Please note that Drift King is the Japanese title for Tokyo Highway Battle.
If you were waiting for a street racer set in Tokyo look no further. The highways look just like the one's in Japan, complete with very authentic vehicles. What's great about this game is the cool, crisp scenarios surrounding every track. THB delivers exotic sky-lines that duplicate the commerce and culture of Tokyo as you pass commercial truck rigs through a highway charted by drift curves and twisting highways. Incorporated amidst large highways; buildings and billboards fill the screen with essential detail, all lighted in the day-light with varying light sources. You will enter colorful tunnels as you travel up bridges running parallel with others up-close and move downward through an intricate labyrinth spiraling with wide roads and sometimes congested with vehicles. One note, some of the purplish colours exhibited in the first two tracks' middles throughout the side bridges, often meshing and given it a less color palette feel to the various bridges and side walls, it would have been nice to see a few more added extra colours to the tracks, and due to the lack of speed when compared to NFS, or RRR, it would not have hurt.
Everything within the game looks very sleek, and amazingly, there's no slow down. The wide roads' appeals rendered beautifully in 3D, comprising with some bright colours that renders the game with eye-catching graphics. The art in detail is very impressive. Even the lay-out outside the track shares the same effort of strong polygon graphics, and gives the game a natural feel in the surroundings. This reference is due part to the solid state of everything developed in good circulation. They are no grainy textures like Need For Speed, or Pop ups occurring far out into the screen, and seemingly only the street shadows by the curbs, pop up with little or hardly any notice. However, it lacks the Eye-candy approach to RRR track, where the track is pack with high-resolution scenarios for every five second of road travel, including great sky lines.
The vehicles show the art of descent programing, with better than descent art work for a pack-in vehicle. Even the large trucks from afar appear whole, rendering smoothly into the foreground with little effort. The automobiles though detailed and Large looking, fortified their substance with no polygon break ups. The car alone merits special attention to great art work, and attention to detail.
The start up screen will employ four modes,
The controls are tight. The one move you have to learn and practice is the Drift. When you near a tight corner, the game requires you drift by holding on to L2 as you steer the corner through. If pressing the accelerator too early before finishing the corner your vehicle will slightly skid and loose control, so practicing this move will determine the outcome of the game. The vehicles are easy to handle and quite adept to handle the roads. Vehicles of course offer different handling, RPM speeds, horsepower, and torque. You can also determine Manual Transmission, or automatic.
The music is excellent. Before going into battle, in the option screen, you can select the BGM sound track of your liking. The Rhythmical City song track for example has the flavor of techno, with hard hitting drums and human voices manipulated with effects that are fast and rumble with speed. The base lines are deep and the melodies of various forms of music styles generate great sounds that correspond well with the game. Theres' enough music styles to satisfied the genre. Over all, great music...The FX is a mix bag. The engine sounds duplicate their real life counter part, and reach a level that sometimes is drown by the music. When changing gears the high- pitch changes are more noticeable, and recesses the feel of racing. However, the sound of smacking vehicles is very unrealistic. You don't hear that metallic screech scrapping off the side vehicles, instead you hear a disappointing Fx that bears no resemblance of the actual contact. Still, everything else emphasizes the natural atmosphere of street noise. Passing an over-pass and tunnels the noise echoes as you enter, producing that fade into the background.
Here's what separates this game from many racers out there. The racing is not conventional, and uses an element of added speed as you progress through the tracks in Scenario Mode. Thus the game starts leisurely. During racing a time limit is set on hand between points, the faster you travel between points the more points you collect for later to use and upgrade your vehicle. Performance modification takes place between races and you can increase the speed of the vehicle by purchasing items in the speed shop. I counted about 63 items to purchase and install in your vehicle. Right after installation, you can turn on the new features. Some items can be automatically turn off when choosing another, so make your selection count. The faster the vehicle runs, the more difficult the sharp turns become with the drift at work. I notice a good challenge, even in my second track in SCENARIO mode became increasingly difficult, and your opponent always seems to over take your vehicle when your drift fails to succeed and looses speed, or when your vehicle hits the side walls. The impact of the vehicles is not as realistic as Need For Speed, the feel of impact is jerky at best, and the vehicles seemed to repel their impact without that heavy feeling as you push your weight of your vehicle into another. Nor does the physical interaction allows you to ram your vehicle and cause your opponent to slow down considerably. Another note, the vehicles don't overturn.
Apart from the lack of realism, this title is worth checking out. It may not be as fast as Need For Speed, but the challenge is all there. The overall package is a very impressive effort from Jaleco. With a few more extra tracks, analog control, two player options, this game would have rated in the Gold category, as it is, the title deserves a Silver.
Best Feature: Buying engine and vehicle parts to increase performance.