With Need for Speed Underground 2 and Midnight Club 3 Dub Edition ruling the roost, any challenger was always going to have a tough fight on their hands. Unfortunately for Namco and Codemasters, that fight is just too great.

Paling by comparison to the above two games, SRS Street Racing Syndicate just doesn't provide the goods when push comes to shove.

Graphics are average and gameplay uninspired as you race around restricted courses against other computer or internet-based players.

The decision to make the races on closed tracks, but offer an open city to trawl around to find those races is where, in our minds this game misses out to Midnight Club 3.

Like NFSU2 and Midnight Club you can spend the time between races upgrading your car in both performance and style .Just like the above mentioned top two rivals, you can upgrade and change just about anything from engine performance to paint jobs and spoilers.

One area where the game does seem to differ is that the 40 or so cars included in the game can be damaged. Damage it too much and you'll have to pay for repairs rather than upgrades.

Races are scored on two counts winning and style, however you can gain style points just by overtaking someone or dragging them. Get in the lead from the start and you're points won't be as high as if you struggle in the back ranks, which is a strange way of rewarding players who do well from the outset.

Graphics are dark and at times dreary, with no real sense of speed. In fact if you kit out your car with nitros and use it, everything actually slows down rather than speeding up, which as far as we're concerned will be the kiss of death for most petrolheads.

Verdict

This is a poor mans version of NFSU2 and Midnight Club. Even close shots of big breasted women in the cutscenes can't save this game (and is a pretty desperate move anyway). With such high levels to complete against, SRS unfortunately gets lapped by the competition but we're sure they'll be back next year to give it another go.