When Need for Speed came burning onto the PSP we were shocked not only by the speed but the pure raw power of the PSP in running such a complex racer. Never after watching NFS run did I think I would feel the same way about a racer but I was oh so very wrong. Juiced eliminator is THQ’s masterwork on the PSP pushing out visuals that not only rival its XBOX and PC older brothers but also push the limits and perceptions of what we all thought the PSP was capable off. When it comes to racers Juiced eliminator is a cunning mix of simulation, street styling, arcade style handling and customization all put together in a very well rounded package. It comes with a staggering array of options that at first glance will have the modding nuts foaming at the mouth and the rest of us wondering where to start.
Unfortunately, some of the other innovations in game play – like the respect system- didn’t fare so well. It’s only natural in the heat of a race to hit your rivals or scratch up your paint job while taking a tight corner and to suffer in terms of respect for such actions, almost to the point of making some races pointless. Fortunately you can now instantly retry any race you messed up, which eliminates the need to try and start from scratch again. Even if you don’t, with the newly modified ‘respect-o-meter’ you can keep a close tab on your various rivals. Also newly modified and refined career mode and the calendar makes earning the money for those new shocks you have been after so much easier. On top of that add a huge assortment of new tracks and a garage full of new cars and more pimp options than you can shake a jeweled cane at, and you have something that’s more than just a basic PS2 to PSP port.
One of the biggest problems to boot was the haphazard betting system with its race fees. It’s a risky set up that if you lose, you not only lose respect but also privileges in your garage and even other races. Thankfully this has been completely overhauled and none of these seem to be present in this version of the game. With the retry option only a button press away, losing the bet becomes a lot more fun. Sadly, I do have one big gripe with Juiced Eliminator. Despite fluid looks and an excellent handling dynamics the game feels a little slow in comparison to other racer games. When you add this to slightly glitchy sections on the more complex tracks and you have the gaming equivalent of putting factory spec brakes on a nitro fueled 660BHP custom racer, this is something that cannot be forgiven in such an otherwise polished game and I for one hope it will be eliminated in further incarnations of the series.
Graphics – Bright as neon and as hot as nitro in a pimped out ride 8/10
Sound – Some excellent music tones; the game plays well with some fantastic engine sounds and screeching brakes 8/10
Controls – Adaptive and well suited to the feel of customization 9/10
Gameplay - Although not as fast as Ridge Racer or Burnout it handles more like a simulator than an arcade racer 8/10
Difficulty – Early races will have you thinking your unbeatable, how wrong you will be in later races 9/10
Multiplayer Options – AD-HOC racing is always fun, but racing your freshly pimped ride against a friend is something else 9/10
Replay Value – A true sense of satisfaction can be had from taking a scrapper and turning it into a ‘pimp my ride’ special and running your rivals into the ground. This is a game you will play again and again just for this feeling 9/10
Overall – A little slow at times with occasional glitches; These can be annoying but they fail to detract from what is a truly exceptional racer 9/10