Quantum Redshift

Quantum Redshift

Written by Charlie Sinhaseni on 10/27/2002 for Xbox  

When you look at the title, Microsoft’s futuristic racer is already at a disadvantage. Can you really imagine a 10-year-old kid asking their parents for this game this Christmas? In addition to having name that is hard to pronounce it’s also quite difficult to spell. If you think saying the title is hard just try spelling it correctly ten or more times in succession. Since I don’t want to disrespect MS’s latest racer I think I’ll just refer to it as QR from now on, yes that’ll do quite nicely.

Built from the same mold as Psygnosis’ famed WipEout series, QR is a futuristic racer that lures you in with its excellent visuals and chews you up with its breakneck pace. Utilizing the same formula, you’ll travel through some insane tracks and look damn slick while doing so. Having played WipEout Fusion I thought that I would have been tired of this brand of racing by now, thankfully I was wrong.

QR tries to add something new to the racing genre by throwing stories and rivalries into the fray. Each of the main characters have a rival that is connected to them somehow, whether they be siblings or archrivals, the idea is to make the race seem more story oriented. As nice as this looks on paper, it doesn’t really add anything new to the genre. Sure you’ll see small cutscenes before the onset of each race but they’re generally random filler. The game would operate exactly the same way if they didn’t exist.

You’ll start out with a handful of drivers to choose from, the rest have to be unlocked by beating the game. After you beat the game with one of the drivers, you’ll unlock their rival and their home track. Each of the drivers have a distinct set of races that they must travel through in order to complete the game, as well as unique crafts to pilot. Each craft is rated by its ability to handle various types of terrain. The nice thing is that they not only handle differently from each other, but they feature different weapons as well. You collect power-ups that are strewn throughout the tracks, red for lock-on weapons, blue for non-lock-on weapons and yellow for shields. As you complete the races you will earn points that can be used to power up your craft. It works in such a fashion that you stack up your power-ups. So if you upgrade your lock-on weapon, you’ll have to collect two red power ups in order to use the weapon to the fullest effect, kind of like those old shooting games that Irem used to make.

In addition to the weapons, you can upgrade your shields and your turbo. Turbo is awarded to you at the onset of every lap, you start out with a small amount but can upgrade it with the points you receive at the end of each race. Same goes for the shield but from my time with the game, I’ve seen absolutely no reason to upgrade the shield. I didn’t have any problems with my shields and as a matter of fact, I didn’t even get blown apart once. Oh well, so much for that.
Track variety is quite nice, ranging from cities with bright lights to snowy mountain regions. They are fairly well designed and provide a nice variation from each other. Each of them are beautifully rendered, taking full advantage of the Xbox’s power. I’m not quite sure if there is a game on the racing scene that looks as good as this game, not in a realistic way but in that sort of surreal outer worldly fashion. You’ll drive through beautiful ice caverns that really show off what the Xbox is capable of. Each of the crafts are nicely rendered as well, featuring plenty of moving parts. All of them are crafted differently in order to fit with the driver’s persona but in the end, tend to blend in with each other and eventually become old.

I had some fun with this game but there are a few problems, the races seem to be either far too long or far too short. Sometimes I’ll finish a race within 2 minutes; other times it’ll take 5 or 6. It seems to be entirely random and at times, it’s really bothersome. The AI also seems to be rather bland; they’re not exactly brilliant and just follow a set racing line. Combat also seems to be pretty weak, weapons are under whelming and destroying enemies is just sometimes impossible. It seems like the weapons were just added in as an afterthought after the designers realized that the game needed a few more shiny lights.

The sounds are pretty nice and really thump if you have the system to accommodate it. The 5.1 works quite nicely and you’ll definitely hear your competition as they come up behind you. The engine noises are also fairly well done but the weapon noises could use a bit more work. Thankfully you have the option to use your own soundtrack so you can avoid the stereotypical techno-like soundtrack.

I’m not sure where I stand with this game, on the one hand it’s pretty fun to sit down and play for a short amount of time. On the other hand, it gets old really quickly and I can only stomach so much at a time. There’s just not enough here to really keep me interested and to be honest, at times the game feels like a cheap WipEout Fusion rip-off.

After playing QR for a while you’ll realize just how shallow this game is. The races seem too similar to each other and there isn’t much incentive for completing the game. This game belongs much more in the Arcade than it does on the Xbox and even then, I doubt this game would be successful. Quantum Redshift is a fun little rental for the weekend but nothing more.
Microsoft’s answer to WipEout is a fun little diversion that ultimately succumbs to it’s shallow nature. Fun for a weekend rental but not much more.

Rating: 7.2 Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.

It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.

It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.

When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."

As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.

When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.

Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile

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