Ocean's foray into the packed world of racing games, Multi-Racing Championship, is similar in many ways to the PlayStation's Ridge Racer. Both titles feature fast-paced techno music, both games feature annoying announcers, both have an arcade look and feel. The only real difference is that Ridge Racer has an excuse - it came out two years ago.
MRC features three courses: Sea Side, Mountain, and Downtown. Each course has multiple paths to choose during the race, and like every other racing game since Ridge Racer, if you do really well, you can race the tracks backwards. MRC also boasts eight different vehicles that can all be customized in seven categories: tires, brakes, suspension, steering, transmission, gear ratio, and aerodynamics. Each modification you make actually does affect how the car handles on the road.
MRC uses both the Rumble Pak and Controller Pak, but doesn't have the ability to "hot-swap" between the two, so if you want shake, you can't save. The Rumble Pak definitely breathes more life into an otherwise full racing game. The Controller Pak stores your best times and car configurations.
Graphically, MRC is average, though it does have its moments of glory. For instance, when your car travels into a tunnel, your headlights turn on to light the way. In free-run mode, if you race long enough, you will see day turn into evening as the sun sets and night falls. Speaking of falls, the waterfalls in the game look amazing.
The sound and music in MRC is surprisingly good for the N64. It has lots of upbeat techno music while you race. The sound effects are realistic enough, but the announcer calling out the action is absolutely terrible. It's a real annoyance, but it, along with lots of the other sounds effects, can be shut off.
When it comes to gameplay, MRC is a tough game to score. Some will like it because it handles fairly realistically. Some won't because you can't take a turn at 100mph without spinning out. Either way you look at it, MRC simply isn't fun. If you slow down enough to make some of the turns, your car feels like it's barely moving. If you try to power through a turn, your car ends up sliding into the guardrail. Even with the best tires, the best suspension, the best of everything, your car still handles pretty poorly.
The bottom line is that MRC doesn't move fast enough to give the illusion of speed, making gameplay dull. And that really is the word that best sums up the whole game - dull. MRC simply doesn't have enough substance to warrant spending over $60. It only has three tracks you can blow through in the first hour of play. Then, you'll run through all the cars and the customizations and come to the sudden realization that you have wasted your money. Save your cash and wait for a real racing game like San Francisco Rush or Top Gear Rally.