Monday, 30 May 2016

Jet Ion GP (PS2)

Usually, when a new console gets released, magazines will cover every game they can get their hands on, even Japan-only titles. Which makes it odd that Jet Ion GP (released in Japan under the vowel-deprived title of Hresvelgr: Interntional Edition) seemed to go by unnoticed, despite being released in the opening months of the Playstation 2's life, in December 2000. There was even an earlier revision, simply named Hresvelgr a few months earlier, that similarly went unmentioned in UK magazines of the time.

Anyway, Jet Ion GP is a futuristic racing game, with anti-gravity crafts taking the place of cars. The road is also replaced, by a glowing "energy belt" that serves the dual purpose of showing the way through the racecourse, and ensuring no-one can take shortcuts, as it's also the power source for the crafts. If a pilot tries to fly away from it, their speed gradually decreases, until their craft's power cuts out altogether.

The future in which the game is set takes an unusually optimistic view of the decades to come, as the setting combines the luxury and opulence of the Ridge Racer series with the wonder and spectacle of a post-scarcity, pollution-free high-tech civilisation. With this in mind, the tracks themselves take place in a variety of locations with serene mountains and forests accompanying the standard neon megalopolises. The locations are the same on every difficulty level, though the actual course that's flown through them is different.

The course designs are great, too. They start off simple, letting the player learn to fly their craft, gradually getting more complex and difficult as they advance. Just like you'd expect, really, though special mention must go to the mountain-set final stage, Bramble Yard. Even on the easiest difficulty setting, Bramble Yard offers a really spectacular race, with roller coaster-esque vertical climbs and drops, and twists around buildings and under and over pipes and beams.

There is one downside to Jet Ion GP, though: the framerate. Though I don't have a single particle of sympathy for the ridiculous framerate bores that plague the reviews section of many Steam games, Jet Ion GP really does have a shockingly low frame rate, especially for a racing game. It's at its worst in the first few seconds of each race, as all the crafts are close together, but it never gets to a speed most would call "smooth." I wonder if this problem could be fixed in emulation? But anyway, I've said all this, but it really didn't hamper my enjoyment of the game at all. It is, however, noticable enough that it does need to be mentioned.

In conclusion, Jet Ion GP is an enjoyable, overlooked racing game, and you can get a copy for practically nothing (in the UK at least), and I'd say it's worth doing.

1 comment:

  1. Underrated game! The original "Hresvelgr" feels questionably incomplete while this version is much better, I have both this and the Japanese version which was released as "International Edition".