Juiced: Cruising with new shots and details

Acclaim have revealed more details of the car modification system in their street life-style racer Juiced. They tell us there are approximately 7.2 trillion styling combinations. That's one hell of an approximation and we're not counting, but we'll take their word that there's a huge range of bits to fiddle about with.

A whole range of performance classes are provided by the 47 cars included in Juiced. Thing is, everything costs money and you'll be fairly short of the green stuff when you kick off. A second-hand car would seem the reasonable option. You'll have three options: Scrapyard (old smokers), auto-dealer (decent rides) and the showroom, where all cars are brand spanking new.

Now the fun starts as Juiced is all about the mods that will give you the edge when it comes to racing - the two go very much hand-in-hand. There are two main areas where you'll be modifying your cars - performance and style. Performance is related to all the technical, mechanical, bits of the car that can be tampered with, including brakes, air intakes, exhaust, engine, gearbox, ratios, suspension, nitrous and turbo. A handy feature here is the rolling road where you can check your adjustments immediately. Comparing results will show you what effect your fiddling has had and when you're happy with the stats take a test run to see how the car really performs.

The game is balanced to avoid ridiculous shortcuts to success - such as simply adding nitrous. Sure you can ramp the speed up with nitrous and win races but without the appropriate upgrades your car will ultimately suffer and huge repair bills will follow. Not good.

A sophisticated physics engine and the dynamic surface conditions require cars to be balanced in all respects, while the plethora of mod parts make personalisation of individual cars easy. And the styling part of customisation isn't just about looking pretty. For example, when you start adding spoilers and side-skirts, this has an immediate effect on overall performance due to the drag and down force changes.

So your car looks like the best thing since spray paint, goes like stink and all is fine in the world as you burn up the best of the rest. A nasty sting in the tail is that cars can be damaged... big time. Total your motor and a huge repair bill awaits you if it's to return to anything like its former glory.

Acclaim certainly have an interesting racer on their hands with Juiced and it's not a question of life-style over substance either. We're looking forward to tinkering about with this one.

Juiced should be cruising along on your Xbox, PC or PS2 this autumn