February 26 2006 Konami produces Genki's Shutokou Battle in the states renamed Street Supremacy. Reviews from big gaming sites come in and they’re bad. How did this happen?
Lets find out.
We'll start by rolling back the calendar to Thursday April 21st 2005. Oh how I remember it! I was going on one month in Japan and my birthday was two days before. I had money and Thursday was rolling around which means Release day. After classes I hit up the nearest game shop to pick up a copy of this game since I was a huge fan of the Genki racing series.
The Shutokou battle series had been going since Shutokou Battle for PSX. I got into this series when it came out for Dreamcast and I've been hooked ever since. Since then there's been a part two on Dreamcast then Shutokou Battle Zero and Zero One for PS2 and also Shutokou Battle Online and you could even download it onto your cell phone in Japan. So when I heard it was coming out for PPSSPP games I had to get it. I also found out that the game had been in the states under the name Tokyo Extreme Racer.
In the Shutokou Battle Series you’re a Hashiriya or street racer cruising the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway (called Shutokou in Japan) I remember playing the games for Dreamcast and PS2 and the Tokyo expressway looks just like it did in the game. Hashiriya or street racers usually race on weekends between midnight and 4am because they’re less traffic. Its pretty cool hearing them speeds by every Friday and Saturday night. So as stated before you’re a street racer driving the streets of Tokyo at night trying to defeat racers in different teams around the metropolitan area. Defeating the regular members of the teams leads you to race the team leader. Beating lots of team leaders gets you challenged by Wanderers - other lone racers like yourself. Beat them and you’re being challenged by the Thirteen Devils thirteen drivers with monster machines. Then you challenge even tougher drivers including EMPEROR one of the fastest meanest Nissan Skyline R34s on the road.
In this installation of the series a new approach is taken. You’re still a lone driver BUT unlike the other games you have to choose a team to join. Within the team you must challenge your teammates until you’re at the top and when you’re leading the gang you can set out to conquest the highways of the Tokyo bay area. This consists of driving through different areas of metro Tokyo racing against members of opposing teams if you defeat a driver enough times you can scout him or her and they will join your team. Decreasing the power of their teams hold on a particular area of town. once they’re under 50% you can do a team battle and put your best members including yourself against their best and the winner claims that part of town for themselves. This works both ways so while you’re challenging a club for control of Ginza (where my girlfriend used to work and location of Sony Building -awesome-) another Team could be battling you for control of Haneda (location of Haneda airport and one of the larger hangout areas in the car scene) This is how the game goes until your club owns all of Tokyo.
This game stays close to a key map used in most racing games x being used for gas square for break shoulder buttons for shifting triangle for changing view and circle for Nitrous (nitrous is a new feature to the series) and of course the Digital or analog pad for steering. Most cars have factory handling characteristics when you first buy them meaning you can’t go into a sharp angled corner going 80 or more miles an hour and expect not to hit the wall. Proper suspension and Tires will be needed to make controlling your car easier. Then of course that means nothing if you aren’t faster than your opponent. You upgrade your Engine Transmission and Exhaust so you can get fast and get fast faster than your opponent which again means nothing if you can’t stop which means you gotta buy brakes as well. There are many Engine, Suspension, Body, aerodynamic, Tires and wheels, dress up, and sticker options you can buy for your car. For fine tuning you can change the ride height, brake balance, down force of your car which will make it easier to drive at faster speeds which is important because like in real life you can’t smash into other cars and walls and expect to win. Sometimes hitting a wall or car can be the difference between winning and losing. The only thing that can slow down Gameplay is loading. The load times aren’t long and they’re not misplaced but they do tend to slow down the game sometimes, but all in all its still fun. https://www.karynamcglynn.com
I've heard people complaining about this game being dark. Well this is to be expected because it’s racing in Tokyo at night! The picture above the story section is a pic I took of the Tokyo highway from a highway bus the first time I arrived in Tokyo. Below it is a screenshot of Shutokou battle for PSP I don’t feel that the game is too dark. Its just about right. The game map is almost an exact likeness of the Tokyo Expressway map including major landmarks like rainbow bridge near Odaiba and Tokyo Tower Now on to the graphics
Now lets keep in mind that this game was released in 2005 originally and in the transition to English lost some of its quality by of the use of poorly chosen fonts and ad-hoc mode (we'll get to that later) Now The graphics are very good for an early PSP game and even now still stand strong enough to keep the game interesting. There is occasional pop up but then its PSP not PS3 so we should know better than to be such graphic whores to where we would complain about such trivial matters. The Textures in the game look great and lighting effects look good too. All of the cars are true to life and unlike the earliest of Shutokou battle games are licensed so you will drive a Toyota Supra and not a JZa80. All of the body kits look great and effects like sparks when you scrape walls and the flame from your misfire is there as well. Considering that when the game was released and what it had it was Exceptional to say the least.
The first thing I noticed about the game is the sound. Whenever you play a racing game you should listen to the cars. In Shutokou battle all of the cars have their own unique sound depending on what engine they have. High tuned cars engines sound way different that factory cars. Cars like the Rx7 FC and FD3s with rotary engines have that awesome buzz that is typical of rotary engines. V6s sound completely different than straight 4s or flat 6s. The music is typical of the series. There could always be more music. I wish they had as much music as they stuffed into Zero One for PS2.
When I bought this game in 2005 there weren’t many games with Adhoc versus. This is one game that should have had this mode. But for some reason (which apparently was a good reason as we will later see) they didn’t include it in the Japanese release. This didn’t keep me from playing this game and Actually Its fun even without ad-hoc I will let you draw your own opinion as to how the Ad-hoc mode in this game is
There’s something about this game that even after almost a year of having that keeps me coming back to this game. Perhaps its the highways of Tokyo which are true to the Tokyo expressway that makes me homesick or maybe its the Many outcomes of the game as far as playing on different teams and with different cars with different parts and settings. There are tons of rivals in this one as well. And as the mileages on your car increases, and as you defeat certain rivals, you unlock more cars and parts and upgrades which keeps the game going. And to top it all off you can play through the game again using the cars you had to beat it the first time. There is also a Time attack mode where you can unlock more cars.
People who bought the game on or shortly after the release date received a PSP screen cleaner leash in the shape of a wheel with an extendable cord that rotates the brake rotor I wouldn’t use it to clean my screen but I used it to clean my phone.
This Game made it to Sony's PSP the best series. That’s saying something. Even if a game has last years graphics doesn’t actually mean its not worth picking up. This game was a first for PSP as far as Strategy and Simulation street racing. Even without Adhoc its still a strong game for its time. https://www.ppsspp.org