There is nothing like a day at the horse track. Sit back make a few bets and make some money. What could be better then that? Well Tecmo has come back with its next installment in the Gallop Racer series in Gallop Racer 2004 that moves you from spectator to the jockey himself. How does this version fair? Read through the review to find out!
Before I dive into this review, I want to give you a little background on the series. I have been playing the series from the beginning and there is one thing that has been consistent throughout. This is a very difficult series. This is a series that drives on stats, and pure practice. This is not a series that you can just pick up and be good at but instead one that you will gradually get better at over time. Tecmo has been true to this formula since it was initially released quite a few years ago, and it is still the case here with Gallop Racer 2004.
Like most games you start at the bottom of the ranks, with little to nothing to be proud of. Unlike last year where you had the mandatory tutorial mode to go through, this year the game makes it totally optional. So instead of having to go through an hour of learning to ride again, Tecmo figures that most of the people interested in Gallop Racer 2004 have played 2003. So this allows you to jump right into the career mode. But the unfortunate part of this is that if you didn’t play the previous games you’re going to be left in the dark and doing a lot of trial and error.
The career mode, like I already mentioned, starts with you at the bottom of the barrel. In fact you don’t even own a horse you have to ride other people’s horses to try and make a name for yourself. So there is a definite trust factor these owners give you. As you start to win races you will be able to earn your own stable and start to maintain your own horses. This is where the game really starts to strive but unfortunately for most of us it will take quite sometime to get to this point.
What’s interesting about Gallop Racer 2004 is that you really don’t have a whole lot of control of the race. You will only being pressing a few buttons each race but each press will be a crucial one. The game shows how every little movement can make or break a race and many of you, yours truly included, will learn this the hard way. There are the three major parts of any horse race: the start, the positioning, and the final stretch. You will have to learn to time your movements, your whips, and your mad dashes to the finish line at the right times.
There are two main things that really drive Gallop Racer 2004. First the level of difficulty and precision is something to sit back and admire. And all of the statistics that are involved in the game also remain its core. You will find throughout the career mode how much statistics are actually involved in the game.
What’s unfortunate I think about Gallop Racer 2004 is that there aren’t a whole lot of improvements in the gameplay department. The game has done a nice job of improving its speed control a bit and the computer AI has been tweaked to make the game a little more balanced at times. But besides that there is not a whole lot of new stuff on the game.
Overall we are still looking at a very solid simulation racing title. Although the game can be frustrating due to its high difficulty, the game is still a blast to play. Once you start to learn the ropes you will become very successful in Gallop Racer 2004 and that’s where the game starts running at its full potential.
The Gallop Racer series in my eyes have never really had the best graphics in the world. The series has had potential in each and every version but they never seem to do enough to make the game look all that great. And unfortunately the trend continues in 2004.
Similar to last year, Gallop Racer 2004 uses the same cartoonish style graphics that they have used in years past. The horses and character models do look a little bit more colorful then last years but not a whole lot. The environments have there moments but for the most part the doesn’t seem to have as much upgrades in the graphical department as many would have expected.
With this all being said Gallop Racer 2004 once again had the potential to be a great looking game but it just doesn’t seem like Tecmo gave a whole lot of effort into the graphical portion of the game.
For first time players the game will start off probably being a very low score, but the more you play the game the more you will like it. Gallop Racer 2004 is a very rewarding game, because you earn everything you get in the game. Nothing beats the feeling when you win your first race, or win one of the big races that you don’t think you have a chance in. Gallop Racer 2004 is only going to be fun to those who have the patience enough to earn the right to play through the heart and soul of the game.
Gallop Racer 2004 is a solid horse racing simulation title. Many may ask I have Gallop Racer 2003 do I need to run out and get 2004? My answer is quite simply no you don’t. There is not enough new in the game to make you need to upgrade. But for those of you who have yet to try the series out this is a great title to rent and try out.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.