Tokyo Xtreme Racer Advance is the Game Boy Advance iteration of Crave's popular street racing video game series. All the staple features from the console games are present, including freeway-style courses, commuter traffic, and car and kit upgrades. Obviously, the graphics and audio were toned down due to the limitations of the GBA hardware. There are also fewer courses and cars compared to the console versions. These cutbacks notwithstanding, Tokyo Xtreme Racer Advance looks pretty good on the GBA and offers a satisfactory selection of courses, cars, and upgrades.
Although the main menu lets players choose between quest, quick race, free run, and time trial play modes, the true heart of the game lies smack dab in the quest mode. Here, you'll drive along six different freeways in three major cities (Tokyo, Los Angeles, and London) and work your way toward challenging and defeating 128 rival drivers. Each time you beat a rival, you'll earn money that can be put toward the purchase of new vehicles and upgrades. Furthermore, since the number of rivals that can be on the highway at any given time is limited, every rival you beat will make way for a more skillful opponent, which ultimately leads to greater winnings.
Playing the game isn't rocket science, but there is at least some skill involved. When you drive up behind a rival car, his headlights will flash, indicating that a challenge has been made. To accept the challenge, all you have to do is tap the R button to sound the car's horn. A two-sided meter will appear at the top of the screen indicating how far each driver is to the finish line. Your goal is to make it there first. Each course is a circuit set on a major highway, so you have to be mindful of commuter traffic while you're driving along. Bumping into other cars and walls will slow you down, as will turning sharply through tight turns. The first pair of courses don't have many tight turns, so they feel like lane-change competitions, but later courses have a good mix of turns, dips, and chicanes.
Since the game doesn't include a link mode, players have to be content with its single-player offerings. Just racking up wins in the quest mode can prove addictive, especially since you have to constantly purchase new cars and new upgrades to keep up with the Joneses. Most upgrades are performance related, but there are a few different body kits and paint jobs to choose from if you want to personalize the vehicle of your dreams.
Visually, Tokyo Xtreme Racer Advance looks about as good as any racing game that employs a 3D engine is ever going to look on the GBA. The car models are large and fairly detailed. The tires move, the brake lights flicker, and you'll notice that exhaust and rubber kick out when you brake suddenly or take turns too tightly. The buildings, retaining walls, and trees outlining each highway also look decently. Unfortunately, the forward draw distance isn't very good, so you'll have to tolerate the course constantly being drawn in as you accelerate. Another drawback of the graphics engine is that the game doesn't bother to keep track of any commuter traffic outside your field of vision. So, if a CPU rival disappears up ahead, the odds are good that he's going to win, because he won't have any commuter traffic to contend with.
The audio is barely worth mentioning, but it still must be discussed, thanks to the atrocious background music the developer chose to put into the game. If you ever wondered what it would sound like to pipe techno music through an 8-bit NES, then Tokyo Xtreme Racer Advance will answer that question for you. Thank the Lord almighty, or whatever higher power it is you sometimes thank in these situations, there's an option to disable the music in the options menu. Otherwise, the sound effects for things like engine noise and tires squealing on pavement are just fine.
Tokyo Xtreme Racer Advance is an accurate rendition of the console Tokyo Xtreme Racer games. It may not look as pretty or offer as much in the way of features, but it holds its own against other racing games available for the GBA.