Mercury Race Review
Racing games are white knuckle affairs as it is, but Herrero Games kicks things up a notch by adding enemies, obstacles, and unlimited ammo to the mix in his new title Mercury Race. The concept of car combat has been captured well by titles like F-Zero and Road Rash – can this racer keep up?
Mercury Race Review
Rather than pit racers against a number of different opponents, the tracks players will come across in the main arcade mode are traversed solo. An offline two player mode is available, but there are no bots to speak of in the main mode. Essentially a glorified time trial mode, players will make a number of laps in one of five futuristic neon cityscapes, listening to heavy synth and getting the best time along the way. The overall speed of the ship uses a meter, and the top speed can be added to by collecting crystals on the ground. It’s a premise not unlike the coins found in Mario Kart. There is also a set amount of turbo boosts that can be utilized, along with turbo pads on each landscape.
However, there are a number of obstacles along the way. Enemies dot the track, and it’s up to players to take them down as they cruise by. All firing is automatic, and an endless amount of lasers will spew out of your vehicle once the reticule is placed on the target. Mapped to the right analog stick, these actions prove to be somewhat awkward when speeding by. Each track has a number of twists, turns, jumps, bumpers, and barriers, and the brief amount of time players are given to knock out the enemy is simply not conductive to the control scheme. This targeting is also required to disable certain gates, which is also fairly cumbersome.
This normally wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that your ship has a health meter. Take enough damage and your ride is out of the race. There are powerups that alleviate this burden, and most races are on the short side, but short of slowing down or meticulously memorizing each track, players will be taking a load of damage. There are no difficulty settings, so what you see is what you get.
Players will be able to earn themselves different medals based on their performance, and additional tracks can be unlocked by performing well in the later stages. Additional vehicles can also be unlocked the same way, and though there are some differentiators in regards to acceleration, speed, handling, shooting, and strength, we did not notice much difference between each one. The same can be said of the tracks – with names like “Road 1-1,” “Road 1-2,” and so on, everything starts to run together after a while. Different tracks have unique layouts, but there are no defining characteristics to prevent “Road 1-3” from looking signficantly different from “Road 3-5.”
Outside of the main Arcade Mode, players can compete in a cup called “King of the Galaxy.” Essentially a gauntlet of different tracks, players can also compete for the best time here. It doesn’t offer anything wildly different from the other mode, but it is welcome nonetheless.
Mercury Race’s combo of combat and racing feels like walking and chewing gum at the same time. These two concepts simply do not gel, leading to a disjointed experience when all is said and done.