Quantum Redshift


posted 10/27/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: 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.
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