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(hx) 05:00 PM EDT - Jul,13 2005

Developed by Juice Games, Juiced is arcade street racer that's designed in the same vein as NFS Underground and Midnight Club. Juiced was scheduled for release some time ago by Acclaim. When that publisher went bankrupt a bidding war began - ultimately ending with THQ securing the rights to the game. Now, the street racer finally hits stores. Was Juiced worth waiting for?

Juiced includes three main gameplay modes - career, arcade, custom race and online gameplay (through GameSpy) -each with its own variations such as solo races, sprints, point-to-point, etc. In Career Mode, which is the main part of the game, the player is thrust into the import-tuning world of underground racing. Earning cash lets you buy cars and parts. Progression is based on respect from rival crews and the more respect you earn the more events appear on the race calendar. Respect brings balance to the cash aspect. If you have lots of money but no respect, you cannot progress and vice versa if you have respect but no cash, you can't buy the cars, parts and race entries you need. So, you have to be skillful in your driving and team management, as well as good at modding. You generally have the choice of four main event types: Point To Point, Circuit races, Sprints (multi-heat drag races), and Show Offs. You can race on a certain track as an individual or team. Some of these races are free, but most cost money to enter. The problem comes when you lose a number of races, make some bad money bets and are left with a rather depleted bank balance. It gets frustrating when your skill level isn't developing as fast as the deficit in your account.

The arcade mode allows you to quickly get into the higher horsepower cars of Juiced and is divided into circuits depending on the car class and type. Each car has already been done up with power adders, new paint, graphics, and even neon, so jump right in if you don't care about customizing stock vehicles. In Custom Race you have complete control over event type, weather conditions, competitors, and more. Unfortunately for you, you'll have to unlock all but a few cars in order to use them in the Custom Race mode. The multiplayer is probably a better part of the game. Setting up a race is pretty easy, and there are enough cars and tracks to keep things interesting for a while. There's even a simple ranking system in the game.

There are fifty three fully licensed vehicles from 17 different manufacturers, with top brands from the USA, Japan and Europe. This massive collection of cars including Fiat Punto, Peugeot 206, Ford Focus, Mazda MX-5, RX-7, RX-8 , Acura RSX, Subaru Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer, Toyota Supra, Nissan Skyline and some classics like the 67 Mustang and the 69 Dodge Viper and the new and powerful Viper GTS. From visual style to performance Juiced offers a lot of options. The player can modify the bumpers, hood, wheels, and spoilers. Performance modifications include aspects such as brakes, air intakes, engine management systems, exhaust systems, gearbox ratios, suspension, nitrous, and turbo systems and more. However, performance upgrades are relatively limited in terms of variety. The only thing you can really adjust is your main gearshift, which only does the master ratio and your ride height which you can adjust up or down. Everything else you have to adjust by buying an aftermarket part. The standard parts become available to purchase as soon as you own the car; and more advanced parts for any given car are unlocked as you progress through the game and continue to drive it.

Overall, this game definitely has the potential to compete with the top street racing games. Technically it's not bad - high frame rates, some excellent rain effects, fast-paced, but the gameplay could have been much better, especially the Career mode which puts too much focus on money, respect, and schedules, and not enough on actual racing.

related links: demo, cheats enabler / cheats, trainer +7, Juiced CDROM.

System requirements:
Minimum: 933MHz CPU, 256MB RAM, 3D accelerated DirectX9c compatible video card (NVIDIA GeForce2 or better / ATI 8500 32 MB or better / Intel 915G integrated graphics or better / Matrox Parhelia), Directx 9.0c Compatible Sound Card, 8x CD-ROM drive, 2.6 GB free hard drive space
Recommended: 2.8 GHz CPU, 512MB RAM, 3D accelerated GeForceFX 6800, ATI Radeon 9800 or better DirectX9 compatible video card, Directx 9.0c Compatible Sound Card, 16x CD-ROM drive, 2.6 GB free hard drive space
Not Supported: Windows 95, Windows 98 (non SE), Directx9.0b and previous versions. Juiced requires DirectX 9c, older graphics cards such as ATI 7200/7500 and SiS Xabre 400.

snd: 3/5 - fairly good soundtrack (rock, rap, techno and house), engine noises are generic
gfx: 4/5 - slightly dated, well done damage modeling and weather effects, cars look superficial (they have a sort of odd look that makes them look unrealistic), tracks tend to look too similar
playability: 3/5 - fast-paced racing, Career mode sucks (easy to lose all your money), limited tuning options, rubbish crew AI, not many players online
genre: arcade-style street racer
platform: PC (also available on PS2, Xbox)
release: June 2005
developer: Juiced Games
the game is similar to: NFS Underground, Midnight Club
publisher: THQ
Overall: 65%

last 10 comments:

Anonymous(06:23 PM EDT - Jul,13 2005 )
It's easy to get a lot of money with bets. You only have to bet with all your money on the "easy to decide" sprint races, and let the 1000$ slip away, when you are not sure. :twisted:
The cars not feel good on the track. There is damage but the physics not nearly as good as we seen in Flatout... So if you collected all the cars, the game probably will not last on your hard disk.

xxxx(11:56 AM EDT - Jul,18 2005 )
5 finger discount here. Don't get this hunk of crap, for pc anyway. Holy POS gfx.. hard to believe, but NFS is leaps and bounds better. LOL! This is one of those POS ports to PC.

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