Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition

Gamestyle Archive intro: This is the oldest review we currently have within the archive dating from February 2001. This review at the top has all the details regarding the title being reviewed and these would be included within the page hosting the review when Dean or Jason uploaded it online. The Dreamcast was blighted by some poor titles and this is an example.

Writer: JJ

Format: Dreamcast

Published: February 2001

VERSION: PAL DC

DEVELOPER: Climax Entertainment

PUBLISHER:  Interplay

GENRE: Arcade Driving

ACCESSORIES: VGA, Vibration, and VMU.

PLAYERS: 1

RELEASE: Out Now

LINK: www.interplay.com/superrunabout

Super Runabout PAL DC-front

I think the discussion at Climax went something like this:

“That Crazy Taxi is a great game”

“Yes we could use San Francisco as a 3D level”

“Great idea! But with a mission based structure!”

“Let’s throw in lots of crazy vehicles and missions!”

“Brilliant! Smashes galore – it’ll sell loads!”

Not the most original concept for a game but a computing class at my local high school could have made a better attempt.   Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition is flawed and major disappointment from start to finish.

Starting the game you are offered to two scenarios that you can change between in the game menu.   Both are based in San Francisco and while the sixteen missions and characters are different the game play is exactly the same.   Scenario A involves an almost hillbilly car crazy family firm, who offer a range of services in the city i.e. bomb collection/disposal and deliveries no one else would attempt.   Scenario B is where you take the role of a San Francisco cop and the token attempt of a terrorist plot but basically you have to protect the public from things such as runaway trams.   I would have expected this scenario to include penalties for dangerous driving and damaged caused, however it seems the law can do whatever they want.

The city itself is fairly large and is split into areas depending on the mission that you select.   The variation is very good with the obvious hills, wide freeways, pedestrian areas and shops that add a whole new meaning to drive thru.   Graphically the resolutions and textures are nowhere near the standard set by Crazy Taxi and that title was released almost a year ago.   If I were to pick a comparison then it’s very similar to Driver II on the PSone with almost the same level of pop-up, cutting edge I think not.   The cars, citizens and city in this game don’t portray the sunshine feeling of California as in Sega’s classic.   The poor soundtrack and lack of city noise are also to blame; no effort has been made in this department.   At least the frame rate is constant.

While you have a range of wacky vehicles to decide from (moped, sports car to Formula 1 Racing Car) with more to unlock it doesn’t matter which one you select, as the handling is the same.   Once you have chosen your ride you may change the characteristics but this is merely superficial and has no effect on the handling.   In Crazy Taxi the handling was sublime and added to the experience, in Super Runabout the arcade handling has been taken too far.   It does not matter what you are driving, put the car into the corner and it turns like a greased monkey on ice.   If you want to take a corner like a Boeing 747 then use the brakes and slow down – its boring but otherwise it won’t take too many corners to waste your vehicle.

Part of the appeal of these games is the destruction and mayhem that ensues – then watching it over and over again in the replay mode.   This is great for the first five crashes or so but then you realise how bad the collision detection is – worst than V-Rally.   No matter if you are involved in a head on smash or clip another vehicle, the resulting crash and damage is the same.   If you hate being flipped over and looking at the world upside down, then be prepared.   The worst part is you may expect this to happen in large collisions but not going over a pot or something else on the road in Chinatown.   It then takes a long time to correct your car and get on with the mission – having wasted a large chunk of time on your back.   Getting stuck between a wall and an invisible obstacle will not enhance your enjoyment of the game either.

Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition is an unoriginal idea let down by the awful presentation, handling and graphics.   Do yourself a favour and buy Crazy Taxi or wait for the sequel.

Presentation: 4

Graphics: 3

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 3

Lastibility: 3

Poor all round – Overall 3/10

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