Published on June 24th, 2012 | by nightskyre0
Bang Bang Racing – Whiz Bang or Oh Snap?
By: Andrew Smith
Since the 1988 arrival of Rare’s RC Pro Am I have been enraptured by the simple racer – a racing game with heavy arcade influence that didn’t pretend to be a simulation. My obsession with the arcade racer continued with F-Zero in 1990, Mario Kart in 1992, and Stunt Race FX in 1994. The hardcore racing simulators began in ’97 with Gran Turismo and though I enjoyed them my heart remained with the arcade styled classics.
Upon booting up Digital Reality’s Bang Bang Racing and entering career mode my thoughts were immediately returned to the old school racers that captivated my youth. A pleasant and refreshing alternative to the deep and involved simulation racing of Gran Turismo and Forza, Bang Bang Racing doesn’t try to be something it’s not – and succeeds.
Bang Bang Racing is a physics based, simple and straightforward third person arcade racer. In implementation, it feels a lot like F-Zero – There are 3-8 laps per race, cars take damage, and cars use nitro which can be filled by driving through the pit stop area (also used to repair damage). The cars in Bang Bang Racing remind me of Micro Machines, and the environments are populated with cartoon like people and set pieces.
Bang Bang Racing has three modes – Career, Championship, and Free Play. Within Career and Championship are four classes – Essentially starting with slower cars and ramping up to faster cars in the higher classes (think 50cc, 100cc, 150cc in cart racers, for example). Working through each class unlocks the higher classes. Championship and Free Play allow for local split screen multiplayer.
In Career mode, once a class is selected you choose the track you would like to race on. Once this is chosen, you pick your car. In Championship mode, the four classes have set races and you head straight to car selection. Each of these features three race modes – Standard racing, elimination racing (where the last place car every 10 seconds is eliminated) and time trial, which has bronze, silver, and gold time tiers.
There are five cars per class with varying featuresets to choose from – One is the toughest, one the highest speed, most agile, best nitro, etc. I unlocked the cars through career mode. There are unlockable color schemes as well.
The multiplayer for Bang Bang Racing has drawn a fair amount of criticism as it is local only split screen multiplayer for up to four players. While I can understand the distate for the lack of online multiplayer, I feel this was a design decision made by the team at Digital Reality that makes perfect sense in context. Bang Bang Racing clearly hearkens back to the racers of yore, and the edge of your seat competition made more intense by your friends all yelling around you is something that is lost in this XBox Live / PlayStation Network world. Bang Bang Racing was crafted with this mentality clearly defined, and I appreciate it.
There are a bunch of unlockables and game modes that provide Bang Bang Racing with a fair amount of replayability, and the local multiplayer makes for great fun at parties for viewers and participants.
I did experience the occasional hitch when playing – Not a bug, but a momentary pause in the action. This wasn’t a game breaker in any way, but it sure was annoying.
All in all, Bang Bang Racing is a solid if unspectacular racer that seems designed to remind older gamers of the kinds of racers that initially kindled their interest in the genre, back in the late eighties and early nineties. The graphics won’t blow you away, but the physics based gameplay is simple, fun, and engaging, and is sure to be a hit at parties.