This is precisely the premise behind Millennium Racer Y2k Fighters (MRYF), a game that was released a month just before we crossed into the 21st century. MRYF was developed by Creat Studio and published by Cryo Interactive Entertainment. The former is still around while the latter got into financial difficulties and was absorbed into Dreamcatcher Interactive.
In truth, other than the release date which was very close to the end of the millennium, the title of the game, bearing the words Millennium and Y2k, has absolutely nothing to do with the millennium bug that was supposed to strike computers all over the world at the stroke of midnight on 1 Jan 2000.
One things for sure though, 11 years later MRYF is still one great racing experience. The game actually allows me to play in a high resolution of 1600 x 1200 with all the bells and whistles enabled. I was very pleased with the game being able to run on Windows 7; it sure is good to be able to race down the Spaceport, War, Inki, and Antarktida worlds again.
|Let’s start racing|
In addition, you can also create a network game or join an existing network game. Being a one-man show PC Game reviewer, I am unable to tell you much about the network mode. I must say though that I have read that network mode is pretty stable and fun elsewhere on the Internet.
|A great rolling demo|
Arcade mode allows you to race on any racetrack that has been unlocked. There are five difficulty levels you can select from: Custom, Training, Easy, Hard, and Ultra. The highest difficulty introduces up to 7 opponents.
Custom allows you to select up to 7 opponents and choose between 3, 5, or 7 laps to race. You can also assign a profile to several of these opponents. A profile is essentially a record of a player racing around the racetrack. You could essentially record your own play, save it as ghost, and then use this ghost profile to compete against yourself. There are two pre-recorded profiles for each level provided by the developers.
|Customize your bike and face|
Championship mode takes you through all the racetracks in MRYF – it is similar to the Career Mode that you find in modern racing games. You can enter either the Easy or Professional championship. Easy mode only offers you 10 racetracks while professional mode offers you the full 11 racetracks.
There are four worlds to the game, and the breakdown of the 11 levels are shown below:
- Spaceport with 3 levels that feature asteroids that fly around you,
- War with 3 levels bearing lava, uneven terrain, and narrow tunnels,
- Inki with 3 levels has hexagonal obstacles and ramps aplenty, and
- Antarktida comprising of only 2 levels of twisted tracks in an icy cold theme.
|This tunnel has teeth!|
You need to score points before you can progress to the next level. Points are awarded depending on which position (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) you attain at the end of the race. When you have accumulated enough points and completed a particular world, you can proceed to the next world.
Here’s a tip: If you are at the 3rd level and complete that race and attain a poor placing, don’t be tempted to move on to the next world even though you have scored just enough points. If you do return to reattempt this racetrack, you will lose all points that you had attained beyond that 3rd level.
MRYF racing is an adrenaline pumping experience. You must at times race through narrow confines, negotiate dastardly obstacles such as pits and walls. You will also need to jump over obstacles (with the space bar), but watch the ceiling. If you fall off the racetrack, you will reset at that point and waste precious seconds.
Fortunately, you have a boost power that you can use. Extra boost level is collected by moving your bike over a gold PCB style texture. Boost power can be activated to accelerate your bike to dizzying speeds, so watch out when navigating bends at such high speeds.
|Recharging my boost power|
Now and then, you will see a yellow or green ring that you can jump through to be awarded either boost power or a speed up power respectively.
During your race, you will notice your enemy AIs are quite smart. There will always be one or two who seem to be extra faster and adept at boosting. As is typical of other racing games, don’t slow down… keep holding your boost key (defaults to the shift key), and collect the powers and recharge your boost level. If an opponent surges too far ahead, you will probably have no hope of catching up to him.
|The challenge ramps up in the world of Inki|
The music is appropriately fast with thumping beats that set your heart pumping and your palms sweating. The only voicework I hear are simple boasts from riders as they overtake each other. There are the requisite engine buzz, obstacle bumps, boost recharging, and bonus power collecting sounds that are barely noticeable over the exciting music.
To wrap up, there are a few things I truly dislike about MRYF:
- Firstly, the levels in each world are quite identical. There is not that much variation between them and the obstacles only get harder and harder to overcome.
- Secondly, the AI is almost impossible to beat on the harder levels.
- Finally, you can’t attack your opponents with projectiles. You must rely on bumping into your opponents to throw them off skew for that precious few seconds you need to overtake them.
|I gotta jump through the green ring to catch up.|
Nevertheless, I think MRYF is a pretty decent racing game. It may be old, but it is still very much worth playing. I think you should enjoy this game even though it may seem simple with not much variation to the tracks.