Crash and the boys are about to kick some rich kid ass in this no-holds-barred contest of strength. Featuring five unique track and field events (that mostly involve physical violence); you must truly be the best around to reign supreme among River City's toughest.
Crash 'n the Boys Street Challenge centers around a competition that a rich kid named Todd creates in order to finally beat his everyman rival named Crash. The game consists of five events; 400 meter hurdles, hammer throw, swimming, roof top jumping, and fighting scene. You play as a team of five athletes from a selection of four teams. Athletes have ridiculous names such as Cheese, Noise, Spoon, and Baldy. Each one has different attributes so choosing the best suited athlete for every event is part of the challenge.
The events don't quite play as you would expect. Most track and field video games will have you button mash madly to win while the events in this game are more complex. You play 400 meter hurdles by tapping right to run and B to jump. This sounds simple, but if you want to win then you must also break hurdles to pick up the wood and throw it at your opponent, slide under tall hurdles, and spin-kick your opponent when you're close enough. It's the equivalent of being able to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time although this is a lot more challenging. The other events are just as outrageous. Hammer throw will have you swinging and throwing a hammer to eventually get it into a hole (like in golf). Swimming is basically brawling in water where you and your opponent fight while trying not to run out of oxygen. Rooftop jumping will have you utilizing various items to help you jump from building to building for as long as you can. Finally, fighting scene is an all-out no rules street brawl where you can perform awesome throws to take down your opponent. As you can clearly see, this game goes the extra mile to create fun and unique takes on classic track and field events.
One thing that the River City series of games always delivers on is the presentation. The graphics are fantastic with stylish character models and pixel-perfect cityscapes. Athletes are very well animated and their facial expressions are suitably illustrated given the situations that they find themselves in. The music is awesome as it emphasizes the competitive nature of the events and the sweet reward of triumph quite thoroughly. You'll also hear some 8-bit reinterpretations of classical music during some story sequences. Sound effects are incredibly satisfying especially during events that involve brawling since they add substance to every hit. Overall, the presentation is so well done that you'll forget that you're playing a NES game from time to time.
Crash 'n the Boys Street Challenge features three different modes which basically correspond to how many events you will play. You can play all five events in normal mode, three events of your choosing in short mode, or any one event in practice mode. Normal and short modes act like tournaments and feature the option to shop before each event. You can use your earned medals to buy many different items within four stores that will increase your athlete's attributes, allow you to read the rules and tips, and purchase cheats pertaining to the upcoming event. This system is a rewarding way to strategically gain advantages over your opponents. However, there are no permanent unlockables so your sense of progression will end when the final event does.
One of the main issues with the game is the fact that playing against computer opponents can get very challenging. Because of this, you will have to practice a lot to develop your skills and have a chance of winning. This will take some patience considering there is no comprehensive tutorial to be found in-game. You will need to learn how to angle your hammer throws, plan ahead when jumping between rooftops, and pull off sick fighting moves all by yourself. That being said, it can be an extremely rewarding experience once you start to get in the groove of things.
Every mode can be played with up to four players. Keep in mind that players one and three (as well as two and four) will have to share a controller. Therefore, make sure you aren't partnered up with someone who suffers from sweaty palms. Playing in multiplayer makes the game exponentially more fun since figuring out how to play the events as a group and beating on your friends is much more satisfying than doing it solo. The game simply shines brighter while playing with friends as opposed to playing by yourself which can quickly become tiresome. Once you learn how to beat the computer, you've done all you can do and probably won't play much after that. So, grab some chums and show them how kick-ass track and field can get in River City!
Crash 'n the Boys Street Challenge will surpass your expectations of what a track and field game is capable of. Although it does take a while to learn and lacks replay value for single player, it can be a great deal of fun to play with some retro-loving friends.
- + Each event is unique and a ton of fun
- + Solid presentation with awesome music and quality character models
- + Shop system adds an element of strategy
- - Requires a lot of patience to learn how to play each event effectively
- - Single player has little replay value
- - No mode offers a lasting sense of progression