The first real video-game adaptation of The Fast and the Furious is tearing toward PS2s and PSPs in August, following the theatrical release of TFATF: Tokyo Drift by a distant two months. Even so, we recently got a chance to rev up a nearly complete version of the game, and we like what we've seen so far.
First off, The Fast and the Furious - which really has nothing to do with the movie other than that it's set in Tokyo - isn't a "street racer" in the traditional sense. Rather than ripping up roads in residential areas and business districts, you're confined to Tokyo's sprawling freeways and mountain backroads.
Traffic is light, you never race during the day and even the "hub" from which you access dealerships, garages and events is a giant, looping freeway with marked exits.
We didn't really notice the lack of varied scenery, though; we were too busy kicking ass at the races. Unlike a lot of other gearhead-oriented racing sims we could name, Furious doesn't punish new players with crappy cars, difficult controls and frequent losses.
The cash we won in our first race - in a borrowed, tricked-out car - bought us a sporty Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX, with enough left over to trick it out with a nitrous boost, a turbocharger and even a Dig-Dug "drift charm" to hang off the rear bumper.