Asphalt: Urban GT Hands-On

We nitro-blast our way through a preview version of Gameloft's zippy racer.

Asphalt: Urban GT is currently the closest approximation of Burnout 3 available for the N-Gage. While Nintendo's snatched up the game for its next-generation portable console, the DS, Gameloft isn't going to ditch mobile anytime soon. A port of Asphalt is due out in early 2005, for LG's shiny new VX 8000 handset, and while a few minor graphical elements have been sacrificed, along with Bluetooth competitive play, the game remains very impressive, both from a visual and a gameplay standpoint.

Asphalt: Urban GT is all about speed, a fact that many would agree should be (but isn't always) the case for any arcade racer. The mobile version features more than 20 vehicles, primed and ready to nitro-blast around five real-world locations, including Paris' Champs Élysées.

If you've played the N-Gage version of Asphalt, you'll be right at home with this more-than-competent port. The wizards at Gameloft have done it again, managing to strong-arm the 8000's ARM 9 into rendering high-poly, richly textured models at speeds in excess of 20 frames per second. The Gameloft team assures us that the N-Gage version features superior lighting and texture work, but, to be honest, the differences seem minimal. The removal of Bluetooth multiplayer support is the only thing that truly separates the mobile version from its N-Gage counterpart.

Although the high price of the LG VX 8000 will make it inaccessible to most users, the mobile Asphalt: Urban GT is a marvelous technological achievement that's already shaping up to be one of the best racers on the platform. Fans of the genre should be counting the days until Asphalt's Get It Now launch.

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