Last year American gamers got Namco's SRS: Street Racing Syndicate and lapped it up, so it seemed good news when several months later Codemasters picked up the UK publishing rights to the title, but does it really live up to all the hype it's received?
As races are won you gain not only vital money to spend on your car but also the respect of your "girlfriends", and they're a key feature of the game, with you having to keep the "SRS Girls" interested by continuing to win races and out-doing your opponents, all of which are just as eager to finish first.
It's not quite a simple race from start to finish line though, as those ever devious Cops are on the lookout for speeding cars, and will soon be chasing you with sirens wailing in an attempt to pull you over and fine you... if you don't get away from them of course, and with nitro boosts fitted to your car proves a fairly easy task to manage.
Head to head races work in a similar way to Tokyo Xtreme Racer - drive up alongside a car, flash your headlights and if they're game for a race you're off tearing a trail around the city streets. Numerous other challenges are dotted around the cities of Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia, and give you yet more funds to improve your car, or simply fix any damage that you've received from overly aggressive racing.
A plentiful supply of mods are available for your chosen car with an impressive amount of performance-boosting upgrade parts on offer, although the more visual-based add-on's simply don't seem plentiful enough and don't do the upgrade aspect of the game any justice at all. It's not helped by the fact that the menu system used leaves a lot to be desired, and makes upgrading your car more of a chore than anything.
Ultimately SRS: Street Racing Syndicate comes across as being a little disappointing, and not up to the levels that American gamers were painting it out as being when it was released over there last year. The girlfriend feature of the game adds a different dimension to the gameplay, but the fact you "store" them in a warehouse-like garage just seems bizarrely weird.
There's little doubt that SRS is enjoyable game to play - whilst it lasts - but with such a huge amount of other titles all offering similar gameplay features in this heavily crowded genre it's hard to see quite what makes SRS: Street Racing Syndicate any more than average.Overall score: 6 out of 10
Recommended Price: £29.99
Available: NowBuy SRS Street Racing Syndicate for the PS2 from Amazon