Jak X: Combat Racing
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|Jak X: Combat Racing|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Series||Jak and Daxter|
Jak X: Combat Racing (Jak X in Europe and Africa) is a vehicular combat game video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2. The game was developed for 11 months with a budget of $10 million,  and was 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.
The development on Jak X began in 2004. 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 Maker 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 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 with minute doses of a slow acting poison known as Black Shade. 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 four cups, Jak and his friends must race and win each round of the race to gain entrance to the championship.
During the gang's racing, Kiera acts as their primary mechanic, eventually building faster new vehicles to aid Jak in his races. However her true wish is to race alongside her friends but Samos forbids it due to the dangerous nature of the competition. Sig (from Jak 3) also appears to assist the crew, whereas Kleiver appears to challenge Jak with a friendly rivalry. Pecker, manages to become a co-announcer working with T.V. Personality and Star GT Blitz, and also as an investigative reporter.
The main antagonists are members of a rival crime family to Krew's, led by the mysterious and unidentified boss, Mizo. Mizo's top henchmen, Cutter, Edje, and Shiv are Jak's main competition, but due to their failure to defeat Jak, Mizo's #2, Razer, a famous racer, comes back out of retirement. Finally another competitor enters for Mizo, a robot known as UR-86. During the continuing competitions, stories of Blitz's father enter the mix as his father was a legendary racer for the Kras City Grand Championship, while Rayn continues to search through her father's video diaries searching for more information on Mizo and any information that may assist the team in defeating him. Animosity grows between Mizo's racers and Rayn and Jak and the gang as Jak continues to win races making Mizo more and more desperate.
As the final race approaches, GT Blitz enters as a mystery racer for Mizo's team. Kiera finally jumps into the race as well. Nonetheless, Jak completes and wins the Kras City Grand Championship. Blitz angrily storms over to Rayn claiming she cheated, before revealing himself to be Mizo. Mizo then steals the antidote and drives off with it with Jak in pursuit. Jak manages to damage Mizo's car enough that he ends up in a fiery crash. As Jak retrieves the antidote, Mizo mentions his father's "sick" love of racing and how his father's neglect to his family in the name of the sport caused his family to strive to own all of it. As Jak walks away, Mizo takes a shot at Jak by noting his habit of "Leaving people to die," referencing when Jak left Krew to die in Jak II and left a deceased Damas behind in Jak 3. Jak responds with "You get used to it," before Mizo's car explodes, killing Mizo.
Jak and the team celebrate with drinks at a bar where Samos acknowledges Kiera's good driving indicating that he has accepted that she has grown up. Rayn bids the team farewell, but leaves a figment of Krew's video diary which Daxter activates, presenting a hologram of Krew telling Rayn how to pour the wine to avoid being poisoned and outlining his plan for his family to become the top crime family in the region. This reveals Rayn to be even more rotten and manipulative than her father, and shows that she had been lying to and using the team the whole time. Rayn drives away calling her associates for a crime family meeting, claiming herself as the one in charge. She also tells her associates to spare Jak's team. Regardless, Jak and the team continue to celebrate, and Jak and Kiera finally share a kiss at Daxter's encouragement after having been interrupted by Daxter in classic fashion as had been seen in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, and Jak II.
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"Jak X: Combat Racing" received favorable reviews from critics, and currently holds a 77.01% approval rating on GameRankings based on 57 reviews and 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. Eurogamer rated the title 7/10. They were impressed by the game's sensation of speed, the variety provided by the different modes and the online functionality but thought it suffered from the occasional difficulty spike and "loose, floaty handling" of the vehicles. It was later added to the Sony's Greatest Hits section.
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.
- "Naughty Dog - 30 Year Timeline". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 13 August 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.