Peak Performance

Peak Performance outperforms most other racing games


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Race to the Clouds , Atlus offers us Peak Performance - a racing game based on the famous Chevrolet Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The signature course, Pikes Peak Hill Climb, is a solitary yet challenging climb up a mountain with more turns in one track than most have in an entire game.

This track, as with half of the other four courses, features a combination of dirt and pavement in both the country and the city, providing enough variety and difficulty to keep things interesting for quite awhile.

The game s first strength is its speed, and to this end the frame rate is thoroughly acceptable. The illusion of sheer speed is better than most titles available, with the obvious exception of the WipeOut series, (hey wait a minute, that s anti-gravity racing). And what about the power slide? That s the second thing this game does well. If you love to power slide and rate racing titles on that ability alone, then this game will get your highest possible score.

The third thing this game does right is include multiple paths on a couple of the courses. The tracks with city sections, especially the Bay Area, are finally done correctly with the ability to turn down any of the streets, essentially finding your own way to the finish line.

Peak features over 20 cars including several hidden modes of transport, such as a bus and motor scooter. Most are non descript sports cars with the absence of any car company licenses, but unless you re some kind of authenticity freak this shouldn t bother you.

This game would be a new measuring stick to judge other racing games by but there are a couple of weaknesses. First, the collision detection is sorry at best. The only point that you can run into another car is in its rear. If you make contact with anyplace else on an opponent s vehicle the collision will not be detected, which reduces the realism factor. It is also not uncommon to drive right through the competition as if it were not there. The other weak point is the existence of invisible walls along the track boundaries. Most racing games will have a boundary of some kind but the boundaries in Peak are more like a wall in a bobsledding game, if such a game existed. When you run into these, the car glides off of it, never stopping your forward momentum. Both of these problems add up to absolutely no crashes. Again this is not very realistic, but does tend to make the game a little easier.

Drawbacks aside, Peak Performance does perform. It features a ton of options including a tune-up shop where you can customize any of the cars to your own control and color preferences. There is also a first ever Track Editor . In this mode you can create your own time trial course by setting up a series of check points on a predetermined track. This feature alone makes for hours of replay value. For all those neGcon controller owners, Peak is completely compatible. There is also a two player split screen mode that morphs into one screen as the competing cars get close to each other.

If you re looking for a new car racing game and are choosing between the latest group of titles Peak Performance deserves your hard earned mula.