March 29, 2012

Final Lap Twin - Ranking

Story & World

Points for uniqueness have to be awarded but it's not getting much more than that.  It's a pretty dull world to be in considering the only thing anyone is interested in is racing.  Shops sell nothing but car parts and fuel.  All Dad ever talks about is how I'm going to be the reigning world champion for years to come.  I just wanted to be an accountant, Dad!  I don't want to live your dream anymore!  Uuuuhh huhhuhhuuuh.

Barely need to interact with most NPCs as they give either obvious hints or say something about racing.  A nice touch was having the dialogue change for a town after I had beaten that town's champion.  When I first got to the town, they'd be all like, yeah, our champ is the best, you have no chance, loser.  After I whupped that champ they're all like, oh wow, man, yer so awesome n stuff.  Those straight hounddogz need to get up off my dick, know whut'm sayin'?

With everyone pushing Shen on to become the next world champion, there's little time to focus on anything else.  The bikini-clad pool girls side quest turning out to be a red herring also really grinds my gears (which was then projected into the boogie board).  3/20

Character Development

Well, since the character himself doesn't improve at all, I'll have to grade the car instead.  Car dynamics are only improved by purchasing or finding better equipment.  There are very few choices to be made when upgrading the car as most times the better piece of equipment is more desirable.  The only consideration that comes into play is to not let the engine outclass the tires too much or there'll be a helluva time trying to control the vehicle.  There is no experience system; only cash is gained from "fights".

Purchasing equipment to further develop the car is merely a matter of being able to afford the latest part.  The secret parts won off bosses are very useful in-game tools, such as having a world map or granting the ability to teleport.  On the other hand, there's a boogie board.  3/20

Combat & Monsters

"Combat" in Final Lap Twin is really a two part affair.  The first is against the other driver in the race and the second is against the track itself.  The track designs range from basic shapes to more complex structures with many hairpin turns.  The game mixes and matches opponent driving styles with the different tracks.  The two don't always blend well and certain foes always seem to spend half the time off the track due to sharp turns.  Oh well, easy money.

There are a good number of different characters to race against in each town's area and each has a different driving style (though the same styles carry over from area to area).  I really liked the short trash talk that racers give to ol' Shen prior to a race.  Fleeing from encounters is next to impossible when dealing with a brash, new opponent.  After defeating said opponent a few times, though, it became much easier to reject the challenge.  8/20

Graphics & Sound

A car as the main sprite would have done wonders.  Since it's a tile-based game, a square car would have looked much better than a compressed human.  It's a minor detail but it pisses me off.  The rest of the graphics are ugly (and stupid).  The music is about as forgettable as that one thing I forgot about.  The engines sound alright and make up 99% of the sound effects for the game.  6/20

Gameplay

Cash rewards for defeating opponents are generous and little grinding needs to be done.  For most of the game, I would attempt to refuse any challenge and the cash from the ones who dared to refuse my refusal was sufficient for the majority of purchases.  Normally, I would say that the easy economics works against the game (who doesn't love to grind?) but in this case it succeeds.  A single random encounter in FLT takes a lot longer than in most other RPGs.  Having to find all the best pieces of equipment makes the economy moot for the last quarter of the game.

Thank goodness the controls weren't pooched as they functioned very well.  I know who's to blame when they can't perform well in action-based games.

It's a straightforward world with linear progression which opens up a bit after getting that seaworthy item (whatever it was).  The difficulty was fairly high for me but for someone not having the reflexes of a sloth, it would be more cake.  The very short game time again breaks convention and benefits FLT instead of hindering it.  I can't imagine anyone's sanity lasting long if this game lasted into double digits.  Perhaps this game is more suited to be played for a little bit every week or so instead of all at once.  10/20

Final Ranking:  30/100