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Pimp My Ride

Score: 46%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Eutechnyx
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Mission-Based Driving

Graphics & Sound:

Pimp My Ride isnít a disappointment because it is bad game, but rather because it is a bad game that has potential to be a good game. The concept behind the game is solid and brings some interesting concepts to the table. Unfortunately, poor mechanics and monotonous gameplay overshadow these positives.

The centerpiece of Pimp My Ride are the pre- and post- pimp interviews. If Pimp My Ride does anything right, it is how well it manages to capture the shrieking and screaming of people as they see Xzibit at their door or when seeing their newly pimped ride. You also get to hear Xzibitís one-liners when describing the rides; some are pretty funny, but others are a just a little too cheesy.

Apart from that, presentation is awkwardly positive. For the most part, everything looks okay; the city is big and thereís a lot you can do to the rides you pimp. Youíve got a bustling downtown area, a beachfront areaÖ its no Stilwater, but it still feels like a city. There are no licensed cars in the game, but many still resemble real-life vehicles.

Aside from Xzibitís comments, the rest of the sound is bare. Unless you like Xzibitís music, there isnít much variety in regards to the gameís soundtrack. The music is okay and fits the game, but it gets old hearing the same few tracks the entire game.


Gameplay:

Pimp My Ride begins with you choosing one of a number of hapless people and their rundown rides. You job is to pimp their rides out by giving them new paint, body modifications and other accessories. The catch is that your improvements need to match the personalities and desires of the owners.

On the surface, this is a novel idea. Problems begin to crop up once you actually get into the game. In order to purchase upgrades, you first need to earn money by completing events around the city. For quick, easy cash you can ram through other cars, billboards and parking meters. While these elements helped to make Burnout so much fun, it doesnít work with Pimp My Ride. The mechanics, especially control, are not there and it is easy to see that the game wasnít designed with destruction in mind.

The big money comes from participating in three major events: Ghost Ride the Whip, Hot Steppiní and Cruisiní. All three are built on the same basic mechanic of pressing buttons before time runs out. In the case of Ghost Ride the Whip and Hotsteppiní, button presses are based around rhythm-based mini-games, only without much rhythm. Although the concept lends itself well to a basic rhythm game, the music never matches up with the music. Instead, you're just pressing buttons before time runs out. Hotsteppiní tries to change things up in the way the button presses are input, but even then it doesnít work.

Cruisiní uses the same timed button presses, only without as much complexity.

Once you reach a minimum budget, its shop time. Customizing cars is just a matter of driving to shops and choosing the right parts. You are given a short amount of time in which to do this. While it does add a sense of urgency, the floaty driving mechanics donít help. Also, shops are scattered across time, so you have to prioritize the modifications. The paint shop might be right around the corner, but your customer really wants new rims and that store is halfway across town. I liked the idea of having to keep your customerís desires into account and the illusion of strategy that it creates, but the time limit kills the fun.

This sequence of events repeats until the game ends. The formula doesnít change much over the course of the game other than button presses becoming more complex. There are no multiplayer options and there isnít much reason to go back and play, though the chances are you will probably want to stop playing halfway through anyway.


Difficulty:

When it comes to pimpiní rides, getting around town is probably the hardest thing to do. The driving mechanics are very touchy, so most of your time is wasted just trying to steer. Events are even easier once you get to them. You can repeat events as many times as you want and the patterns never change, so it is easy to get the maximum amount of cash through memorization.

As I alluded to earlier, there isnít much strategy when it comes to buying new parts. The game does a great job of making it look like a lot of planning goes into finding the right parts, but really it is just a matter of buying the most expensive parts available. In fact, many of the custom parts are matched perfectly with your customer. Money really isnít much of an issue either. Youíll usually have more than enough and you can complete short mini-games at shops that reduce the prices.


Game Mechanics:

The racing engine that holds the entire game together is its weakest link. Pimp My Ride leans more towards the arcade side of things, so you really only have to worry about braking, accelerating and steering. The first two arenít much of a problem, but steering is an absolute pain. Thereís too much oversteer, so even the slightest of movements is usually enough to send you careening off the road or into another car. Sure you get money for hitting cars, but the loss of speed isnít worth it Ė especially when you are working against the clock.

In addition to steering problems, Pimp My Ride also contends with long load times. Every segment is proceeded by lengthy load times, even when reloading segments to replay. Given the size of the city this is to be expected, but at the same time you are limited to a small section of the city and there isnít all that much action going on anyway, so it just slows down an already slow game.

As a gamer, Pimp My Ride is a disappointment. The concepts and ideas presented in the game are different and something to get excited about, especially when you consider what passes for licensed games. The mechanics simply donít follow through and result in a game that goes from an interesting play to something you want to avoid.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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