Juiced: Eliminator PSP Review

There was much to like when Juiced was finally released on PS2 and Xbox, but there was also some unforgivable flaws, which dragged the game down, thanks to their overbearing presence. There was so much potential, but sadly this potential played second fiddle to the debacle of the financial system.

Juiced Eliminator arrives on the PSP, fully tricked out and raring to go, and is actually a better game than Juice Games first Juiced effort. There’s plenty of new content (including new rival crews, tracks, cars and bodykits), improvements and the same satisfying racing seen in the console versions. In fact Eliminator is the smooth ride that Juiced was striving to be, the caterpillar has therefore blossomed into a butterfly, albeit not the prettiest one to be born from a cocoon.

The career mode shares the same principles of the original game, in which respect is king and showering your motor in upgrades is essential. The brilliant system that gauges your standing with each of the rival crew leaders comes bouncing back, which is pleasing as outside the squealing tyres of the city streets, it was a feature that deserved to be highlighted with yellow neon, whenever it was spoken of. Inviting a racing reputation upon yourself that stories your success on the track, as well as the allure of your car collection and your betting habits, is crucial to attracting attention from your racing rivals. With the requisite amount of respect, comes the privileges, in which you can eventually attend racing events and place bets on rival crew territories, jeopardise the ownership of one of your racing machines in pink slip racing, and later boast the rights to race and host your own events on rival tarmac during empty calendar days.

Races are numerous, with lap, point-to-point, pink slip, sprint, eliminator, showoff and even crew racing. Most of these are self-explanatory, but the crew racing is something that Juiced can call its own, allowing you to race in numbers and even handing the wheel to another driver and commanding their level of aggression. Showoff is meanwhile a way to prove your art and earn some points for the effort, done so by driving as recklessly as possible, performing donuts, moving at speed, and drifting, alongside other forceful methods of wrestling with the steering wheel, yanking the hand break and ruining the tyres of your ride.

When you aren’t smelling burning rubber from your smoking hot tyres, you’ll most probably be dirtying your hands in the workshop, spoiling your motors with additions, and smiling as the onscreen horsepower number increases. Sticking a big and mean spoiler on the rear end, tinting the windows, colouring the underneath of the car with flashy neon colours, and replacing the bumper bar with something more to your taste are just some of the few cosmetic changes you can also make.

The financial system has been overhauled, meaning there’s no longer any reason to worry about repair costs for your vehicles, nor is there any entry fees for race events like there was on the console version. Finding that you still have plenty of cash left in your wallet is a feeling that was often missing from the original, with this said, it is nice to know that some developers learn from their past criticisms and alter things accordingly.

A multiplayer mode allows for up to six PSP’s to be connected, with an ample selection of options. One-on-one racing can be initiated with the PSP’s game sharing ability, and racing for pinks amps up the tension when you and the opposing players vehicles are both there for the taking.

Juiced: Eliminator isn’t entirely free of imperfections though, as the vehicle handling for instance is somewhat vague, coming between simulation and arcade, and not quite hitting the happy medium that other racers have met. It’s still a game that is well worth a look, and one that carries its own ideas very well indeed.