The Pit

Blur | Powered-Up Racing Game

BY Joel Tam

Activision's 'Blur' is a fast-paced racing game that requires decisions to be made in the blink of an eye.

For anyone familiar with racing titles like 'Need For Speed' or 'Burnout', 'Blur' is something similar to those games but with an added element of fun added into the mix for some automotive mayhem. Not just another racing title that follows the standard routine of racing, the race tracks in 'Blur'  include power-ups, weapons, and other things for that much needed advantage in winning a race. 

'Blur' is basically an amalgam of 'Need for Speed Underground' and 'Super Mario Kart'. I started off the game by playing in 'Career' mode, with grandiose notions of being Mad Max assailing my mind. The game play is pretty straightforward as I progressed through a series of race events that required me to defeat my rivals on the streets and taking their vehicles. The ultimate aim is to get into the 'One-on-One' mode, but I must first fulfill a series of tasks that consists of a certain number of criteria as I competed in other events that included 'Race', 'Destruction' and 'Checkpoint'.

Within each event, a series of 'lights' are up for grabs. The first five lights are based on finish (with first position getting the maximum five). 'Fans' are also won by taking down opponents or narrowly avoiding being taken down which will garner an additional sixth light. Last but not the least, each event also has a slalom section where a series of gates can be triggered if the gate slalom is executed within a certain time frame, this also wins you extra fans and another light.

Altogether, there are over 55 licensed vehicles ranging from a 1950’s pickup truck Ford FR-100 to my favourite Volkswagen Scirocco. The cars are expertly designed and animated, with each and every single vehicle having their own unique strengths and weaknesses, thus in 'Blur', you will actually have to choose the right car for the right race, depending on your applications needs be it grip or drift.

So what is it about the game that resembles 'Super Mario Kart'? That would have to be the fantastic Power-ups that really set the game apart from other racing games with its tactical element. And what makes it even more interesting is the speed with which one must make with regards to the selection of the power-up. As you approach a series of power-ups, you need to immediately decide which one you need the most. If your vehicle is in a wreck, you need a repair power-up. If your toughest rival in on your tailgate, grab some mines. My favourite however are the homing bolts that track the next opponent, flipping them into a somersault.

In summary, 'Blur' adopts the 'Super Mario Kart' fun of power-ups with a more realistic, adrenalin-filled racing game that is very entertaining and addictive. But before you start driving, check out this trailer for the Xbox demo below, which gives you a rough idea of what the game looks like in actual game play on your television screen.