The popular MTV show Pimp My Ride has been turned into a not so popular game. For anyone that has not watched the TV series, it simply involves finding teenagers that drive what can best be described as scrap metal and turning it into something pimp. Making a car “pimp” involves adding every over the top feature imaginable, from massive spoilers, spinning wheel rims, glittering car paint or even a hot tub on the roof. In concept it sounds like a poor Need for Speed storyline but in practice the game can best be compared to mindless mini-games meeting repetitive challenges and mundane driving.
The game does deserve some credit for following an original concept instead of simply recreating games that have already been done well and doing a terrible job (which is expected from most titles based on TV shows). Unfortunately the credit ends when you begin to play the game and quickly learn that the game has the depth of a foot spa. Driving around the city, you must collect money to reach a target, where you can then begin to pimp someone’s ride. How do you get money? Well you can do a range of tasks that have no reason to give you money! Simply drive into every car that you see to receive their coins, drive into meters and billboards or take part in the large selection of three mini-games.
Whilst you do earn a lot of money by completing mini-games, it is usually easier to keep your finger on the accelerator and just plough through everything in your path, as this will quickly earn you thousands. However it is understandable that you would want to complete something that is slightly interesting, so you may ride to one of three mini-games on the city map to take part in ‘Cruise Control’, ‘Ghost Ride the Whip!’ or ‘Hot Steppin’’. Cruise Control requires you to drive in front of a small crowd, cruise past them (easily done by the LButton) and press a combination of keys in order, usually less than 5. Whilst it is hard to understand how this would earn money, at least it does not strip you of any dignity you may have, unlike the other two games.
Ghost Ride the Whip! and Hot Steppin’ both require you to let your car roll along as you dance alongside; performing a range of hip-hop dance moves such as shaking like your cold, doing karate the hip-hop way or even flipping around like a mad man. Whilst both of the mini-games feature you repeating the exact same action, they do have a different control style to perform the dance moves. Ghost Ride the Whip! requires you to perform a string of button presses within a specific time limit whilst Hot Steppin’ reduces the difficulty level to moronic, having you simply press one button (A) at the correct time. Considering that you will be trying to obtain money for the majority of the game, it would have been nice if they would have included more methods to obtain it.
Now that the painful endurance for money has ended you can race to the next customer requiring your car customisation abilities. Given two minutes to race to the customer’s house in the city you can either rush or simply park up and wait for the timer to run out, as the game will continue to the next stage if you make it or not. After a short cu-scene of the customer screeching with excitement and the star of the TV show Xzibit making fun of them, you are on your way with the keys and the car to search the town for custom parts. Driving around the city you must stop at various destinations to pick parts for pimping the ride. Each destination will provide a small selection of parts, such as three wheel rims, four body kits or eight audio upgrades. Unfortunately your personal opinion or ability to mix a range of designs will matter little, as you will need to simply purchase the most expensive item to assure the customers approval. Since there is a rival trying to pimp the same ride with better items than yourself, you will need to impress the customer at the end of the time limit by having more expensive items. This removes any sense that you are actually pimping rides and instead gives you the task of nothing more than an errand boy.
Graphically the game is surprisingly good. Whilst the game does not push any boundaries, it provides an attractive city, crisp textures and detailed models. The main issue with the graphics concern the repeated models that plague the game; it is likely that you will see a road full of the same car model and crowds of identical characters several times. Another problem comes with the damage modeling, or lack of. Whilst it is understandable that the customer wants a pristine car, it can become frustrating to bounce cars, signs and even walls off your bonnet and see no damage whatsoever. This is made even more annoying by the fact that even the slightest bump in the road or a wall can stop your car in its tracks.
Little can be expressed concerning the sounds of Pimp My Ride as all the cars sound the same. Colliding into any object usually gives off the same gun-shot sound effect and the general public call out the same annoying cries. The game features a good list of popular music tracks however, many of which are from Xzibit’s album. However it would have been nice to have the choice of selecting which track to play or having more variety so the same track does not play several times in a row. Lastly the voice acting is of a decent quality as Xzibit does a fantastic job to perform such terrible lines. Unfortunately the teenage customers appalling, screechy voice acting quickly brings the quality down to nothing more than annoying.
With fifteen customers to pimp and then the chance to pimp out Xzibit’s car, it is unlikely that you will even want to complete the game. However if you do manage to achieve this amazingly mundane accomplishment you will unlock absolutely nothing and have little reason to replay the game again. The lack of any multiplayer and repetitive gameplay does not help improve the fact that Pimp My Ride lacks any replay value. Overall Pimp My Ride could have been a unique and enjoyable experience but lacks depth and has irritating gameplay to the point where not even fans of the series will enjoy the title.