Great Old Gaming FAILS – San Francisco Rush 2049 (GBC)

As we saw last week San Francisco Rush 2049 was one of the most fun racers on the N64. It was a sheer joy to play. So imagine how happy I was when I heard that they were converting it to my beloved Gameboy.

Now I’m a realist. A 64bit console experience was never going to squeeze on to an 8bit Gameboy. Certain scarafices would have to be made. One of them I noticed on the box art. It was going to be an isometric top down racer ala Micro Machines (one of the most fun multiplayer games of the 16bit era) which wasn’t a bit problem. The graphics¬† looked colourful and managed to at least capture the tone of the original. Or so you’d hope.

So on getting the game, it was a new release and already reduced to ¬£10 which should have been an instant red flag I admit, I was excited. Then I tried playing the game and released that yup. I should’ve noticed the red flag.

Let’s get some good out the way first. The game has a bit of digitised speech that sounds better than it usually did coming from the GBCs speaker. It was essentially “3, 2, 1 GO!”

And erm… That’s it. The graphics did look good. But they were also a large part of the problem. To try and replicate the futuristic feel of the original the tracks were full of billboards surrounding them which you’d spend large times trapped behind as you could not see where you were going. There was also a lot, and I mean A LOT of tunnels which had the same issue. Whilst in the often lengthy tunnels, often full of corners, your car was essentially invisible so it was a question of press and hope for the best.

That wasn’t the only issue either. The controls were problematic to say the least. They were similar to micromachines in that left or right related to the direction the car was facing rather than left or right on the screen. They work perfectly in micromachines but here? Not so much. Mostly because the cars had a habit of changing direction automatically if the game thought you were lost which was frustrating as it’d mean you’d crash in to a wall as you weren’t given time to react.

The biggest deal breaker on the game was the opponents AI. Even on easy mode they were ALWAYS faster than you and they NEVER made a mistake. Ever. It was impossible to win which instantly sapped all the fun from the game. The game had a password system so if you wanted to see the extra tracks you’d need to find a magazine with them listed. Or just work it out. Level 1 was AAA, Level 2 was AAB, any guesses what level 3 was? Yup. AAC.

This game then was ultimately a lesson in disappointment. Just because it’s a version of something you live it really doesn’t mean it’ll be any good. Just ask Sonic The Hedgehog on what happened when he went to the Xbox 360… But that’s a fail for another time.