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Uniracers (SNES) artwork

Uniracers (SNES) review

"This game was something special, and was nowhere near as popular as it should have been."

I know of less than 10 other people in the whole world who love this game the way I did. This game was something special, and was nowhere near as popular as it should have been.

For most, the SNES has a special place in their hearts. For most, the SNES was the home to the best RPG's, the best platormers, and the best conversions of fighting games. I tend to agree with this view as well, but for me, THE best thing to happen on SNES was also one of the worst things to ever happen. ''What in the blue hell are you talking about, Lee?''

Let me tell you, dear muppet. I am talking about Unirally (Uniracers in US).

See, what we had here was an absolutely superb game. On the surface, it was just a basic race game. But, scratch around a little, and you found there were elements of platform gaming, and even beat-em-up. See, this was a side-on 2D race game. You played a Unicycle! You had to race either time limits, or other Unicycles. Or, you had to score so many points in the stunt bowls. Sounding basic, but having lots of hidden depth to it.

The first real WOWmaker was the sheer speed of the game. Now, the SNES was never really known for its fast games. I mean, with the exception of F-Zero, most preferred to concentrate on the superior sound and graphics. But, DMA design had a stroke of genius. See, they ditched anything even remotely resembling detail, and opted for a very bare, stripped-down look to the game. The result of which was, those backgrounds flew behind, and never blurred or slowed the game down due to the poor 8 bit (yes, the SNES WAS only 8 bit, just on steroids) CPU having too much to keep up with. The sound was failry basic, too, but was actually amongst the most appropriate game soundtracks of all time. It fits so well, and I can still remember it note-perfect even to this day.

The second stroke of genius, and the most important one, was the way that tricks resulted in speed boosts whilst in a race. So, it wasn't just about having the correct line, you also had to keep busting stunts to stay ahead of your opponent. So, on the 1st track, which was just a straight line, whoever could keep the stunts coming the quickest and smoothest was going to win. And the stunt system was the final work of art. A press on the L or R button would flip the Unicycle in the equivalent direction. The remaining buttons were used to jump, spin, and twist on the Z axis (Z flip). Simple stuff, really, like all the best games. What this did was to basically free up the game, so that any stunts you did were of your own design. Therefore, the more nimble-fingered you were, the better you would do.

Of course, no game is perfect. There has to be some fault. And Unirally's fault was .... well, shocking. And HUGE! See, the thing was.....

For whatever reason, Nintendo decided to release the game UNFINISHED. As in, literally. They didn't add two stunts that were required to win the final stunt level without basically putting in insane levels of practice. Therefore, no matter how good you got, you were more than likely never going to open all the extras. This game was uncompleteable. I have still to forgive Nintendo for this, their one and only mistake to this day. Mainly because, I spent almost a week trying everything imaginable to find out just how in the hell I could open up those last 2 stunts on the table. It was only a month or so after the game was released that I found out why I had been failing.

So, what should have been an absolutely essential game, ended up as a waste of time. I still love the whole concept, and the game did play like a dream. But, it turned into a nightmare. Maybe the Cube will treat us to an updated version, but I don't hold out much hopes. Shame, because the game was class, and would be a really good way to introduce Nintendo fans to online console gaming.

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Community review by cheekylee (Date unavailable)

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