Reviewed by Scott McCall
Multi-Racing Championship, or MRC, is the first racing game to
appear on the N64 that can be likened to popular 32-bit racers
such as Ridge Racer, Sega Rally, etc. Despite qualities and
gameplay that actually measure up pretty well in comparison to
the aforementioned games, MRC ends up only being an above
average racing title because of its extremely lacking replay value.
As the name implies, MRC is a conglomerate of basically all
aspects of racing. There are different types of vehicles (4WD,
RR, FR), different weather conditions (fog, rain, snow), different
car settings (brake, steering, gear, etc.), different kinds of
road terrain (gravel, dirt, pavement), and different menus of options.
The graphics in MRC are solid but unimpressive. The game moves
along at a nice, brisk pace, and there is little to no pop-up and
clipping. But the weather effects in the game are nothing to
write home about. Basically, the graphics in MRC are a little on
the disappointing side because it appears as if the game could
easily be done on a 32-bit system.
The aural aspects of the game are even more disappointing.
Although I'm not usually one to get annoyed by voice in video
games, this announcer really got on my nerves. He's annoying
in the worse way one can be in a car: he's a backseat driver.
True, the voice can be turned off, but if it's going to be put into
a game, it might as well be useful, right? In the one-player mode,
the announcer says stuff like "We're coming to a fork soon" or
"Sharp right turn." Furthermore, the music is just weird and
Control in MRC is interesting. At times it can be terrible
and other times it can be sweet. First of all, the control
scheme is very simple. The variable Control Stick is used
to steer the car, the A button is the gas, the B button is
the brake, and the Z and R buttons are used for shifting.
And, oh yeah, you can switch camera angles with the
Left C button.
The problem with the game is that only one of the available
cars controls well enough to use. The nine other cars have
control which is too lose and which makes it near impossible
to take bends. Fortunately, the one car with good control, the
"Kingroader" from "Toyohata," has very tight control and can
be picked by both players in the two-player mode. By the way,
the game makes great use of the Rumble Pak by having
different kinds of rumbles for each type of terrain.
Each of the three courses in MRC has multiple, branching paths
with both on- and off-road terrain to navigate. In the one-player
mode, there are four different options to choose from. There are
the Championship, Time Trial, Free Run and Match Race modes.
In the Championship mode, it's you against nine other computer
cars. Oddly enough, the top computer cars get off to a huge
lead in the beginning (15 seconds or so), but the artificial
intelligence is fairy good -- but easy -- after that. A solid
driver will slowly chip away at the stone and will catch up
by the end of the race. Unfortunately, the computer always
drives like this and there are no options to increase the
MRC's Time Trial mode is similar to others that have been
seen on the N64. The game will save your best times, of course,
and you can even race against a "ghost" of your previous race. The
Free Run mode is essentially practice, as there are no opponents
and no constraints. Finally, there is the Match Race mode, which
only opens up after completing the Championship mode. In the
Match Race, you and a secret computer car battle it out one-on-one.
The races take place at night in this mode, too. But, alas, all it
takes is to tweak around with your machine's settings to breeze
through this mode. In all honesty, the average gamer should be
able to get through both the Championship and Match Race modes
in two or three hours.
There is also a two-player mode in MRC. First of all, the divided
screens do not take up the whole screen, much like Stunt Race FX
on the Super NES. Second, you can only race one-on-one in the
two-player; you cannot race against the computer. The only plus
of the two-player mode is that you can open and close sections
of roads in any of the tracks. But that gets old after 15 minutes.
It's such a shame. MRC had tremendous potential because of its
unique branching, multi-terrain concept, but the game just lacks
any real challenge or replay value. With its measly three tracks,
lackluster two-player mode, average aesthetics and extremely
short replay value, MRC ends up only being slightly better than
Cruis'n USA. If you are a huge fan of time trial racing, you might
get a lot of enjoyment out of the game. But for the rest of us,
this game is strictly a rental and no more.
Graphics: 3.5 out of 5
Sound: 2.9 out of 5
Control: 3.8 out of 5
Gameplay: 3.5 out of 5
Lastability: 1.7 out of 5
Overall: 3.3 out of 5