You begin Speed Devils as a hotshot racer who has recently been sponsored by a mysterious benefactor. He starts off providing you with a little money to pick out a car to get started with and then appears sporadically throughout the game, setting tasks for you to complete during certain races, such as making sure that a particular competitor isn't one of the first three cars to pass the finish line or avoiding taking more than 20 percent damage. If you succeed in following his requests, he'll reward you with extra items, upgrades, even cars.
You race in a handful of progressively difficult tournaments, each with its cast of racers you compete against for prize money. Cash is awarded for placement, highest speed, and time spent in the lead, or you can also make money by busting police radars, which is done by driving faster than the prescribed speed limit for a stretch of road. The more your speed exceeds the limit, the more money you make. Also, from time to time between races your opponents will visit your garage and wager cash on the next race. If you continually beat them, they'll become frustrated and raise their bets to vendetta status, meaning it's your car or theirs - may the best man win, and all of that. These little side-quests, as well as those set by your benefactor, add a lot of variety and personality to the game.
Once you've won enough races, you can move on to the next class and compete against a tougher group of drivers, or you can choose to stay in a lower class until you feel you've acquired enough money to step into the next class in style. But courses in the tournaments vary in the order they're presented and in weather, the direction you race (mirror), and a special hidden element, so you won't be repeating the exact same tracks in the exact same order time and time again.
This adds challenge, and if you meet the challenges successfully, all the money that you make can be used to buy new parts for your car - like better engines, tires that are suited to different types of terrain and weather conditions, and nitro boosts - or even new cars entirely. Usually though a good portion of your hard earned money will go to repairing damages. This however is a very cool feature, the damaging of the cars, its nice to have that realism, I mean if you wreck there should be damage!
Visually the game is excellent, though it's a first gen dreamcast game it looks great (game was released 1999) each car comes with about a dozen color choices and each level has unique elements. In Hollywood you'll have to watch out for TREX as he parades about causing trouble. On another jets zoom by leaving smoke in their wake. Racing the same track at night or under different weather can result in different effects also. The game has lots of eye candy, from the great looking cars, to the gorgeous courses and smooth frame rate and the special extra effects (especially towards the end) really just make for a great game visually and overall. There are some flaws. The cars seem to float rather than being physically glued to the road, they seem to hover or glide and the cars never show any dirt even on muddy courses which kind of messes up the whole realism thing with the damage.
The music isn't nearly as great as the games graphics but are appropriate for this arcade style game. The biggest problem with the game is the multiplayer, unlike the excellent single player there are major issues with multiplayer. First off only two people can race even though its possible for four to have raced on the dreamcast, this coupled with the fact that you can't race against AI controlled cars or use your cars you built up in the championship make for a terrible multiplayer experience especially by today's standards what with online racing and all. I believe an online update was later added to the game but that won't do you much good now that seganet is offline.
Though the terrible multiplayer ruins the game's replay value the game is still worth playing, the one player experience is excellent, from the awesome visuals to the fantastic gameplay that increases in difficulty as you progress (though not controller breaking difficult) will have you playing to the end.