What it is to instantly become a millionaire playboy. No sooner does your bank account skyrocket with your seven-figure windfall than your life as you know it changes for ever. But we're willing to bet that a plummeting IQ isn't something you'd expect to encounter as a newly moneyed so-and-so. Yep; you'll be as dumb as a post by nightfall.
At least that's the impression Glimmerati gives, as you play the nephew of a recently-deceased millionaire uncle who met his untimely end in a freak jet-ski accident (no, really). As you're driving around Monaco in your new sportscar, undoubtedly mourning the loss of a close relative, you decide to race someone away from a set of traffic lights. Thus begins your adventures in Club Glimmerati, a group of people with more money and more time on their hands than sense.
That’s the foundation upon which Glimmerati is based and as you play through the game you’ll be required to compete in, and win, various races against the clock and/or other members of the club in order to progress. New cars are up for grabs, as are tabloid headlines, nights out in glamorous clubs and the affections of the numerous buxom females adorning the game. The locations the game takes in are equally attractive, with your travels encompassing convincing takes on Paris, Monte Carlo, the Alps and Milan. A points ranking, based on both your on- and off-track antics, provide a semblance of order and an overall goal to aim for; if you’re sat at the top at the end of the game you are, quite certainly, da man. And ‘da man’ it’ll be; there’s no scope for women drivers, here – your character, though unseen throughout the entire game, is constantly referred to in the masculine and is almost constantly being offered the services of the aforementioned buxom females.
And so it is that you’re dispatched onto the streets of those exclusive resorts, behind the wheel of a fictional sportscar. Viewing the action from above, as if you were in a police helicopter chasing hooligans around housing estates, you can’t really tell that it’s not a proper Porsche you’re driving, but it’s a shame nonetheless. Especially as the game is set amid the excesses of the Eighties and a few Ferraris and Lamborghinis wouldn’t have gone amiss. But while the cars might not look very different from the in-game viewpoint, they do each have individual handling characteristics that are further influenced by the surface upon which you’re driving. In fact, it’s quite a detailed experience as you fishtail on snow and ice and go light cresting the in-game hills. It all ties in nicely with the varied visuals to make an entertaining racer that provides close, competitive races and some unusual action sequences that mean you can never be sure what’s coming next.
It’s therefore a shame that Glimmerati is saddled with such an excessively misogynistic gimmick as the fictional millionaire playboy club that gives the game its name. We’ve been playing games for a long time and few are as distasteful as this. The characters are so stereotypical as to be insulting, and the treatment of the women characters as objects to be won, lost or used and thrown away is appalling. If it had been done with a knowing wink or dose of good humour, we could forgive it. But as it is, Glimmerati is simply a game with unpleasant, exploitative sensibilities.
However, if you can get past this or simply enjoy reading magazines such as Zoo and Nuts, Glimmerati offers a slice of racing action that’s about as different as you’ll find without ditching your four-wheeled friend altogether. The difficulty level isn’t tremendously balanced (of all the performance motors in the game, you can win nearly all the races with just the fifth most powerful) and there are frequent glitches in the way that the cars handle, but then if you are seeking that kind of authentic racing challenge, this isn’t the game for you - save your money for Asphalt Urban GT 2. For those with a taste for more exotic and erratic racing thrills, Glimmerati could well be your kind of club.