Shox Review PS2
Shox Review PS2
Shox is an arcade game that succeeds for better or worse in all areas. It's a simple game, there is no tuning, no upgrades, just nice simple rally cross racing. The game consists of racing in four different classes of vehicle, compact, sports, turbo and power, with each consisting of six different cars. Compacts are low powered and easy to handle, sports cars are rally classics, turbo cars are more modern day rally cars and power cars are the old "Group B" rally cars that where banned for being too fast and dangerous.

You start the game by choosing one of the compact class cars, you work your way through the compact class, if you're placed fourth or higher you're awarded extra tracks to race on. As you progress you will win money which can be used to purchase extra cars.

Early on in the game you will find the courses easy and you shouldn't have to take your finger off the throttle at all. Instead of racing in the same way as CMR3 or WRC you will race on a track with five other cars of similar power. Should you get out in front the cars will be right behind you all the way, so this makes for very close racing and if you mess up the last corner of the race you could easily come last. This may sound like the AI is cheating but due to the nature of the game it works very well to keep races interesting. The AI of the computer cars is good, so they will battle and fight for their position on the track, plus they sometimes crash while battling with another AI car.

The cars handle as you would expect a rally sim to handle but there is a bit less skill involved in Shox, it will make your driving look great even if you're driving like a blind granny. The tracks are fairly varied featuring dry dirt tracks as well as jungle and ice type tracks. Cars will handle a little differently on each surface but generally it just alters how far the car will slide. Each of the three track types have different surfaces within, for example the ice tracks will also feature snow and tarmac. This makes each track nicely varied.

The one original part of Shox is the Shox Zone feature, which could be called gimmicky. Each race has three Shox Zones and your objective is to drive as fast as possible in these Shox Zones you will be awarded either Bronze, Silver or Gold. Should you get three gold Shox Zones in one race you will be rewarded with a Shockwave, which is a distorted line that is placed in front of you; if you catch up with it you will be able to ride the Shockwave and in turn earn extra cash. Plus you get treated to some nice visuals. If you manage to keep up with the Shockwave for the whole race you will be rewarded with many pots of cash.

Once you have got some cash together you can either buy a car outright or you can gamble for it. Gambling involves a short one race against the computer. You both drive the same car, the one you're gambling for, and you have to beat your opponent to win both the race and the car. If you loose your gamble, half of the amount of cash you have gambled on your car will be lost. The only thing is, the gambling is a bit hit and miss and it could have been implemented a bit better than it has been. Once you get your hands on a sports car you can enter the turbo series and the rest of the game progresses in this way.

Shox Review PS2 @
Shox Review PS2 @
Shox Review PS2 @
Shox Review PS2 @
Shox Review PS2 @
If you manage to get three gold Shox Zones in a single race, this will lower the gambling costs against the car you want. If you get three gold's, with the tracks nominated car you will receive a platinum award, this will earn you bonus cars and encourage the player to race with all the cars in the game. The cars do seem genuinely suited to particular tracks, so this is your main incentive.

Later in the game as the cars get faster, the driving get harder, there is much more braking to be done in the compact cars and the Gold Shox Zone awards are much harder to come by. As the game progresses the difficulty is ramped up fairly quickly.

The multi player game offers up to four-player racing and for the PS2 this is quite a rare thing. Plus if you only have two controller but you want to check out the four player action there is an option that allows two players to share one controller; although there is no substitute for a multi tap and four pads. In addition to this there is a mode called mayhem, which is basically a game of tag, it's not that enjoyable though.

Shox is visually pleasing although nothing about the game will blow you away. It has all the regulars, cars get splattered with mud and parts like bumpers fall off in collisions. This damage does not affect the performance it's simply there for the visuals. The cars themselves are good and the game keeps up a good frame rate with no apparent slow down, even in the four-player mode! There are a couple of points worth noting when Shox is viewed in wide-screen mode there is a loss of detail on both the cars and the track surfaces. Secondly when the vertical split screen is in operation on the wide-screen the camera is far too close to the back of the car which gives you a very narrow viewing angle.

Sounds featured in Shox are also good but not remarkable, there is an in game commentator who sounds like he has eaten too much speed and some nice engine sounds for each of the cars. When cars crash to the ground after large jumps, there is also a good solid crunching sound.

Despite some minor problems Shox is a great game for people who want a quick fix of arcade racing. It's easy to pick up and play, the presentation is good and most of all its great fun. EA has set out to create a fun arcade racing game that can be enjoyed by everyone, they has accomplished their mission with flying colours.

7.0 out of 10

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