Before the age of video games you would find kids and adults alike playing with remote control cars. There’s just something about the mini speed demons coming to life in your back garden or in your lounge and moms kitchen that’s an enormous amount of fun. Re-volt brought that love for remote controlled cars to video games, and all these years later it’s still very enjoyable but tough.
Re-volt launched back in 2000 on the SEGA Dreamcast, after seeing life on the PC, PS1 and N64. The PC version was always considered the best of the bunch with the PS1 receiving the least impressive game of the lot. It’s this PC version that ultimately landed on the Dreamcast. Gone is the pixelated and frame rate mess of the PS1 and N64 versions and in its place you have the definitive version on console.
The graphics look great, considering that it’s been around for 17 years now. You’ll find yourself driving in the streets of a suburbia neighbourhood, then you head off to a supermarket, museum, toy world and more. In all there are 14 tracks that each provide its own unique challenge. In fact, Re-volt might be a RC car game, but it’s got more in common with the kart racing genre – and it works for it.
Each race is made up of complete mayhem. You have access to eight vehicles with their own unique stats that include speed, ACC, weight and transmission (FWD or 4WD). Not only do you have to look out for the other seven racers, but you have to dodge anything and everything a stage can throw at you. When it’s not bouncing basketballs randomly bouncing across the street it’s the slippery polished floors of the botanical garden. Turn a bit too much and you’ll spin out of control. Missed a ramp? Tough luck, now you have to take the long route around. And, while you’re doing all this you’re focussing on the other racers who have pick-up weapons at their disposal. This could range from fireworks that acts as a homing missile, to blobs of water that has opponents sliding out if they touch it.
The one thing Re-Volt has going for it is its difficulty. It’s incredibly tough. Don’t let the word ‘easy’ for the first two tracks deceive you. Your first visit to your first track will have you taking the wrong turns and spinning out all over the show. Seeing that you’re controlling RC cars it’s only normal that the vehicles are very twitchy. Touch a blade of grass and push too hard on that analogue stick and expect to slide out and lose a valuable place or two. Re-Volt is a game of perseverance. Stick it out and you’ll be rewarded with a game that pushes your skills to the limits.
Of course you can play with up to three other people in some offline multiplayer split-screen action, but if you’ve completed all 14 tracks and feel that it needs more it’s time to create your own tracks. That’s right, like Excitebike back in the day, Re-Volt allows you to create your very own levels and save it to your VMU. The track editor is simple to work with and you’ll create cool tracks in minutes.
The last mode you should toy in will be the Stunt Area, once you feel you’re done with the Championship. The aim here is simple – retrieve the 20 stars on the level. These stars are often in hard-to-reach areas, so it requires a bit of clever vehicle placement and speed to get around the loop or jump a gap. You’ll often find your little RC car on its roof as you’re always trying the impossible to get to those stars.
Re-Volt was a challenge back in 2000 and today it’s as challenging as ever. The analogue stick on the Dreamcast controller feels perfect as there is quite a bit of play to control the vehicles and I highly recommend you get it for the Dreamcast if you have the option. The only other recommendation would be to buy it on PC as the PS1 and N64 versions have aged quite badly.