Futuristic racing - perfected by F-Zero nearly twenty years ago, dragged through the mud by Fatal Inertia last year, and now it's back for another stab at greatness on the 360. Here's a tip - keep your hopes subterraneously low.
Visually, Voltage certainly seems to be, erm, reminiscent enough of F-Zero to give us hope of a perfectly entertaining doppelganger racer, and there's the odd gameplay detail that suggests it could be a fun little romp in its own right... However, call us prejudiced fools but the fact that this is the first game from a corporate IT company who proudly summarise their debut as 'a 3D game', as if that in itself is a selling point suggests that the ghost of low-scoring pile-up Fatal Inertia may return to haunt us.
In fact, the game features sound almost identical to Fatal Inertia's - The year is 3005... There's futuristic-style racing on each planet in our solar system... bonuses include tachyon fuel and nuclear engines and teleports and... well, you know the rest.
But, ooh, what's this? Real-time strategy elements? Sounds promising - some kind of detailed story mode which sees you becoming the Solar System's Best Racer? From what we've seen of the game in action, this seems unlikely - by 'RTS' the rookie devs may mean 'you can pick up power-ups as you race and use them in a vaguely strategic kind of way. While moving quite fast...'
Still, the cinematic trailer is pretty gorgeous and the shots suggest a graphical step-up from Fatal Inertia's jagged offering - IBA apparently carried out some extensive research on how each planet's atmosphere would look, and affect racing. Not having ever been to Venus, we'll take their word for it.
We'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now, but it has to be said that, between the creators' lack of form and the astonishing similarities to past 360 racing failures, it's hard to get too stoked about Voltage's arrival - especially as everything looks so very, very... generic. More soon.