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For those of us who have been playing console games for some years, there was a game released over 5 years ago called Wipeout on the Playstation, it blended futuristic landscapes and ships with racing and was an excellent game, full of color and bonus powerups. Well you will be pleased to hear that some of the original people who worked on Wipeout back then have been working on this new title from Microsoft too.
Installation, Settings and Loading Speeds
Quantum Redshift comes on the single DVD-ROM. It doesn't take very long to load both the game or the in-game levels, levels are well designed in loading terms, they show you the layout of the track as each one loads up for you.
There have been a number of futuristic racing titles released across the whole range of games consoles over the past few years, but very few have come close to matching the style and speed of the original Wipeout release. Quantum Redshift has tried to go that bit further by adding 16 different pilots for you to control, each of which have specific rivals in the game, there are even various back stories relating to these rivalries (nothing to write home about although they are hammy enough to be fun to watch). Because there are 16 different pilots for you to control, there are also 16 different ships for you to fly too. Each ship can be upgraded depending on how much cash you have made at the end of each race.
The main mode in Quantum Redshift is tournament mode, from here you can select one of eight opening pilots (more can be opened up later in the game if you can beat your pilots nemesis). You begin the game as a novice pilot, more difficult modes get unlocked as you play through the game, the learning curve is actually quite steep. The first set of tournaments can be completed with ease early on, but once you get to the midway tournament the difficulty level goes up very high suddenly, this can lead to a lot of frustrating games later on in Quantum Redshift.
The idea in Quantum Redshift is to finish each race in first place, you race across various courses from industrial wastelands to tracks that are full of snow and ice. The better you perform in each race, the more points you get. These points are then converted into cash which you can sped on improving you ship. You can improve the weapons your ship has so that you can take out other pilots whilst you are racing, you can increase the length that your turbo boost will last so you can fly faster for longer and finally you can improve you shield which is needed incase any other rival pilots decide that they want to fire their weapons or rockets at you during the race.
You can only complete a course by finishing first, there are six different pilots to compete against on each course. You do however, spend most of your time on the lookout for the power-ups - giving you the chance to fire missiles at your other rival pilots. The problem here is that when you fire a missile at them it doesn't seem to stop the computer AI's pilot for as long as it does if you get hit by one, which can mean that all your hard work trying to get into first place can be undone in a flash which can be just a little frustrating. The only other problem I have gameplay-wise is that the ship you fly in feels too light, they can bounce all over the place and even slight movements on the game controller can have you veering off into some scenery.
The early tournaments are played at quite a slow pace, it is only when you reach the midway expert level that the speed of the game really starts to increase. Quantum Redshift really has a great feel of speed which is vital in a game like this. The scenery flies by at an astounding pace with no slow down frame rate wise to speak of. The great news here is that Multiplayer mode is split-screen with no slowdown yet again, even when four people are playing at one time. The only differences you might (or probably won't) notice in the multiplayer game are small graphical effects being switched off such as the excellent rain effects.
Graphics & Sound
There is no other title on the Xbox that can currently produce as fast a speeds as Quantum Redshift produces, the scenery flies by and you can sometimes end up missing some of the excellent graphical effects in the game. For those of you that love to see games using up all of the Xbox's fancy features that it can throw out, you won't be disappointed here, there are loads of great little effects used throughout the game and the water effects that leave little drips trickling down your ships windscreen are easily the best I have seen on the Xbox so far.
The music in Quantum Redshift us also very good and is perfectly suited to the game. Junkie XL being the main provider of the game's music tracks here. The sound effects are on the whole excellent, especially in Dolby 5.1, you can hear the patter of rain hitting your windscreen whilst racing. The only problem I had here was the missile effects which for some reason sound too tinny and annoying for my liking. There is also the option to use your own customized soundtrack if you want to, a vital feature in racing games.
Quantum Redshift is enjoyable enough, it won't however win any awards for originality. The graphics are undoubtedly superb and the Dolby sound is generally excellent, multiplayer can be fun, but most of the time there is just something exciting missing from it - I can't put my finger on it though. I really hope they work on a sequel as they have got the makings of a classic here, it just needs tweaking.