Bizarre comes into its own!
In Part I of my tribute to Bizarre Creations I discussed my experiences with BC’s early racing games. I also mentioned that I was not the biggest fan of the racing genre. All that changed when I got involved with Project Gotham Racing 2. Not only did it launch my passion for racing games, but it also for me ushered Xbox LIVE as a mainstay of my social life! Other games came before, and many after, but few have approached PGR 2 for the gaming community it built.
Project Gotham Racing 2: PGR 2 started as a slow burn, but it was not long before this game became, and to this day, one of my most played video games of all time! In the early days of Xbox LIVE there wasn’t the variety of games to take away your attention, so often my friends and I would congregate in PGR 2 and race against each other night after night. If we were not racing, we were teaming up to play ‘Cat-n-Mouse’ against each other! The friendships I forged during these PGR 2 sessions are the strongest and longest lasting of my gaming experience!
So many cities, so many cars, and an excellent online experience made PGR 2 a game you could never tire of. PGR 2 is also famous for producing one of the greatest mini-games within a game of all-time, Geometry Wars.
Geometry Wars: This little shooter planted neatly in an arcade machine within your garage in PGR 2 became literally the game within the game. Not only was Geometry Wars a full-on original arcade game within PGR 2, it also had an online leader board in which gamers from all over the world competed for top top score. Geometry Wars humble beginnings would eventually give rise to the twin-stick shooter craze a few years later when its successor would arrive in all its HD glory!
Geometry Wars – Retro Evolved: The smallest and most inexpensive launch title for the Xbox 360 in the Fall of 2005 may have been the most influential of them all. Geometry Wars Retro Evolved took the concept of the original Geo Wars and brought it into the next-gen, high definition world of games. Never before did simple cross-hatch and shape graphics look so incredible. Couple that with effects, explosions, lights, and colours and Retro Evolved took you on a trip like you had never seen before. Since GWRE, twin-stick shooters have become there own genre, and people still use this game as the gold standard for racking up high-scores as well as a means to have bragging rights against your friends!
Project Gotham Racing 3: Along with Retro Evolved, Project Gotham 3 also launched along side The Xbox 360 and had the distinction of being the first next-gen racer! Tearing up the city streets of the world never looked so good! PGR 3 introduced to Project Gotham TV where you could watch other gamers live races. You could also modify the existing tracks into your own, allowing for greater variety. I would find myself from time to time watching races on Gotham TV when I just didn’t have the energy to game anymore. While PGR 3 did not have the staying power of PGR 2, it was a staple game in the early days of the Xbox 360 and a great next step for the Gotham series!
Boom Boom Rocket: Bizarre showed that they were no one-trick pony by producing an unique rhythm gaming centered around classical music and fireworks. I had a lot of fun with BBR, kept my fingers moving and my eyes dancing.
A lot of great games here, but writing once again about PGR 2 really takes me back to a different time. Some night we would have a full on room of eight racers, and some night it may have been myself and another friend just chilling, chatting, and racing. I syill own my copy of PGR 2. I may need to pull it out this weekend and revisit my favourite cities such as Yokohama, Washington D.C., Moscow, and so on.
In the next and final chapter I discuss the most recent BC games I have owned and played and how the developer may have saved their best racing for last.