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A PSP Video Game Review: Street Supremacy

It’s “Tokyo XTreme Racer” (Shutokou Battle) for the Sony PSP…but with the decline in franchise, this racer is not as good as it used to be.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Street Supremacy (首都高バトル )

PLATFORM: Sony PSP

DEVELOPER: GENKI

COMPANY: KONAMI

Ahh….the days of playing “Tokyo Xtreme Racer” on the Sega Dreamcast. Well, now the racer that critics hate but has a pretty good following is now out on the PSP. In Japan, known as “Shutokou Battle: Zone of Control”, “Street Supremacy” (US title) has made it to America but is it worth getting?

Well, before I go on with the review…I want to say that the selling point in the US is the name Tokyo Xtreme Racer (as Shutokou Battle is used in Japan). Why deviate from a name that is well known among fans of the series? “Street Supremacy” should have the TXR name to it. Anyway…

On to the review…

TXR has its strong fan following. Why is that? Well, before “Need for Speed Underground”, “Project Gotham Racing” and other racers available today on the consoles, “Tokyo Xtreme Racer” introduced us to illegal Japanese street car racing. Sure, there was “Initial D” but TXR gave us the opportunity to freely roam the freeways of Tokyo, passing through some noteable areas and highways of the city, tuning our cars and most of all… with being the unknown racer…you follow a racer (member of a team), flash your headlights and initiate a race and it was so enjoyable. Most of all, the game offered things for your vehicle that screams Japan and gave you the opportunity to race awesome Japanese cars.

Unfortunately for the series, with the PS2…despite a cool video showcasing Japanese street racing, the games since then have been lackluster compared to what was being offered on the consoles (Need For Speed Underground) and the arcade (Initial D: Arcade State v3). TXR was pretty much the same game over and over but still maintained its fan following (like how things are with Dynasty Warriors…few upgrades with release but pretty much the same game).

Well, now we have “Street Supremacy” on the PSP. A game that would feature new gameplay and heck…TXR portable. The game offers 3 modes:

* TEAM RUMBLE – The main game
* TIME ATTACK MODE
* REPLAY THEATER

GAMEPLAY:

The object of the game is that you are part of a racing team (I don’t use the word gang because in Japan…they are usually reserved for the pompador haired motorcycle gangs) and your job is to gain some rep and challenge other rival teams through races. Increase your level means more money to buy better cars and you can customize up to 25 cars. You can also purchase more cars but they are already customized.

The racing is focused primarily Kanto area (Tokyo) but what was my favorite part of TXR which allowed you to roam around and drive all over Tokyo to find a rival, the mode is now removed and are given a select area featuring a map with where the rival teams hang out and race and where you can challenge them.

There are three types of challenges/battles:

+ FREE BATTLE – Where you can challenge a rival team member and you can win experience and CP (CP is your money)
+ RANKING BATTLE – This is how you move up in ranking of your team. Beat a team member and move up.
+ TEAM BATTLE – When your team takes on another team and you can dominate their area. Beat a rival, you can get them to join your team. You want to build loyalty.

GRAPHICS: Well, the graphics are good. Nowhere as good as “Ridge Racer”, “Initial D: Street Stage” or “Burnout Legends” but ok. You see occasional black marks near the bottom but if you played TXR on a console, graphics have never been the series strong suit.

AUDIO: No, you are not going to get NFSU hip hop or rock music. Nor are you going to find dialogue. For dialogue, text is displayed. What you do hear is the sound of your car, the music which is usually fast electronic music and if you bump into something.

CONTROLS: I prefer using the D-Pad over the nub stick but cars are not as smooth as “Ridge Racer” but ok.

“Street Supremacy” is still “Tokyo Xtreme Racer” minus the free roaming around the city and the excitement of driving around the freeway and going behind them and flashing your lights is unfortunately gone. But still, quite a number of rivals to go against which is the meat of the game. And the fact that you don’t have to drive for long periods of time, definitely is a time saver for those who want a quick game to pass the time.

The appeal for this game is surely going to be targeted towards fans of the series, fans of import racing or Japanese street racing or people who want a cheap racing game.
The game is also among the cheapest PSP games out there, going for $29.99.

I am a fan of TXR..having bought nearly every game that has come out. I’m glad it is out for the portable but like the “Dynasty Warriors” series, fans of the game have always wanted more from it. “Street Supremacy”, although a fun game that us TXR fans are going to buy anyway, it’s really lacking the other parts of what we enjoyed from the console version.

It’s as if Genki rushed this game out in Japan and although over a year later since its release, you would expect something more from the US release. The rumored online multiplayer is not in the game, load times are still slow (but not WWE Raw vs. Smackdown slow) and even worse, Konami doesn’t even ad the TXR name to the game.

Still…I can’t deny that I still will support the series and I do enjoy the game despite its shortcomings because for it’s low price and the fact that the core function of the game is to challenge rival team racers on Tokyo highways, customize your car and these things are still in tact, that’s more than enough for me to enjoy another version of a TXR game.

SCORE: 72%/100

PROS:

+ TOKYO XTREME RACER for the PSP
+ What we love about TXR is on here…challenging racers from teams, customizing vehicle and riving on Tokyo highways.
+ For the busy racing video game fan, the matches are not only fun but also very quick.
+ Cost under $30

CONS:

– No TOKYO XTREME RACER on the title and replaced with cheesy “Street Supremacy” title.
– Some aspects that we enjoyed about TXR are not on the PSP version such as the ability to drive around freely on the highways and using your flashing headlights to initiate a race.
– Compared to other racers on the PSP these days, graphics are ok.
– Game seems rushed and no true improvement for the US release. Where are the multiplayer modes?
– Loading times although nowhere near as bad as WWE:RvsS….Still….ughh….

Reviewer’s Score: 7/10