There's only one reason why I still pick up Quantum Redshift every now and again and that's because Wipeout was never released on Xbox (obviously, being a Sony made game). But QR plugged the gaping hole of futuristic Xbox racing rather well and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who ripped The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Orbital to my hard drive to make it at least sound a bit like Wipeout 2097.
As with every futuristic racing game that ditched wheels in favour of trendy designer hovercrafts, QR is all about your ability to master control of the craft with Force-like precision, while being launched through the air at eye-watering speeds. If you're good at staring people out on the bus then you're halfway there. Blinking only gets in the way of being able to see corners come at you at 900mph. Redshift is all about speed, and while early difficulty levels are laughably tame, later ones would test even Darth Vader's reaction times.
It's one of those games you either get or you don't, and whether you get it or not depends on your skills. It doesn't look like Mario Kart so don't expect it to play like it. The learning curve starts off nice and gently but soon enough, just when you think you're getting the hang of it, you hit a brick wall. To be good at Redshift is like being good at Ninja Gaiden - your skills will command respect from all those around you.
Redshift's set-up is pretty standard for the genre (race, win, progress) but it did do something new at the time. Each character in the game had a specific story line that was recited as you boosted through the levels. To be honest the stories just got in the way of extreme racing.
But what futuristic racing game would be complete without a fine selection of over-the-top weapons? Redshift's got all bases covered here too. The coloured buttons on the pad each represent a different class of weapon. Keep on collecting the coloured icons and the weapon's strength and range will increase. If you manage to collect three yellow, blue and red icons then you're in possession of what is effectively a nuclear bomb. And if you can't win a race with one of these up your sleeve, there really is no hope for you.
The A button (green) is the best button in the game - the turbo button. Oh, yes. If you thought your ship couldn't get any faster, just press and hold A for the ride of your life. A word of advice though; drive in a straight line otherwise you'll hit the wall very fast indeed.
Quantum Redshift's speed has yet to be exceeded by our reckoning (Pulse Racer doesn't count). Powerdrome came close but lacked the gorgeous presentation and options served up by developer Curly Monsters.
If you're already thinking that Redshift sounds like a direct port of a Wipeout game then you wouldn't be surprised to learn that the development team was made up of staffers that worked on Sony's original futuristic racer.
Crime of the century goes to whoever decided that the in-development sequel didn't fit the demographic of Xbox - it was never completed and the studio went under. Still, if you've got a spare tenner floating around and walking past a second hand games shop, do yourself a favour and pop in. It's still well worth a look-see.