racing B-Game. The acting in Story Mode is very laughably bad thanks to wooden and/or overly dramatic performances, the most notable of these is that from the main character, Clay Shaw; he only talks during the opening narrative, but it's memorable because of the geeky voice with a lisp (think Billy Quizboy from The Venture Bros.) he decides to use. I should also mention that most of the conversations take place in front of the same city background, only with differing colors. The developers, Nextech, wanted to make you believe each race took place on a different planet, but they probably didn't have time. Though, it could also be laziness, but I find that hard to believe considering their previous efforts.

Unfortunately, the actual racing is whe...

Unfortunately, the actual rac...

I wish I could end the review now and just give the rating, because it only goes downhill from here.

Unfortunately, the actual racing is when the game stops being average and goes into crap territory. One of the most annoying aspects of Cyber Speedway is the amazingly inconsistent framerate, speeding up or slowing down at terrible moments. You could be having a Zen moment during a race, turning corners and dodging sleds (vehicles of the future!) with precision, only for the framerate to pick up as you make an important turn, crashing you into a wall. Now you're in second place, and you have to catch up like crazy to make first. It can be done... if luck is on your side. Another horrible issue with races is that sleds like to crash into you a lot. I don't know if it's on purpose or not, but I do know it happens way too much, especially during turns where it just looks like they desperately want to ram you into a border. What's worse is that there's more sled vehicles on the tracks than there should be, casually weaving around during a race... The manual just labels them "nonparticipating sleds", I label them "cheap".

Now, there's a chance you'll probably be in denial at first, since the hokey cutscenes and the somewhat catchy, 90s, rock 'n roll soundtrack makes you want to like the game. You try persuading yourself that the problems are something you could overcome with practice, and in most cases, actually, you can get accustomed to Cyber Speedway's issues. The vehicle movement is such an example; the sleds normally wobble around like crazy as you make simple turns, which obviously makes driving more difficult than it should. Throw in the game's other mentioned problems, and it's really a major annoyance. Doesn't help that the hit detection is a mess, since you either hit a border or sled without making contact, or pass right through them. But you can get used to these flaws and still manage to complete the game on its advanced tracks, filled with many twists, turns, and ramps, where the problems shine big time.

However, just because you've mastered a game's flaws, doesn't mean it's automatically good, it just means you have the patience to ride it out. Cyber Speedway is a bad game with or without practice, sadly making the shoddy acting and hit-and-miss soundtrack its only real redeeming qualities.

Rating: 3/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (July 31, 2010)

After reviews about Gradius, Salamander, Parodius, and Otomedius games, PickHut attempted a Scramble review. The idea never materialized into writing...

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