I remember spending many weekend’s in arcades, popping 10p’s into quick and easy racing games. Wandering around the, then, smoke-filled rooms dazzled by the sounds and lights of promised adventures. When loading up Grand Prix Rock ‘N Racing for the first time, I experienced the familiar nostalgic pang many of these old arcade racers would bring. But, does Grand Prix Rock ‘N Racing live up to the nostalgia?
I started my Rock ‘N Racing career with the Championship, which involves a simple set of 10 races, of which the objective is to come as far up the ranks as possible. When you first start off, your car is little more than awful, with terrible acceleration, brakes, speed, and more. However, the more races you complete, and the higher in the rankings you come, you can start to upgrade each of the car’s attributes. Over time, you will see your car go from a snail’s pace, to being able to contend for the top 10 positions. It’s also entirely up to you how you decide to upgrade your car, focusing on speed and acceleration, or tyres and brakes if you wish to.
However, winning, or even placing higher than 15th, is a challenge. I’m not sure if it was my own ineptitude, but whenever I found myself higher than 10th place during a race, everything would suddenly go wrong, and I would be shoved down into 18th within the blink of an eye. Now, I’m sure it was just bad driving on my part, but it was incredibly frustrating to find yourself being knocked down time and time again.
Of course, it’s not just your own driving skill you have to concern yourself with, but 19 other drivers on the track, bustling for the next position. Opponents can push and force you off of your line, as you can to them, leading to some really quite frantic battles for placements. A few times I found myself stranded on the wall, unable to move, because some bastard kicked out my back end, and having to restart the race or accept my DNF fate. It wasn’t until I took a look at the settings, later, that I found out that you could reset your car if it became stuck. Even though it’s a fairly obvious game to get to grips with, most of the additional elements you need to find out yourself, such as using the turbo, or how to change gears should you choose manual transmission.
Along with the Championship mode, there are also time trial and multiplayer options to choose from. Time Trial is just that, going through each of the 10 different tracks you unlock in Championship mode, and getting the best time you possibly can. Multiplayer is purely local racing with friends, with no online options to choose from. There is also the option to go through the Championship with a friend, should you wish to.
Visually, Grand Prix Rock ‘N Racing is basic at best. Utilising a semi top-down view; not quite fully top-down, and not quite isometric. This view took some time for me to get used to, as I’ve never really been a fan of top-down racers. The cars themselves are fairly basic by design, but by using contrasting colours, it’s very easy to keep up with your own car. When you’re barrelling into a group of cars, as they all enter a corner, if your car was not easily identifiable it would be very easy to get lost.
The soundtrack was standard arcade-y fare… However, there is a rather annoying announcer, who likes to shout positive remarks at you throughout the race. It wouldn’t be too bad, if it didn’t become incredibly repetitive and weary very quickly.
Overall, Grand Prix Rock ‘N Racing isn’t a terrible racing game. If you liked your Micro Machine-style frantic racers with friends, this has the potential. However, for someone wanting to get a quick arcade fix, there are better options out there.
Grand Prix Rock ‘N Racing is available to download from the Xbox store for £6.39.