In Juiced the racing is all about car modification, and the starting line is the raw material: the stock cars - all 47 of them. These range from family compacts right up to powerful US V8's and high performance imports, split over 8 different classes. To start with, not everything is bright and shiny? that's the first thing you have to change when you buy your first car.
You have the choice of picking up second-hand bargains as well as new models, which is important because at the start of the game you won't have much money. At the bottom of the pile is the scrap yard, where every car is cheap but in need of major attention. Next up is the auto dealer's back-yard where good bargains can be had. The best, of course, come from the showroom and these cars are the most reliable choice? it's also the only place you'll find the newer models.
Balancing your cash reserves is important all through the game, but so is earning the respect of the other crews. With that in mind, what you do to your car and how your drive will determine your standing in Angel City. As you progress, you'll also sell cars too in order to progress, but ultimately you'll want to own a collection of the best cars in each street racing class. Add to this cars set up specifically for the stunt oriented 'Cruise' mode and you could end up owning dozens of different vehicles. That alone will be enough to earn you massive respect.
Juiced features a highly sophisticated physics engine based on state-of-the-art simulation techniques. The Juiced engine models the changing friction on each wheel in detail, and allows for detailed customization of performance and handling. Each individual car is set up with the correct centre of gravity, steering geometry, suspension layout, brake setup, bhp, torque, tire properties, wind resistance and gear ratios. No two cars are exactly the same, and there are well over a thousand different combinations of basic set-up parameters. That's all before you've even considered modifications. Now the fun really begins. There are approximately 7.2 trillion styling combinations to play with, and this number gets crazy when you add the performance modifications.
Performance modifications include aspects such as brakes, air intakes, engine management systems, exhaust systems, gearbox ratios, suspension, nitrous, and turbo systems and more. Juiced gives you a unique way to check the results of your spending. When you first buy the car, take it to the rolling road and check your torque, brake horsepower and theoretical top speed (rolling roads cannot calculate for wind resistance and road conditions). Once you have made some modifications, take it back to the rolling road and compare the results. Perhaps the most visible change in the performance curve comes with the addition of a turbo system. At a certain RPM, you'll see a marked jump in the data as the turbo power kicks in. On the road, you're sure to notice the improvement over a normally aspirated engine. Finally, take your wheels for a test spin and check it out for real.
Perhaps the quickest and biggest bang for your buck is to add a nitrous system to your car. This guarantees phenomenal increases in torque, which means greater acceleration but no big increase in top speed. Nitrous lasts just seconds, but it may just give you the edge and get you noticed in the lower ranks of street racers. But beware, without other performance mods your repair bills are likely to escalate.
Winning in Juiced won't just happen by boosting performance. You have to make sure you balance the handling to ensure that you maintain the advantage under all driving conditions. With a car that accelerates faster and reaches higher speeds, braking becomes a real issue. While an uprated engine will take you between corners faster, uprated brakes and suspension enable you to hold the driving line. On top of this, better tyres will help cope with loss of traction due to changing weather conditions, which are not just eye candy. Juiced features dynamic surface conditions: if it rains, the water build-up varies according to the intensity of the downpour and so does your traction. A word of warning here: don't race on worn tyres in the rain!
On the styling front, new wheels, lower suspension and a fresh coat of paint are as a good as a start as any. Depending on your choices, you won't have to spend too much cash to start getting noticed. Next up is to add body kits, and this is where the bills start mounting. In Juiced, cosmetic combinations alone offer a staggering amount of possibilities, which means that the chances of meeting anyone with an absolutely identical vehicle are more than one in 7.2 trillion! Of course, the more you spend on your car the more you lose when you smash it! Always make sure you have enough to meet the repair bills as well as the entry fees.
Body kits are not entirely cosmetic. Adding an air dam, side skirts and spoiler will affect drag and down force on the car. This means that you'll be trading a little acceleration and speed for increased road holding. It's therefore unwise to start making drastic styling changes before your performance and handling is sorted out.
Of course, if you overspend you always have the possibility to sell your wheels and go back to something more in your price range. That's where Juiced differs from most games in the genre? if your get reckless, you pay for your mistakes but you are able to develop your own strategies for getting out of trouble.