> After spending many hours on the excellent Shutokou Battle for the Uberconsole,
I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at an earlier version
for Saturn. As far as I know, Syutokoh Battle '97 (SB97) (a.k.a.
Drift King '97) is the second Tokyo highway racer for Saturn. Basically,
you have to race around tracks modeled after Tokyo highways in an attempt
to finish before your rival.
> The importability is very high because the gameplay is standard racing
fare. The only part that's trial and error is when it comes to upgrading
your vehicle because the actual "upgrade" names are in Japanese.
At least you can read what area you're upgrading (i.e. engine) and what
the cost is. All the other menu items, game screens and some voice
are in English.
> The 3D cars, tracks and cityscapes are beautifully detailed and animate
very smoothly. The frame rate is rock solid through and through.
SB97 offers two views: behind the car and first person. I prefer
the behind the car even though you can see what's coming better with the
other view. The three tracks included in the game are long, winding,
full of scenery and go through time of day changes while you're racing.
Actually, some of the scenery was retained for the Dreamcast version --
albeit looking much better on the Uberconsole. There are no lighting
effects, but Genki did manage to shade the various on-screen objects so
that they look brighter or darker because of light sources. All in
all, pretty darn good when compared to other Saturn greats...
> The control is rock solid too. Using the 3D Pad or the Racing Wheel
works really well -- other companies could learn something from Saturn's
precision analog racers. The buttons are accelerate, brake, horn,
drift (power slide), view and shift up/down. The one aspect that's
kind of cheesy is that you can negotiate most curves at top speed -- whereas
they improved this part on the Uberconsole. The tracks are long and
the traffic doesn't seem to be interested in getting out of your way.
> The music consists mainly of instrumental guitar jams (cool) which remind
me of Vinnie Moore (don't ask; if you don't know then check it out).
The on screen driving keeps you absorbed enough not to worry about music
> The sound effects are decent, but not as good as they should be.
You'll hear cars passing, your engine (of course), crashes, skids and some
> You get Scenario, Vs. Computer, and Practice modes to master in this
game. SB97 is definitely worth picking up if you're into the rival
thing. There are plenty of cars to choose from and upgrade along
with challenging rivals to beat.