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Score: 65%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Xicat
Developer: Grin
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Racing

Graphics & Sound:

If there was ever a pretty gerbil tube, Ballistics would probably win first place. Due to the tracks being set entirely inside of tubes, there isn't much else to do but to spruce the place up a bit. Occasionally there will be a window in the track looking at a decently rendered world, but you're going so fast most of the time you'll never get to see it. And speaking of the speed, the game uses a strange effect to simulate speeds including, but not limited to, mach 1. Upon reaching these skin-stretching velocities, the track, or tube if you prefer, stretches, becomes distorted and blurry, tricking your brain into believing you're actually reaching these breakneck speeds. Aside from this nifty little trick though, the graphics won't have your jaw dropping.

If the graphics fail to impress, you can count on the sound to follow close suit. Most of what you'll hear will be the sound of your engine, which sounds like a muffled car engine in first gear. The only other noise to accompany the screaming engines will be the sound of metal on metal, as you are almost certain to hit every obstacle on the track. An announcer will occasionally speak, but this seldom happens during a race. These low quality sounds, along with a somewhat forgettable sound track, don't do much for the experience.


Ballistics, being a racing game, is set in the future where the races are faster than anything anyone has ever seen. The racers are bred from birth to be the best racers around, as no mere mortal could possibly handle the vehicles. The goal of the game, as is the goal of any racing game, is to come in first at the end of the race. Except here, you race around in a tube instead of on a track, clinging to the walls with your anti gravity pod, avoiding a few (few in both number and variety) obstacles on the way.

All of this is good in theory, but not in practice. There is hardly any variety amongst the game's seven tracks, as they all look like large, continuous, metallic gerbil tubes. Along the way are two different power-ups, including boost and an engine cooler. The boost will send you well on your way to mach speeds, if you can avoid the obstacles, which will increase your engine heat if you run into them. Avoiding them is more a matter of luck than skill, and you'll soon be cursing the damn things. The engine coolant is a quick way to cool down an overheating engine, but this can also be done manually, at the expense of a little speed.

A money system is incorporated into the game, and the premise is simple: win more races, get more money. Money can then be spent on upgrades for your pod. There is no shortage of parts or areas of your vehicles that can be upgraded, allowing for literally thousands of combinations. As you'll never explore all of the possible combinations, it is easy to find the right combo for you. This is about the only thing that works right in this game, and it is a shame that the other areas let this one down.

Apart from a single race option, there is a Championship mode that allows you to win loads of cash and also to unlock the other tracks. The only other item bringing replay value to the table is the Multiplayer mode, which lets up to eight people race against each other via LAN or the internet. As I've said before, too little too late.


There are three different difficulty settings in Ballistics, and anything above Rookie will not yield anything of value. In Rookie mode, you cling to the wall no matter where you go, but by kicking it up a notch, semi-real physics take over, creating an extremely difficult and lackluster gaming experience. This game is basically worthless on the harder levels, but should appeal to just about anybody on the easier one.

Game Mechanics:

Thankfully, Grin kept the controls simple. Two keyboard buttons move you either to the left or right, while the left mouse button propels you though the tunnel. The game allows for 360 degrees of circular movement, and the obstacles force you to utilize every degree. But trying to avoid them is harder than it sounds. There is virtually no room for skill here, as the speeds you are forced to race at will leave you running into things you saw a mere tenth of a second before you hit them.

Racing fans shouldn't be fooled by this game: their skills won't come in handy. Ballistics does cater to the fans of supersonic speeds and strange psychedelic effects, however short lived those effects might be. Not a total disaster for a budding development team, but definitely not one for hall of fame.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

400 MHz processor, 128 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 3D Accelerator, 1024 MB disk space, Sound Card

Test System:

Windows 98, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows Armed and Dangerous Windows Beach Head 2002

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated