Apex

Apex

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Rating
9.0
DEVELOPER: Milestone   |   PUBLISHER: Atari   |   RELEASE: 02/17/2003

Have you ever dreamt of owning your own car manufacturer? Have you ever thought of designing your own super car and taking it out to show off to the world? Sure everyone on the planet thinks they can do everything better than everyone else but now there is finally a game that lets you prove it. Apex is a welcome stray from the norm of racing games. Instead of looping tracks to earn upgrades for your car you are in control of your own car company. Designing your ride, taking it for a test spin, and winning races is all key to making your company grow from a hole in the ground into a large corporation with sexy interns. The American dream is finally a reality, well at least a virtual one, but let us dive into one of the deepest driving games this decade and find out why this game is so damn addictive!

Nice Headlights Baby!
The first thing that will come out of your mouth when you see Apex is drool, followed by a stuttered wow! This game is gorgeous, and I do not mean that lightly. There is a reason this game has the “Only On XBox” logo smacked on the front. Only that system is capable of rendering cars of this stature. Each car is made up of over 11,000 polygons which enhance the detail to uncanny proportions. The amount of detail is impressive to say the least, you can see the interior of the car and the outside of the car is just chock full of eye candy. Real time reflections blast across the hood like no other game before (yes even better than Project Gotham), and the textures are to die for. Watching the road flash before your eyes while pulling 100mph down a stretch almost makes you car sick. The stages are also some of the best, ok take that back THE BEST EVER in a racing game. Balloons go flying through the city, the shadows cast true time, and the water is so..so..XBox! This game screams perfection in the visuals department and kudos to the team for keeping it at a solid frame rate throughout the entire game, the only slowdown I saw is during some of the replays, this game is beautiful!

Funk Soul Brother..
The sounds of Apex are good, the engines rev nicely and the tires screech just right. Of course all of this is brought to you in Dolby Digital 5.1 but who would settle for less? The music on the other hand is awful, the generic techno anthems and rock ballads get old after less than one play through. Thankfully this game allows for custom soundtracks, blasting some Unwritten Law at 80mph is what this feature was meant for. The only gripe (I always got one don’t I?) is that the song repeats itself over and over so if you are racing a 5 minute track and a NOFX song comes on expect to hear it a few times before the race is over. Other than that the sound couldn’t be better.

ZTGD Motors In Business!!
The heart and soul of Apex comes from it’s Dream Mode. This mode allows you to pick a company name, logo, and a design for your first car. You start off working out of your buddies’ garage and eventually work your way into a multi-million dollar car company. You can boost the sales of your car by winning races and challenges against other manufacturers. The challenges can consist of anything from other companies copying your design to someone wanting you to prove just how fast your vehicle is. Winning is the key but Apex is also forgiving, lose a race and you don’t lose any sales. You just get to race it again, of course if you win when you race the same track over the points and boost in sales is less but that is to be expected. You start off designing a roadster and can work your way up to a super car. After so many sales your mechanic will upgrade your current car allowing for higher top speeds. Other cool aspects include hiring your hot secretary, your wacky R&D guy, and you even sexier production manager. Sure the game may have a sexual overtone but it’s all about the cars baby!The handling in Apex will take you by surprise at first.

This isn’t your average driving game, power sliding is a must and discipline is required for you to master the tracks. With over 50 courses to choose from this game has plenty of variety for any car head. Sure if you want to jump right in and now fool with the Dream Mode there is of course Arcade, but if you want all the tracks to cruise on you will have to work for them in Dream Mode, same goes for the cars. Apex mixes arcade style with simulation to just the right degree that it feels right. Taking turns becomes second nature and power sliding is a finely tuned tactic. Put enough time into this game and you will find yourself more than enjoying it, it will become an addiction!

Leave Your Competition In The Dust…
Overall Apex is of the highest quality in the racing game genre. Taking a style that has been done more times than a Star Trek Convention hooker this game brings innovation to spare. I can see future games taking a nod from Apex both visually and game play wise. A game that deserves to be noticed on all accounts and could quite possibly re kindle my love for driving games. Highly Recommended!

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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