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Cars review

Burn rubber through Radiator Springs in this passable follow-up to the movie

Pros

  • Landscape is fun to explore
  • Top-notch presentation
  • Surprisingly good minigames

Cons

  • Crummy multiplayer
  • Movie soundtrack gets repetitive
  • Mater races even worse than he looks

Imagine a game like Need for Speed Underground 2, in which you can drive around in a freely explorable city, racing other drivers or just messing around as you see fit. Now, imagine it with talking cars, a tiny desert town and nearly every hint of crime or violence removed, and you'll have a good idea of what to expect from Cars.

While it ties in with the Pixar movie, Cars actually picks up where the film left off, with cherry-red racetrack star Lightning McQueen settling into the town of Radiator Springs. With the help of the quirky residents, he'll need to get in shape for the next pro racing season, which means lots of short street races, off-road runs and other challenges, all punctuated by assorted minigames and NASCAR-style circuit races for the coveted Piston Cup.

In the meantime, Lightning is free to tear through Radiator Springs, the surrounding desert and - later on - the nearby mountains and the neighboring fields of Ornament Valley. Lightning's fast and handles smoothly, and his abilities to tilt onto two wheels or hop on command make exploring the big, rocky landscape a breeze. He'll also gain a turbo boost later on, which makes the races almost too easy.

Those abilities transfer to Lightning's friends too. At certain points in the game, you'll be able to play as more than 10 other characters from the movie, including Mater the tow truck, the deceptively fast Sheriff and even a crew of neon-decked street-racer hooligans.

More Info

GenreRacing
DescriptionA harmless, enjoyable racer that lets players explore the town of Radiator Springs, play minigames and race against characters from the movie.
PlatformPC, DS, Wii, Xbox 360, GameCube, Xbox, PS2, PSP
US censor ratingEveryone
Release date6 June 2006 (US), 14 July 2006 (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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