Speed Racer: The Beginning is a side scrolling racing game that puts you in the seat of the Mach 5. You don’t really get to travel at Mach 5, which is a bummer, but you do get the alphabet buttons on the steering wheel. Negotiate hazards as you travel through various environments and over different road surfaces. Since this game is based on a cartoon, the graphics are understandably cartoonish.
How does it work?
This is a two button game, so the options are pretty simple: press the G button on the left to make the Mach 5 jump, press the icon/button on the right to use the “special” feature(s). When using the jump function, you can tap the button twice before needing a few seconds to reset. There will be several jumps that require two taps on the jump button to clear the chasm, but make sure they are timed correctly; if you take the second jump too soon you will fall short. There is no fiery death after a plummet to the jagged rocks below, you just disappear and have to start the round over.
There are medallions you can collect along the way for extra points. The higher up the medallions are the more points they are worth.
The game will provide most of the special features you need to keep playing, but you will need to jump for them. Some of them include a speed boost to help you jump the larger canyons, tire protection for increased speed on rough roads, and water repellant to let you maintain speed when it rains or snows (seems to be a speed theme, eh?).
There is also the ubiquitous option to purchase points with which you can acquire upgrades or special features.
Is it contagious?
Sorry, but I’m not convinced with this one. If you’re a Speed Racer enthusiast, you may want this in your collection (and for the price, I won’t quibble with you). If you’re looking for a racing game, this one seems to come down to merely jumping with a decent sense of timing.
The gameplay is simple and the looks are clean. I didn’t encounter any issues, but it wasn’t compelling either.