May 31, 2007 - Championship Sprint first hit arcades way back in 1986 and along with Super Sprint was the predecessor to the more widely-known Ivan Stewart's Super Off Road. Championship Sprint featured wheels for two players (Super Sprint featured three) and the main draw of the game was being able to whip the wheel around as quickly as possible to cut corners, and then catching it to correct your direction and head down the straightaways.
There wasn't much to the game beyond that aside from that fact that you could collect wrenches that randomly appear once on each track and use them to upgrade your car. It was a very simple setup that, again, focused on flinging around the extremely loose wheels.
Championship Sprint has now hit the PlayStation Network as a downloadable title for the PlayStation 3, though obviously without the wheel. What's left is an extremely simple game that doesn't contain the main draw the title was designed around, leaving it almost entirely pointless. Only a lifeless (and laggy) multiplayer game has been added to the mix, which means there aren't any save points, no ending and again, little to no point.
The main problem with the port is the controls. Had the controls been tweaked to make better use of the Sixaxis, it might make for an okay arcade racer, but instead we've received a downright terrible steering system. Turning is way too touchy and there isn't any sort of analog input, meaning that the left analog stick offers no advantage over the D-pad.
While the wheel helped draw attention away from the game's design flaws, they're left to stand out here. Most tracks have a couple different walls that open and close during the race, allowing you to cut corners when they're open. The stupid part is that they open often enough that you don't really save any time by passing them up when they're closed, so you might as well sit and wait.
The upgrade system is somewhat random as only one wrench appears on each level and if it happens to appear in front of the computer, you're waiting until the next round to increase your count. The ability to upgrade your ride is cool, though outside of the multiplayer it doesn't serve much of a point as you're playing an arcade game that you can't save, which means your time and effort will eventually reset to zero anyway.
Again, a big part of the problem here is that it's an arcade game without its biggest draw (the wheel) and without any sort of ending or real way to finish it, and this isn't the sort of game we could see people wanting to play for high scores.
The one new addition is the ability to play online. The online engine really just acts as if two people are standing around an arcade machine, so you both need to press Start to join in after you've launch the game, and one player could lose and not continue and just sit there and watch the other player. Once they quit the game will end, however.
The problem with the online though is that it's laggy. Sometimes it's very apparent with stuttery and slow visuals, but even when it looks to move quickly there's a noticeable but slight lag in the controls. With a game that moves as quickly as this, that's a major problem. You can readjust your timing and partially overcome the issue, but it'll never be perfect and it's disappointing that this problem is there at all.
Our last question that we have for everyone involved in this is why was Championship Sprint ported over and not Super Sprint? The latter allowed for three players while this title only allows for two. Of course, either game could (and probably should) have been modified to allow for four players, but the decision to go with the one that only allows two over the one that allows for three is very strange.
Championship Sprint is a giant waste of money. The game is boring as a singleplayer title and it doesn't hold up at all without the arcade wheel. Spend your $5 on a cheeseburger or couple slices of pizza instead - those ten minutes you'll take to eat will be far more enjoyable than any time you'll spend with this (and better for you, too).