Street Racing Syndicate review #blogpost
Street Racing Syndicate is a racing game released in 2004 on the PS2, PC, Xbox, GameCube and GBA by Namco and developed by Eutechnyx, who are famous for the PlayStation-exclusive Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift and the monstrosity that is Ride to Hell: Retribution. I remember as a kid I really wanted this game and couple years later as a 17-year old I picked it up and played it. Was it on the same level as NFS Underground or Juiced, or was it a piece of crap? Let’s take a look.
The story is really simple. In the beginning you’re in a garage with some unnamed guy, who tells you that some racer Eddie can’t race tonight due to him being arrested. So the unnamed guy asks you if you could drive Eddie’s Skyline instead (Eddie’s Skyline sounds very familiar, don’t you think?) After the race you get to buy your first car, win some races and get yourself a girl. From that moment onward, you must win all the races, beat all the racers, get as much respect as you can, and get all the girls waiting for you on the streets. Oh yeah, and at the end, you get the Skyline you drove at the beginning from the same unnamed guy.
Let‘s move on to the good stuff now. First, the cars. You have exactly 50 cars to choose from, from Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, Lexus, Mazda, Subaru and Volkswagen. I have 2 problems with this. Firstly, there are way too many versions of the same car. For example, you’d think one Skyline R34 is enough, right? Wrong, because apparently, the game thinks it’s a blooming Gran Turismo, and has 5 versions of the R34. Instead they could bring the 300ZX, or the Silvia S15, but noo. Secondly, where is Ford, Chevy, Dodge or Honda? The game would be much more fun with cars from other countries. Speaking of Honda, did you know it WAS supposed to be there? According to some old articles and screenshots, you could drive the S2000, Civic Type-R or RSX. Why was Honda cut? Anyways, the models look good and you can even pop the hood and you can damage the cars, leading to actual performance impact and expensive repairs. But, only the all wheel drive cars control the best, don’t even think about racing in a Mazda RX-7 or a Toyota MR2, you’ll spin out everywhere. And the sense of speed is just not there. 200 km/h feels like 50 km/h.
It isn’t a 2000’s racing game without some customization. You can equip your car with real life performance parts, for example from NOS, Greddy or Yokohama. Like NFSU2, you can put your car on a dyno but you can’t tune the parts individually (for example NOS for more duration or more power) and you can’t enable or disable driver aids. As for the visual customization, you can put on your car a ONE real life bodykit from VeilSide or C-West (depends on the car), choose from multiple real spoilers and rims. For some bizzare reason, when you install a bodykit or a spoiler on some cars, they become less aerodynamic, meaning their top speed and BHP will decrease. That’s the EXACT opposite of what a profesionally made bodykit should do. You can also change the car’s colour, put on some preset vinyls, that’s right, no vinyl editor, and some decals. These graphic modifications are free, any other modification is not.
SRS is mainly set in Los Angeles, but sometimes the races willl take place in Philadelphia (at night) or Miami (at day). LA has both, in the city areas it’s always night and on canyon-like area it’s always day. Graphically it’s okay, it feels alive (sadly just feels) and it has people (oh sorry, mannequins) sitting or standing in certain unaccessible areas, only the girls will move. As for the races, you have crew meets, sanctioned events and respect challenges. Crew meets and sanctioned events consist of three stages, which consist of three races you need to win to unlock the next stages or meets, the third stage will unlock more cars for you to buy and upgrade. In crew meets, which take place on the streets, you need to gain respect by drifting, drafting, using shortcuts, overtaking opponents and not crashing in or leading a lap. In each race you can get 250 points for these special moves and 750 points for winning the race, but it’s hard in races which are just a straight line. In sanctioned events, which are in closed areas, you earn all the respect points by just winning. If you crash into an opponent or lose your position, your respect will decrease. And if you don‘t have enough respect, you can’t progress through the game. And what about the respect challenges? When you approach the mentioned girls, they’ll give you tasks like gaining respect in set time, passing through checkpoints or following a car to its destination. The girl will be added to your warehouse afterwards. If you pick one and win some races with her, you’ll unlock a series of videos where the particular girl is dancing in front of a greenscreen. It’s cringey, not sexy at all and these girls aren’t good looking either. And don‘t get me started on cops. They’re pathetic, really easy to lost in back alleys, but not when your car is moving and cops are on your tail. Normally, you won‘t be either escaping or being busted, but here, on moments like these, it’s ALWAYS close to „busted“ and you‘ll get caught. Not to mention your car will be damaged and the repairs are not cheap.
Lastly, the soundtrack. It’s horrible. Aside from Illegal Substance, Tom Salta and Stratus, the remaining music is crappy generic hip hop. I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but the hip hop in this game is not good at all. The cars just sound „meh“, definitely don’t expect sounds of a Boxer, RB26DETT or 2JZ engines.
This game is just…meh. Below average. No true sense of speed, horrible soundtrack, meh car list and non attractive girls. On the other hand, it’s cool to put real life parts on cars and free roam around LA.
My rating for Street Racing Syndicate is 4/10.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end! What game should I review next? What should I improve? What do you think of this game? Let me know :)