Eye Toy: Antigrav

Review

posted 12/15/2004 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
I’m a huge supporter of Sony’s Eye Toy. While everyone at Gamers Day 2003 was anxious to get their hands on Gran Turismo 4, I was stoked to get some quality time with the camera peripheral. I mean, I love racing games and all but there’s so much promise with the Eye Toy. Many people believe that it’s just a gimmicky camera that’s capable of taking photographs, but the device is so much more. Its motion sensing technology can lead to some pretty impressive results, and Antigrav is just the beginning of what could be the next step in video gaming.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the device, the Eye Toy is a motion-sensing camera that allows players to use their bodies to manipulate the action. When the player makes a move, it registers with a sensor on the camera which then reflects the action back onto the screen. The device has an unlimited amount of potential and while some developers are starting to incorporate the device into their games, they’re basically only using it for its picture taking abilities. It’s more though, the motion sensor has the ability to track the player and use them as a controller. That’s exactly what Antigrav is all about. It’s a futuristic hover board racing game but there’s a huge twist. Instead of controlling the game with a controller, players utilize their head and their arms to manipulate the action. Antigrav is also the first Eye Toy game really aimed at the mainstream audience. After the initial calibration sequence the game does away with the video and maps all your actions onto their on-screen personas.

Before each race the camera calibrates itself by locking onto your face. This is pivotal because the position of your face in relation to the original position determines how your character reacts. Move a little to the left and your character sways gently in that direction, lean all the way and your character makes a hard turn. Additionally, the head is used to control the vertical orientation of the character as well. In order to jump players will need to physically jump while players can duck by (duh) ducking. Furthermore players can utilize a speed boost by getting into a crouch and perform tricks by moving their arms. It really is amazing to perform the action with your body and watching it happen on the screen. When you move your arms your character moves his arms too; I got a real kick out of this as I spent a good five minutes flailing my arms and watching my character mimic my actions.

There are two different ways to play through each of the game’s five different courses. Race mode is a straight-forward race through the course against three other competitors. To advance in the Race mode you will need to place first in three separate heats of increasing difficulty. Winning all three heats will unlock the next course in the game and some new upgrades for your rider. Although there are only five different courses, each feature enough paths and shortcuts to make them consistently interesting. On average, each race lasts about 5 minutes as you travel from the start to the finish. There’s some good variety in the locales as well as you’ll race around lakes, through busy cities and across snow-capped peaks.

Your other option is to participate in the stunt mode which requires you to earn a certain amount of points in order to move on. Points are earned by performing wild and insane stunts off one the game’s numerous ramps and launch points. Tricks are performed by waving the arms in different motions; there are a lot of tricks available and some special combos as well. Also, performing stunts also has that added bonus of filling up a boost meter that can be used to propel the racer ahead of the competition.

Rails play a pivotal role in the game as they provide players with shortcuts and a decided advantage in the speed department. As you travel along rails you’ll notice some floating icons; hitting the icons with your hands will give you a speed boost that is crucial to success in the game. Hitting the icons is part of the fun as you’ll need to physically raise your hands up and down in order to hit the icons as they pass by. It’s a hell of a lot of fun when the game is functioning properly. I say properly because there’s a high likelihood that you won’t have access to the optimal playing conditions.
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