No Brakes: 4×4 Racing (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, September 19, 2005

Graphics: 8.00
Sound: 8.00
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 8.00

No Brakes: 4×4 Racing is an amusing vehicle racer that may not be the deepest game ever, but will keep you entertained for a decent amount of time. You may have never heard of it, but No Brakes boasts features that other high profile PC racers should take notice of.

No Brakes has nicely detailed graphics, with a few minor flaws. The car models look good, although from the default camera they look small; almost like toy cars (the game includes numerous camera modes though, so there are multiple viewpoints). While the game features eleven real world jeeps, it must be said that they all handle the same, and even don’t look that different from one another. However, there are often up to five other racers onscreen with you a time without slowdown, so this makes up for it. Draw distance is generally fine, with the small exceptions of some minor pop-up, but since it happens in the track backgrounds and not the track itself, it’s not that big of a deal. Damage models also look a bit weird, with red pixels coming off the cars upon contact, which doesn’t look that realistic. Despite these minor setbacks, the game is nice to look at.

The vehicles in the game sound as you would expect them too, although it is a bit muffled by the soundtrack. The background music consists of various techno tracks, which are surprisingly catchy. Not that they’ll be stuck in your head or anything, but they’re pleasing to listen to, and don’t detract from the racing experience. The game is also said to include the ability to import your own MP3’s in, but when I tried the option I was unable to get any in. Perhaps this feature hasn’t been fully implemented yet, but it will be nice when it is.

Obviously, a racing game would be worthless if it didn’t have decent gameplay, and No Brakes delivers. Controls in the game are similar to any other racing game (use the arrow keys to move and other keys on the keyboard control misc. functions such as the horn), but you can customize them as you need to. No Brakes features ten tracks, ranging from the Andes to a Woods course. Each course has plenty of twists and turns, as well as numerous opportunities for jumps. Occasionally, the front of your car will be stuck running along the ground for a little while after a jump, which looks rather weird, but thankfully doesn’t affect gameplay. No Brakes also features four modes, each of which can be played in single-player or multiplayer as well. The first major mode is Trial, in which you can do a practice run on the track of your choice, with or without AI opponents. The game also features a Tournament mode, in which you compete in numerous races to try to come out on top. Another mode in No Brakes is the Leaving mode, in which you can play any of the tracks in reverse. All of the tracks in the game feature reversed and mirrored modes. Finally, there is Evolution mode, in which you buy a car and get more money by winning races. While not as deep as similar modes in other games, it serves as a fun diversion. All of these modes are also playable online with other racers, but don’t hold your breath, there aren’t too many online with this game quite yet.

Another unique feature in No Brakes is the Review feature. Using this feature, the game records your entire run on a track, and you can edit it to make a video, or even use it to brush up on your racing. While not the most unique feature ever, it helps for practice runs, and can help improve your game.

AI in No Brakes is competent, if not a little hasty to crash into other racers. While not completely lacking intelligence, other racers can often be seen crashing into walls and other racers. Sometimes this detracts from the difficulty level, but other times it is just for show.

Overall, No Brakes is a fun diversion. If it interests you, a limited demo is available at http://www.exotypos.com/nbdemoversion.html. The full version can be purchased through Exotypos” website for $14.95. While this is not the type of the game that you may remember years later, it will be one of those games you might find yourself pulling up on a boring day.

Overall Rating: 8.00

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