Game: "Iridium Runners"

Platform: Playstation 2

Studio: Playstos Entertainment

Rating: E-for Everyone

Score: Seven out of 10

The Review:

Game play: Apparently in the future, racing high-speed vehicles is so passe that they've gone back to running on foot.

Playstos Entertainment's take on futuristic racing should be commended for its attempt at being innovative, if not a little on the silly side.

The game centers on the year 2050, where souped-up runners compete in a series of races to see who is the fastest and most ruthless. Contestants race on teams sponsored by several futuristic companies, such as a fast-food chain or a delivery company.

Runners are shadowed by hovering robot drones, which help in the race by dispatching special weapons picked up along the course. Apparently, hovering drones are acceptable, but actually racing in a hovercraft is not.

Each racer is fueled by iridium, represented by glowing crystal objects along the course. Picking up this fuel is crucial to finishing the race. If you pick up extra fuel, you can burn the surplus by mashing the controller button for an extra short-term boost to pull ahead of the others.

In addition to fuel cells, random weapons are placed in pods along the racetrack. Some weapons shoot the straightforward laser at opponents while others shrink runners around you to half the size or stop them in their tracks with walls.

The racetracks are pretty straightforward and look similar to other futuristic racing games, such as "wipEout." One twist in the game is the use of a jump button. Along race courses are areas where runners must time their jumps or plummet to failure. This is at least one feature that does add something different.

The actual control of the racers is pretty sluggish, and often I found myself running right off the track on a tight turn.

The best part of the game is its multiplayer mode, where you can race against up to three other friends in a furious fight to the finish line.

Graphics: The game's images are really nothing new or innovative, but they do the job. There are times when the graphics aren't clear enough to really tell what is going on. The graphics that make up the racers are a bit crude and blocky.

Audio: From sound effects to background music, the game had nothing really catchy. Then again, there was nothing truly annoying, either.

The Wrap-up:

Parent's take: Parents looking for a mildly entertaining budget game for the Playstation 2 might want to check this one out for their kids. Nothing in the game is offensive, and it does make a great racing game kids can all play together.

Final word: While futuristic foot racing may not be very convincing, this game is pretty entertaining for a budget choice.

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