LA Rush PS2 Review

These street racing titles just keep on coming, it’s as if there isn’t enough choice on the shelves already, if you need to be convinced of this just check out your local store. On one shelf you have your Midnight Club’s, on the next few you have your Street Racing Syndicates and Need for Speed Underground’s closely followed by Juiced. If you want choice, you’ve certainly got choice, and out rolls another one onto the shelves, this time LA Rush from Midway.

If you know your street racing titles then LA Rush’s gameplay structure will be instantly familiar. You race through streets thick with traffic, roam around the massive 350-mile LA cityscape, and drive to races to repeat it all again, whilst at the same time being pursued by police. Not forgetting the standard car modification options that allow you to exhibit a cooler looking motor with seriously enhanced mechanical workings.

Those expecting to get their hands dirty as the result of fiddling with every little nook and cranny of their cars will be disappointed, as Rush sidesteps this element and leaves it all up to the famous West Coast Customs. You simply take your car to one of their garages, where they will literally do it all for you for a price, and this is sure to polarise opinion. If you buy racing games purely for the racing, then you’ll be delighted at this, otherwise you may want to look towards the competition for silly amounts of modifying options.

The story sees your prized collection of motors cleared out, and obviously you aren’t going to stop pressing until they are sitting pretty in your garage again. Reuniting yourself with one of your stolen motors results in you being frantically chased across the city streets by a pack of angry drivers, and upon reaching the sanctuary of your swish LA mansion, you’ll have to pay up in order to repair any damage incurred during the chase.

Money makes LA Rush’s virtual world go round, and it’s all about the racing and the winning, and the financial rewards that come with it. You start out on the road to riches with not a single penny to your name and only a solitary car to race in, although you’ll soon be heading to your first event to hopefully win yourself some cash to enable you to enter the more prominent of races. The entrance fees for the latterly mentioned races are often rather steep, and if you finish in the fourth and final position you may find yourself losing the thousands of dollars in cash you paid out to merely enter the race. The race choice does grow in number as the game progresses, but it does begin to frustrate on occasion, especially if the AI swipes you from behind when you are leading the pack, such is the zero road awareness that your opponents display.

Getting around LA is a breeze thanks to a handy radar and a GPS system. Those who dislike a lot of driving around won’t be too happy to learn that the game doesn’t allow you to quickly jump to a race, instead you must travel to wherever it is that you need to be. If you enjoy the arcade-style vehicle handling it shouldn’t be too much of a drawback, then again if you don’t like the handling what exactly is there to like?

There’s a functional enough split-screen multi-player mode, but sadly it doesn’t have any traffic or AI opponents, making it feel rather empty. We think it’s a bit of an afterthought, although we’re not disputing its exsistence just the lack of any effort on Midway’s part.

LA Rush is a serviceable entry into the saturated street-racing genre, although it’s no classic by any stretch of the imagination. The game certainly has a lot to offer, but it has sadly been beaten to the punch by some much glitzier urban racing titles. Don’t get us wrong though, as it’s still an enjoyable enough game, but we can only really recommend it as a rental.