Speed Limit (PS4 Review): Cinematic Death Scenes

Mashing up a multitude of arcade and 16-bit style titles, Speed Limit is an unforgiving, gutsy experience that will make speedrunners wet their pants.

What a suitably named title: Speed Limit. But with this action retro title, there is no limit, yet it is very restrictive. Nice one, Yoda – start the review with some mumbo-jumbo contradictive thinking…

Is it possible to say how good a game is without experiencing all of it? It’s a given that a Ferrari is a decent car, but have you driven one? Speed Limit is no Ferrari, neither is it a lazy reference to the ferocity that this action title produces. If anything, it’s a muscle car: loud, visceral and plenty of understeer. Plus, it looks cool, too.

Who needs exposition? Not me. Minding your own business on a train, a haggard NPC stumbles towards you, gun in hand, and palms it to you. In an instant, ‘the feds’ are onto you – already aboard the train, and with a New York minute, SWAT come through the skylights, trenchcoat types hiding behind newspapers ready to stick you with a knife, and some knucklehead with a minigun posing on the roof of the train, preventing you from ‘minding the gap’ of the detaching carriages.

Speed Limit (PS4 Review)

Intense? You’re kidding, right? With three difficulty levels to choose from; Arcade, Easy and ‘you must be using a cheat code’ – Normal, the argument could be that there are options. There are indeed, but Speed Limit, from Gamechuck and Chorus Worldwide, is still ludicrously hard. 

Speed Limit - Top down, shoes off
Top down, shoes off. Source: Steam

But let’s not fast-forward your hereditary baldness. It’s moderately sensible to play this in small doses. Then again, you won’t be saving your progress (just the stats), and have to complete it in one go as if in the arcades.

I played this blindfolded with one hand, the other disassembling a Beretta. On broken glass

A massive fabrication. I struggled with Speed Limit to the point where there won’t be a review score of the game – not because it’s bad, but a number won’t justify things as I can’t finish it. Unless you’re naturally good at old school games, this retro title is not suited for casual gamers.

Casual Sex Action

I’m not a casual gamer; however, I’m no pro either and won’t be writing any guides on how to finish Sekiro, as I can’t. Speed Limit never really gains momentum if you don’t have the reflexes of a cat on speed. 

The concept is amazing. I love how the game mashes up a plethora of genres – all of those us oldies played at the arcades like Narc and Dragon Ninja, to 16-bit classics like Desert Strike or Chase H.Q. The variety is brilliant, and I can’t fault the versatility of this game. It really does play out like an action movie. The only thing missing is Arnie or JCVD at the helm.

Speed Limit Gets Discounted
Source: Steam

But the reason it doesn’t reach its peak when it comes to tempo is the constant starting and stopping due to dying. Let’s rule out the normal mode as I’m still working on it. For Easy, when you die, you respawn (albeit super-swift), and reappear relatively closely where you died. In the Arcade mode, you have multiple lives, but when you die, you have to insert a coin to continue from a prearranged checkpoint.

Don’t put coins into your PS4.

The Arcade option gives you free-play and coin options, and while technically the first option is correct, after so many lives, you will get that continue screen where you might return to the menu if you’re still in ‘action mode’. The issue with this is you have to start again.

Up, Down, Left, Left, A, B, A, B

Despite having an ‘easy’ option and free-play, Speed Limit is super hard, and gameplay is frequently interrupted. The opening sequence reminded me of the Golden Force introductory boss level – not remotely welcoming for a starting level.

In the case of the opener, you dash along train carriages shooting the enemies in front of you, behind, and those on the roof of the train. Progress further, and the lights will go out via tunnels, reaching the surface to jump over carriages while ducking and diving to shoot and avoid enemies. Oh yeah, and the helicopter that’s shooting at you too.

Speed Limit is a perfect 80s action film, though. It’s completely OTT, exciting and engaging where you want to see it through, but as you jump over a carriage, a train signal instantly wipes you out. Respawn, then after a few attempts, you reach the other side only to be gunned down as you hesitated.

Speed Limit PS4 Review - Feel the burn
Feel the (after)burn. Source: Steam

Moving on to the next level, you’re pursued by enemy cars and motorcycles while avoiding head-on collisions with vehicles that are heading the right way. Switch lanes, and you’re avoiding roadblocks or crashing into concrete walls. It’s mental.

Get To The Choppa!

It got to the point where I conceded that I’m not good enough at this game to see it through in its entirety, let alone tweak the time it takes to do my runs. When you’re reaching almost 100 deaths by the second level in 10 minutes of gameplay, you have to ask yourself if it’s too difficult, or maybe you’re just shit at it.

I think it’s 40/60. If there were a cheat code, like back in the days of these games, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it. As mentioned, the concept is brilliant. The chunky pixels look great, the soundtrack gets the adrenaline going, and various levels will keep the MTV generation content. It’s a bit like 198x but with go-faster stripes.

Unless putting in more time will improve things, or there’s a cheat code out there, it’ll probably remain a game that I’ll never 100%. Objectively speaking, you can’t give a bad assessment of a game just because you’re crap at it, nor would I poo-poo a game because I didn’t like it – I really like Speed Limit, but it’s just far too difficult for my delicate hands.

Pros

  • Great retro graphics.
  • Lots of variety.
  • 3 difficulty modes.
  • Replay value for speed runs.
  • Gets the adrenaline pumping.

Cons

  • Ridiculously hard (for me).
  • Environmental hazards feel unfair.
  • You can’t save progress, just stats.
  • Side-scrolling controls can feel a little laggy.