First impressions: New York Race

Race through a futuristic NYC in Kalisto's upcoming Fifth Element-inspired racing game.

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New York Race, developed by Kalisto, takes the setting and design of the taxi driving scenes from Luc Besson's film The Fifth Element and puts them into a very Wipeout XL type of setting. The result is a fast-paced futuristic racer complete with sharp graphics and nicely complex gameplay mechanics.

For those unfamiliar with the movie, New York Race puts you in a flying car. More than 25 cars will be featured in the final game, including a taxi cab, a police car, a pizza delivery truck, and several other sleek, futuristic-looking rides. Aside from flying, the cars can also strafe in any direction. Strafing up and down is great for dealing with slight rises and dips in the terrain, and strafing sideways while turning makes for tighter, almost powerslide-like turns. Additionally, you gain speed while diving and keep that boosted speed until you hit an object or make extremely sharp turns. So the key to doing well is to know when to dive for speed and how to maneuver though the game's obstacle-filled cityscapes, sewers, and other environments. The game also contains a set of weapon pickups, which range from simple turbos and lock-on fireballs to droppable water bubbles that surround and slow down anyone who comes into contact with them. The PlayStation 2 version of the game will contain a two-player split-screen mode, while the PC release will support up to eight players via online play.

The futuristic take on New York City seen in the game's tracks was designed by the same person who designed the city for The Fifth Element. The resulting levels are filled with gigantic skyscrapers, narrow passageways and shortcuts, and a look that is very high-tech throughout. The graphics are also effects-heavy, with plenty of reflections off the car and lots of light sourcing.

New York Race is scheduled to release in Europe on November 16. A Kalisto spokesman informed GameSpot that a US release for the game was planned, and that the game would likely hit North American stores in early 2002.

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