Monday, 28 March 2016

Snes review 103: Unirally/Uniracers

Well I was going to review a Disney based game but then decided to pick the title I have ended up reviewing instead, there is a trivia based connection and I will get to it. So the game I am going to talk about is Uniracers perhaps better known to some of you under the title it was released in Pal regions under the name Unirally.

It was created by DMA Design and Nintendo of America for the SNES and was released in North America in December 1994 and in England on April 27, 1995. For those not in the know DMA was a british video game developer which I suppose first really stepped in to the limelight with the game Lemmings, After developing Unirally for Nintendo, DMA Design was set to most likely become one of their main second-party developers, but this didnt happen largly it is said because of Nintendo's disapproval of Body Harvest. So what did DMA go on to do instead? Well in 1997, DMA released Grand Theft Auto (They are now known as Rockstar North) and I think we all know how that went. So what we have here is a Unicycle racing game made by the future makers of grand theft auto now if that doesnt sound weirly intresting to you then nothing will.

OK another important little bit of trivia here which is relvent to this review Unirally was actually made to test out the ACM (Advanced Computer Modelling) which would be later used in Donkey Kong country which proberbly explains some of this games graphics, it kind of has what I would now consider the looks of a Xbox 360 Xbox live indie title. what do I mean by this? Well, the unicycles all have a great physical 3Dness about them, as do the actual twisting pipes which serve as your racing courses and it all travels at a wonderful smooth and fast rate, in fact it could be argued it is one of the best games on the SNES for giving a real sense of speed to its gameplay. However it needs to be pointed out that a lot of the backgrounds and menus are very bland and don't seem to have had a lot of time or effort pushed into them. I firmly believe that if this son of a bitch wasn't so damn playable then it would have just been left as a interesting little tech demo and thank god it wasn't as I played the living crap out of this as a youngster.

Again I have to both note and congratulate those involved in the speed of this title and in the fact that there is no slowdown. The race tracks have various colourful patterns on them throughout each course, highlighting the fact that a piece of track is covered in oil, is a run-up to a loop-the-loop, or is the final stretch of the race, this means that you are given a visual indication of how to handle your unicyle. This works really well despite the games very rapid pace most likely because there is very little else to distract you. This is not to say that the game is devoid of character though , yes the level might lack it but the Uniracers themselves don't know there are no riders these are strangely sentient cycles that actually have personalities, as you play you will notice that they use there seats as if they were there heads, they throw looks behind them if an opponent is drawing close, the victor does a sort of happy dance after winning and losers either seem to be crying or simply seem to topple over and toss themselves to the ground. This actually kind of led to some issues of its own. Shortly after the game's release, DMA Design was sued by Pixar . Basically Pixar felt that the unicycle design and the characterization of the was copied from their1987 short film Red's Dream. DMA seemed to see it very diffrently with one of there develipers Mike Dailly, stating that "The problem with Pixar was that they seemed to think that any computer generated unicycle was owned by them." . DMA Design actually lost the lawsuit, and as a result, Nintendo had to terminate production of further Unirally cartridges. How do I feel about this? I think well I think its bullshit really, I don't think Pixar should have won the lawsuit because well the idea of humanised vehicles has existed for year and been used by loads of people and I dont think it is enough to warrant a victory in a court of law but oh well it happened.

This game is one of those games were it is a complete victory of gameplay over everything else, the sound is decent but not outstanding, the graphics are in some ways good but in other ways basic but the gameplay is for me at least a solid 10 out of 10, the controls are so simple that anyone can play it and yet there is a real sense of being able to always get a little better a little faster in your times, if you play it with a friend then its a great heated competition. The game simply excels at controlling well, doing everything you tell it to when you tell it to and letting you know that any cock up is completely down to you. I cant help but score this game 10 out of 10 no matter what. I think it is some of the best fun you can have on the snes and there is nothing else quiet like it. A loose cart of it should cost you around the £10 mark and I would recommend you buy this as soon as possible because there is nothing else quiet like it on the system and reviewing this has been one of the highlights of this whole series of reviews.

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