Asphalt: Urban GT Impressions

Gameloft's new N-Gage racing game burned some serious rubber at E3.

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Gameloft wanted to break into the racing genre, so they’ve gone out and created their own franchise from scratch with Asphalt: Urban GT (formerly known as High Gear). The N-Gage build of Asphalt we saw at Gameloft’s E3 presentation revealed a highly polished arcade racer that is chock-full of great car company licenses. It’s coming out for a range of cellular handsets too, so you true-blue cell gamers won’t have to feel left out for long.

Asphalt packs a graphical engine that is one of the best we’ve seen on the N-Gage--even during an E3 show filled with impressive new N-Gage titles. Even in this very early build, the dynamic lighting effects are astounding. In fact, we practically flipped our lids when we saw actual tunnel lights reflected in real time in our car’s shiny paint job. Furthermore, the game runs at a fantastic frame rate that is probably around 25 frames per second. The car physics appear to be very realistic as well, since our Bentley accelerated deliberately and rocked on its springs around fast turns. In addition to Bentley, Gameloft has also scored licenses from Lotus, Ferrari, and many others from the exotic luxury car class.

The actual gameplay doesn’t represent anything that hasn’t been done many times before, since it mostly focuses on passing checkpoints while dodging traffic and cops--although players will be able to tune up, customize, and upgrade their vehicles to their hearts’ contents.

Asphalt will be ready for consumption by the 2004 holiday season.

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