All games begin in the garage, where user’s are prompted to select a car manufacturer, with the choices including Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Toyota. Next, a list of cars designed by the selected maker is displayed for choosing. Each car is given ratings based on handling, top speed, and acceleration. The faster, quicker accelerating, and high handling cars will perform the best in races, but most cars are really good in two of the three areas, so users will need to make decisions. Once a car has been chosen, and the user has designated an Automatic or Manual transmission preference, it’s time to hit the track. Tune-ups will come later once championship points have been accumulated.
Racing can be done in the championship mode, which is an entire one-player season in which high finishes in races allow the user to unlock more cars, part upgrades, and new tracks. Conversely, the quick race mode is a fast-paced competition on any of the tracks. Versus mode is a head-to-head match up on any of the courses using the Game Boy Advance Link Cable. Time attack mode takes opponents out of the mix and allows users to race against the clock, trying to beat personal and computer set records.
Lagging behind in the races or time trials, or not sure if you selected the right car? Not a problem. Practice mode gives racers a chance to hone their skills, especially around turns, and see how fast and far cars can make it, all without the pressure of opponents or a time limit. Finally, there are two secret modes of play that can be unlocked by winning races.
Users can return to the garage at any time, and after accumulating enough wins and points in championship mode, the option to do a little car tinkering will become available. A black star designates available parts, and upgrades can be applied to engine speeds, suspension, the muffler, grip, top speeds and acceleration, frame weight, driver’s seat, filter, and overall aerodynamics.
Numerous racetracks are available to compete on, designated by names such as Hornet. Upon selecting a course, users will be shown a map of the course, as well as the top lap and race speeds attained by previous racers. The cars can be steered using the control pad, while the A button accelerates and the B button brakes. For user’s selecting a manual transmission, the R and L buttons shift up and down. On the game screen, racers are given total time, lap time, lap total, and position information, as well as their speed, gear, and a small picture of the course map, which gives the advanced a racer a chance to anticipate the turns and storm to the head of the pack, in search of a championship trophy.