CORVETTE / Global Star / PS2

Corvette was trashed by the game magazines with F-level ratings when it came out, but it really isn't that bad. It's not one of the better racing games on the PS2, however, and does have serious problems. Namely, two serious problems - Load Times and Cornering. If even just the latter were fixed, this actually would have been impressive for a budget game that was $10 at release.

The game is simple, arcade-style racing in that the cars have the durability of tanks and your driver seems impervious to the vagaries of physics. Manual shifting is also not mandatory. However, the game oddly seems to fuse arcade-style racing with realistic handling of the various Corvette models. What this breaks down to is a game that works really well except when you're making any type of a tight corner, which basically have to be approached with heavy over-use of the handbrake to even be manageable without dropping to like 20 MPH (a restriction the CPU racers are not subject to).

Not all of the game's tracks are designed with tight corners, however, and the ones that aren't are actually a pleasure to play. My favorite was the last race of the C1 series, a highway duel in 1950s convertibles with surf rock blasting on the stereo. Realistic oncoming traffic and police that chase you added to the ambience. The police are pretty ineffective, however, but they can bust the other racers and often will because they can't catch you, turning highway races into kind of a cakewalk. Still, it's at least a good time for two players.

There's several modes of play, but they use the same set of 25 or so tracks and aren't very distinctive. Quick Race and Arcade let you play a one-off challenge, Career puts you in series of races in which you unlock car upgrades and new paint jobs as you place higher, and then there's a handful of specialty races such as a Route 66 mode that are unlocked as you complete a certain number of the Arcade challenges.

The place where the game features serious depth is in the various models of Corvette from the 1950s to the present. I'm not a car guy so I have no idea if everything is represented but there are a shit ton, from the C1 to C5 series spanning the early '50s to 2003. You gradually unlock a bunch of different paint types which can then be applied to any of them.The one major restriction here is the way in which they're all grouped together, apparently for budget/memory reasons - you can't race C1 cars against C5s, for instance, each race only features one particular class.

The game looks very nice and the music is generic-but-OK. Unfortunately a few small tweaks deviate this from being a surprising little budget champion to a game that's irrelevant to nearly every possible fanbase. For general racing, there's Gran Turismo. Corvette fans may enjoy the breadth of cars present but will likely be frustrated that there's no customization other than tacking on a generic paint job, and also by the wasted potential of the license in terms of unlockables - no real-life videos or pictures, etc. Casual fans will be frustrated by the demanding cornering and the slow load times. I still think the game didn't deserve an F, but it's barely a C- at best. And there's still little reason to play it, maybe if you happen across it for a buck or two.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video