Peak Performance

Deemed the "average" racing game by almost all magazines, I find Peak Performance to be one of the more enjoyable racers I've ever played. Granted there is not any one factor of this game that makes it spectacular, there are many small things that make the game as a whole really good. Anyone that's played Atlus's game on Saturn, called High Velocity, will recognize some of the cooler features that have been ported over from that game, such as the merging vertical split screen option (you can also have horizontal split) for 2 player races, and switch on the fly automatic or manual shifting.

The game sports a total of 25+ vehicles you can drive, ranging from average cars you'd see on a normal street, to high performance cars (Lamborghini Diablo, Viper, McLaren F1, etc), to a semi truck, moped, and even a tour bus like in the movie Speed. There are 5 total tracks you can race, but 2 are only availabe in time trial mode (1 is a race through city blocks in the bay area, collecting check points, the other is a strait shot up a mountain for the best time). The 3 normal racing tracks are similar to those in High Velocity or Need For Speed, as they are mountainous roads, with twisty turns and cool surroundings to please the eye. You can set the daylight time on the tracks, from Sunny to Sunset to Midnight, and on a few tracks you can even have Mist setting. The cars' headlights turn on during the night settings, and its really cool looking. One note on gameplay is that although powersliding can be a major factor in the game, you can easliy win on normal or even hard difficulties without powersliding at all. When you hit walls you don't slow down much, and it keeps the feeling of speed in the game, which is one reason I like the game so much. In games like Ridge Racer if you hit the wall its like *boom* dead stop, but in Peak Performance you just keep on going, rarely losing control or slowing down much. Not hitting walls all the time is still important though, if you want to win the race, but if you tap a wall once or twice you won't be out of contention.

Everything from the constant leaving of burnt rubber on the road, to the plentiful amount of cars, fairly cool tracks, and earning hidden cars makes this game a solid title. Although the music could have been a lot better, I can't say there is really anything wrong with this game. The load time isn't bad, and the only thing I'd really change about the game is to make it autoload your saved records and hidden cars you earn, and to make "restart race" not the first option that appears when you pause the game. Other than those 2 minor details, the game is nearly flawless, however as noted before there is not any feature by itself that really makes the game stand out. If you're looking for an all around good racer, this game will fit the bill. I find this game really fun to play, and to me thats the most important thing.