Where has this game been hiding!?
I picked this on a whim after discovering it on Racketboy's list of Hidden Gems for the Playstation. It took their top spot in the Racing category - BOY does it earn that! This stands up to and frequently surpasses ANY other cart racer from that era; and it definitely still entertains a whole lot today. Just 1 look at a screenshot will get any fan of Diddy Kong Racing or Snowboard Kids excited.
Seriously, for a game I've never even heard of, that was PUBLISHED BY SONY(!) and made by Funcom (yes, the Conan, Secret World, and Dreamfall studio), it's SHOCKING how good this is. The graphics are some of the best on the console - it's pumping out bright colors, clean textures, detailed tracks, well-animated racers and lots of special fx at a high, smooth frame rate. The track designs are brilliant with some of the meatiest and well-hidden shortcuts I've ever seen. And there's lots of content. The Demo Mode shows it even has both 2-Player AND 4-PLAYER splitscreen that STILL somehow maintains a high frame rate! Most importantly, the handling model is terrific - responsive, tight and intuitive, with a drift that extends or tightens your turn radius instead of just causing the back of your vehicle to swing out (its closest to something like Mario Kart Double Dash, imo). But Speed Punks' is also pushing a physics model that makes all the carts bounce around the track as they drive over bumps and hills. It feels great.
I can't believe I've never heard of it previously, but it's absolutely worth a play now. The only knock against it I can think of is that it gets hard. There will be instances where multiple drivers will frequently toss out their attacks as soon as you get out ahead, causing all of them to pile up and hit you at the same time while you can't defend yourself, which can certainly be frustrating. Plus, by the time you're halfway through the Medium Cup, discovering the shortcuts for the tracks goes from being optional to necessary if you want to place in the Top 3. But little moments of frustration can't really bring the game down - it's too high quality. This is a freakin' gem; if Crash Team Racing is the Mario Kart 64 of the Playstation, than Speed Punks is the Diddy Kong Racing. This is ANOTHER must-play for any fans of racers on the PS1.
Got it in a generic slim CD Case with no manual, but that's fine by me. The disc itself is in beautiful condition. Absolutely no complaints. Thanks LukieGames!
Reviewed by: Vince from United States on 10/15/2018