It seems like HotShoe’s been around a while, but it was only last year that he burst on the scene with his track making debut, “HotShoe’s Trail”. Although it pales in comparison with what he’s now capable of, it’s definitely a very good track, with the principle attraction being its “race-worthiness. Now that he has a little “road experience”, Shoe’s without a doubt one of <u>the</u> most creative & innovative track makers out here. He doesn’t just make a track to race on; he gives the racer something to think about, and sometimes you’re thinking about as you’re tumbling off the side of a mountain lol.
“SLO Construction” transitions back and forth between dirt and paved road with approximately 45/55 mix (dirt to paved) percentage wise. To my knowledge Shoe’s the first track maker to take advantage of Malibu350’s textures converted over from EVO 1-2, and he’s put them to good use. Typical of Shoe’s style, you won’t find lots of outright flat straights. He firmly believes in angles, acute turns, “air time” (jumps – modest to extreme), banks, and varying degrees of elevation changes. Also worth noting is this track isn’t modeled after any place in particular. Nevertheless, the layout is purposeful, and I’ll drop a clue to that purpose at the end of this review.
The setting is that of a somewhat hilly, slightly underdeveloped area with modest forestry and an array of construction vehicles scattered throughout. The dirt roads are ultra smooth, making for a pretty nice ride, nicely complimenting the speed you’ll achieve once you get to the paved roads. The road block signs you’ll encounter before each jump seem…well, not seem; they DO get out of your way in a hurry upon impact, dropping to the waters below in an unusual and hasty fashion. I asked Shoe how he did that, but he claimed not to know. (weirdo track makers – what can ya say lol).
The interesting twist to “SLO Construction” comes right after checkpoint 8, where you take a double jump in an area undergoing sectional road repairs. He set it up so that it’s impossible to hit the jump at full speed. Doing so will result in a little “truck gymnastics”. The optimum speed before getting airborne seems to be around 75 mph. Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds since the approach is set on a decline, thus you’ll have to make a concerted effort to slow your pace, some times dramatically so. Careful though; slow up too much and…well, it won’t be pretty lol. Give it a go though – you’ll see. I wouldn’t be surprised if like me, the first few times you attempt that jump, you associate Shoe’s name with a slew of socially unacceptable words & phrases.
Shoe’s talent for making tracks with great layouts is quite impressive to say the least, and his eye for knowing just how much or how little to employ décor give his tracks a very natural and realistic look. Finally, the guy has a heck of an imagination. If you want proof positive, activate the map on this track and read it…and I don’t mean in they typical fashion, either. Uh, that’s a clue, by the way.
This baby picks up an impressive 9.25 out of 10
possible points. Hey, if I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a thousand times, if he wants a 10 he needs to start forking over some cash (like Mal), or putting my pic in his tracks. He’s done neither, so I guess we’ll continue to play this little game until he gets his mind right lol. Awesome work, Shoe – great stuff, bud. See, I CAN do a short review. Well, it’s kinda short…isn’t it?
Edited (07-10-2002) by SLO_COPE