Today’s review is on one of my old pets – you know the one, awesome to play with but it keeps crapping on your carpet and chewing your furniture. Street Legal Racing: Redline is that puppy. It’s the second in the Street Legal series by Invictus (a third is rumoured) and improves greatly on the inadequacies of the first one. Sadly it’s just as buggy as the first, requiring multiple patches almost as large as the game install before it’s anywhere close to being playable.
Back to the game itself: The premise is simple – you’re a newbie racer with a bit of cash in your pocket and you have to race your way to the top. You can afford something from the used-car dealer which you can then repair at a cost and start modifying. Don’t bother looking at the new car lot quite yet, this will be out of your reach for a while. Business as usual then, except that unlike most racers where you buy a car and then have limited upgrades available, Street Legal lets you customise your car to your heart’s content. You’ll be fitting each part yourself, tuning things like intake and exhaust cams, air-fuel mixtures, gear ratios and tyre pressure to your heart’s content. Most of the time is spent in the workshop, fiddling with different combinations of spares to try get that extra millisecond off your quarter mile time. The damage model is great too, hit a kerb at speed and your suspension will buckle, hit a tree and you’ve got some serious repairs to do.
The racing is simple. Exit your garage during the day and you’ll see other racers on your minimap, cruising around waiting for challenges. You agree upon a section of road and the stakes (Sort of like the outrun mode in Need for Speed) and you’re off. At night things heat up a little. You head toward the midnight racing location and then take part in organised 1/4-mile drags against ranked opponents for either cash or pink slips. As the power of your car increases it get’s a little harder to keep it in a straight line, resulting in spectacular crashes (and a huge repair bill) if you get it wrong. Build up your car, and your, prestige and you get to take part in the Race of Champions, a mountain circuit race with a grand prize of a new high-powered car.
The cars are loosely based upon real-world cars, with names like Shimutsibu instead of Mitsubishi, Baiern instead of BMW and Furrano as Ferrari. Each car can take a certain type of engine (4cyl, 6cyl, V8, etc) and a certain drive-train (FWD, RWD, 4WD), which can sometimes be modified to other types with special parts. The mod scene for this game is huge, with much more support than the game got from its actual developers, giving you access to many more cars, parts and accessories for the game. There are even community-made patches that greatly improves upon the playability of the game.
The game is still available to purchase, but you can probably find modded game files on the link above (Not that I condone such a thing of course!). If it wasn’t for the awesome customisation and damage model of this game, it wouldn’t have made any impact whatsoever, but the instability of the game engine (This thing crashes more than the Fins crash Escorts in the snow) stops it from being a true great. It has always been a budget title, being released by Activision Value, so don’t expect Need for Speed graphics and Toca handling. It’s just a fun drag-racing game that will keep you in the garage for hours.
Final verdict: 3 out of 5 MisGuilded Stars – A nice time-waster without being a waste of time.