by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
In console terms the lifespan of the PlayStation console is nothing short of legendary. As far as I can remember it's into it's seventh year (it maybe eight actually) and it's still showing no sign of taking it's last breath. Of course a console's lifespan is governed by the availability of new titles for it, as sales cannot survive forever on old titles. It is perhaps a testament to the success of the PlayStation that almost two years after the release of the PlayStation 2, it is still going strong and that new titles are still arriving for it.
Firebugs is a manga style combative, futuristic racer. If you remember a PC game called POD then you'll have a good idea of what Firebugs is like. You can choose one of five different racers to control and compete in single player league competitions or split-screen multiplayer modes. Each of the league competitions has five race tracks. To begin with you'll only have access to the Phoenix League, and the Archipelago, Droid Gardens, Terrian Dunes, Sky Port and Aerial City tracks. Succeed in the Phoenix League and you'll have access to the next league and so on.
It is probably fair to say that Firebugs was designed to suit the younger game. The vehicle control is very good and in no time at all you'll be speeding around the track and winning races. The vehicles can even be driven upside down, where the track allows, with the greatest of ease. Of course if you are a mature gamer you can turn off the handling assist option to make things a little more challenging. The vehicles range from four wheeled, reversible cars to three wheels futuristic tricycles. Success in the league mode, will unlock extras such as vehicle paint jobs that you can switch to at any time. There are power ups that can be collected on the track and these add to the enjoyment of the game.
Of course returning to a PlayStation game after seeing a PlayStation 2 game can be a bit of a shock but Firebugs looks OK. More importantly for a racer, the framerate remains good throughout the race tracks. The one disappointment here is that if you look closely at the screen you will see a transparent square around your vehicle. It's the kind of glitch that you get with a PC graphics card when your drivers aren't up to much. This is a silly glitch to be left in the final release and lets down what is otherwise a nicely polished product.
There are absolutely no problems for deaf gamers with Firebugs. All information is given in text and there is no reliance on sound in the game at all. Text help is given in menu screens via scrolling text at the top of the screen. All text is clear and easy to read.
Firebugs has been released very late in the PlayStation's life and there are a huge wealth of racers that have gone before it on the console. However Firebugs stands up as a solid and enjoyable racer and is well worth the asking price. However it is a shame that the transparent square around your vehicle glitch is in there and for hardcore racers it may be a bit too simple. But for those who like their racing simple, fast and fun then Firebugs is well worth a try.
Overall Game Rating: 7.2/10 A solid an enjoyable racer that shows the PSone still has some mileage in it.
Deaf Gamers comment: Absolutely fine.