Jak X: Combat Racing
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2009)|
|Jak X: Combat Racing|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Series||Jak and Daxter|
|Release date(s)||NA October 18, 2005
Jak X: Combat Racing (Jak X in Europe) is a vehicular combat game video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and first released in North America on October 18, 2005, then in Australia on October 26, 2005 and then in Europe on November 4, 2005. This is the fourth installment into the Jak and Daxter series, and the last Jak and Daxter game developed by Naughty Dog, which later work on Uncharted.
Jak X is modeled after the driving mechanics of Jak 3. Two songs by rock band Queens of the Stone Age, "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like a Millionaire" and "A Song for the Dead", from the album Songs for the Deaf, are featured in the game's intro. Most of the in-game musical tracks were written by Dean Menta of Faith No More and Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle, which can be recognized as the darker, more ambient tracks. This was the first Jak & Daxter game to feature multiplayer mode, the second being Daxter for the PlayStation Portable.
In Jak X: Combat Racing, the player controls characters from the Jak and Daxter series, all of which race in customizable dune buggy-like vehicles. The two main modes of play in the game are Adventure and Exhibition. Jak, the main character of the series, is the only playable character in the Adventure mode, and must participate in a series of Eco Cup Championships in the game's story to obtain an antidote to a poison he and his comrades have consumed. Jak can also take part in a variety of Events in the Championships as to earn Medal Points and advance through the ranks. The main Event of the game is the Circuit Race, in which Jak must finish a set of laps in a course while avoiding the wrath of the other racers. The player can destroy these racers as well by picking up Yellow and Red Eco weapons, with Yellow Eco acting as an offensive weapon made to attack and destroy opponents, and Red Eco acting as a defensive weapon made to protect the player from incoming attacks.
One year after the Dark Marker has been destroyed, Haven City has been steadily rebuilt after the defeat of the Dark Maker menace, and has grown into a peaceful utopia. A new sport called "Combat Racing" has sprung up in Kras City, a dangerous dystopian city full of ruthless gang-banging mobsters. Jak, Daxter, Ashelin, Samos, Keira and Torn are invited to the reading of Krew's (one of the villains of Jak II) last will, where they meet Krew's daughter, Rayn. After offering a toast, Krew reveals in a recording that he always wanted to win the Combat Racing championship and demands that everyone present drive for him, revealing that the wine they toasted with was poisoned. Krew gives them an ultimatum: win the next Kras City Championship as his team, and receive the antidote when they win, or die. Divided into 4 rounds Jak and his friends must race and win each round of the race to gain entrance to the championship.
Jak, Ashelin, and Torn enter the first race, and there they find out that Kras City Championship has been hosted by G.T. Blitz, a famous TV speaker, with his new partner being no other than Pecker (which enrages Daxter). The first race is held in Spargus City's downtown area, and Jak manages to win, defeating some of the goons who were also in the race. After the race Jak finds that the other drivers are racing for another crime syndicate led by the mysterious gang lord named Mizo, who wants Jak dead for entering the tournament.
Jak progresses through races, and Sig, hearing of his friends situation, returns from Spargus and joins the group to help them. Jak meets Razer, a retired professional championship racer, now working for Mizo, who assembles new drivers race against Jak, including a rogue Krimson Guard death bot named UR-86 in the end of the first round. After the end of the first round, Jak's rival, Kleiver. returns from Spargus and enters the tournament on the neutral side, though Jak easily realizes that he is on Mizo's payroll. As Jak continues, undefeated Razer comes out of retirement and enters the championship himself to kill Jak. Keira, worried about the situation, also wants to enter the race to help Jak, but Samos forbids her to race.
In the first race of the 4th round of the Kras City Championship, Jak's car is sabotages with mini explosives, jamming his weapons, and he barely manages to finish the race. G.T gives Jak a message left for him from Mizo, saying that he is willing to let Jak and his team walk away if he leaves the championship, however Jak refuses, much to G.T's surprise (who doesn't know that they are all poisoned). Jak later visits grumpy G.T at the bar, who reveals that his father used to race, and that a group of drivers killed him on the Deathdrome track, Jak informs him that the same explosives were used to sabotage his own car, G.T however remains uninterested about this and demands them to leave while he continues to drink. Rayn talks to Jak about his relationship with the team, when G.T reveals to Rayn that Jak left her father to die in the explosion that killed him, driving a wedge between her and Jak, and enraged, she enters the race on the neutral side.
Afterwards, Pecker arrives and reveals that something is just not right about Blitz. Jak is curious why Mizo wants to win the championship, and he furiously talks to Rayn, who reluctantly reveals that Krew and Mizo made a deal years ago; at the next Kras City Championship, Krew and Mizo will bring in their crew, and the loser of the championship will have to give all the business and crime rings to the another one and keep out of Haven and Kras forever. Rayn tells Jak that she didn't know about this, and she discovered it when they entered the championship, and that she doesn't know who will control Krew's legacy if they win the tournament. As the competition enters the final rounds, Jak and his friends begin to feel sick and will die if they don't win and get the antidote soon. Keira finally snaps, and decides to enter the race. Samos tries to forbid her again, but she yells at him, telling that her friends are also in danger and that she will drive to help them. Samos reluctantly agrees, but not before commenting that she is just like her mother.
Before the final race, Jak and his team learn on TV that a mysterious new driver has entered for the Mizo team. When Jak starts the final Grand Prix, he spots the driver and realizes that this driver is none other than Blitz himself. Jak wins the race, and Rayn arrives with the antidote, however the celebration is cut short when Blitz storms over to Rayn, accusing them of cheating. Blitz takes off his toupee and reveals himself to be none other than Mizo, and Pecker appears with a camera having broadcast his confession across Kras City. Mizo steals the antidote for the poison and drives off with Jak in hot pursuit. After a tense chase through Kras City, Jak manages to shoot down Mizo, causing him to crash.
As Jak retrieves the antidote, Mizo warns Jak that Rayn will betray him, Jak counters saying that Mizo killed his own father. Mizo says that his father abandoned his family for his "sick love of racing" and they swore to kill him and control the racing scene as a revenge. Jak turns his back on Mizo and walks away leaving Mizo to die in his flaming car. Mizo comments on Jak's habit of leaving people to die, just like he left Krew to die, to which Jak says "You'll get used to it..." as Mizo's car explodes, killing him.
Back at the lounge, Rayn thanks her friends for their help, and Samos compliments Keira on her driving and apologizes. As Rayn walks away, Daxter notices she left behind Krew's video diary. Daxter fools around with the diary and triggers a secret message to Rayn revealing that she knew about the poison before, and was never actually poisoned, confirming Mizo's earlier warning, and that Rayn is the actually successor of her father's legacy. As Rayn drives away, now in control of Mizo's gang and crime empire, she organizes a meeting of the cities head gangsters, however she tells her people to spare Jak, Daxter, and their crew (for now, at least). Jak and his friends decide not to pursue Rayn, feeling that she would do the same. In the final moment, Jak and Keira share their first unobstructed kiss. Daxter comments; "Eeeeuh! That's what I call a photo finish!".
Jak X: Combat Racing has met generally positive reviews from critics, and currently holds a score of 76 out of 100 on Metacritic. GameSpot gave the game 7.9/10 praising the game's graphics and online multiplayer system while criticizing the game's difficulty in certain modes. It was later added to the Sony's Greatest Hits section.
Autosave Memory Card controversy
Early copies of Jak X contained a programming glitch that can potentially affect a PlayStation 2 Memory Card. The first symptom of the glitch occurs sometimes after a race, during which the Autosave feature will continue to blink for a much longer duration than usual, or when the player goes to the garage before the race begins. Sometimes the game will no longer load and must be reset, while at other times the game will continue to run as normal. This glitch can potentially corrupt the Jak X save data, causing the game to no longer recognize the data at all. In some extreme cases, the entire memory card can be completely corrupted, or be filled up with space that cannot be deleted or written to. The only solution is to delete the data in the PS2 System Browser and restart the game from scratch.
A workaround is to take the memory card out after the game has successfully loaded and continue to play as usual, as the autosave cannot function without a memory card inserted into the system. When players need to save their game, they can return to the menu, replace the memory card, and save Jak X manually. The memory card should then be removed once the save process is complete if continued play is desired.
In the second week of April 2007, an e-mail was sent out from Caley Roberts, an associate producer at SCEA, to several users who had written to Naughty Dog about this issue, confirming that they have fixed the bug and are offering exchanges to those users who were affected. However, as of this time, a return e-mail address to actually contact Caley Roberts has not surfaced and any e-mail sent to SCEA only results in a response asking the sender to call their customer service, who is not informed first-hand how to help with the exchange program and suggest that the sender e-mail them instead. An issue of Official PlayStation Magazine stated that if the player's memory card is corrupted, the player can send in their copy of the game and memory card for a free copy of Jak X: Combat Racing, a new memory card, and a copy for free of a selection of SOCOM: Navy SEALs games.
The "Platinum" release of Jak X still has autosave errors. Neither SCEA nor Naughty Dog decided to take any responsibility for broken memory cards. SCEE's solution was to send a new memory card to victims of the glitch.
The soundtrack was done by Billy Howerdel (A Perfect Circle) and Dean Menta (Faith No More, Sparks) with additional assistance by Danny Lohner, Eric Bass, Josh Freese, Atom Willard, Joey Castillo, Paz Lenchantin, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Wes Borland.