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Car Jack Streets

For: DSi   Also on: DS, Mobile

Rack 'em and jack 'em

Product: Car Jack Streets | Format: DSi | Genre: Action, Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Car Jack Streets DSi, thumbnail 1
One million dollars in gambling debts is a troubling amount, especially when it's owed to the mob. On the flip side, it can make for a vaguely interesting gaming storyline.

Car Jack Streets's main character Randal owes precisely that amount, and mob boss Frankie doesn't care how Randal earns it as long as he has $50,000 at the end of each week until it's all paid off.

Time to wreak havoc, top-down shooter slash driver-style.

But while Car Jack Streets may appear to be simply a Grand Theft Auto clone (in fact, the developers worked on the original GTA), the action is handled in a rather different way.

Like Car Jack Streets mobile and Car Jack Streets iPhone, the DSiWare edition is played out in real-time. The clock in the top-left corner displays the actual time, and all jobs and missions in-game must be completed with this in mind.

If a mobster asks you to meet him at the bank at 3:52, you can check your watch for an indication of how long you've got (although that's probably a sign that you're taking it all a bit too seriously).

Mob rule

The aforementioned $50,000 is also working on real-time and is required at the end of each real-life week.

Which means that to see all Randal's debt paid off you'll need to stick at it for a total of 20 weeks. To keep anyone's attention for this long, the game needs to be fun.

Fortunately, Car Jack Streets is pretty entertaining. Each day you'll be offered jobs ranging from driving a getaway car to taking out gangsters and driving the local bus route. There's plenty of variation in the missions, and although a number of them are a little boring, there's still enough to keep you going for a while.

Equally, while the iPhone version had interface issues (eventually fixed via an update), the DSi dual-screen setup has no such problems. Utilising both screens, Tag Games has seriously improved the menu navigation.

All the action pans out on the top screen, while the bottom screen displays a full map of the city, along with buttons for accessing the GPS options and past messages. The developers have clearly listened to the players.

Pay your dues

However, while the new layout gets a big thumbs-up, the control scheme definitely does not. It's simple enough - the D-pad steers, while A accelerates, B brakes and R is used to boost - but the handling takes some getting used to.

When I first tried to turn a corner, I accidently spun the car nearly 180 degrees, and after just a few minutes I'd probably driven on more pavement than road. Turning is much too sensitive, and driving in some of the faster vehicles can be unbearable.

You get the hang of it, but I still found myself overshooting turnoffs and slamming into buildings a few hours into the game. An option to adjust the sensitivity would have been much appreciated.

More of the game's original issues are also still present. Missions are fiendishly unforgiving, with a single mistake usually spelling disaster.

And crashing into other cars still results in the oddest of collisions, with other drivers seemingly oblivious to the fact that their ride is completely wrecked as they continue to forge into you repeatedly as if you weren't there.

Yet through all this, Car Jack Streets remains a nice addition to the DSiWare shop. It's big, it's fun, and it'll eat your spare time. Frankie just shouldn't hold his breath for his $1,000,000.
Car Jack Streets
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 24 March 2010
Car Jack Streets is all about entertaining open-world high jinks, although there are some issues in terms handling and the difficulty level
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