This sequel improves upon the original in every way, at least enough to end up being the most enjoyable racing experience on a system that's flooded with racing games. If you can't go to Tokyo to experience the real thing (or if you can but want to avoid the risks associated with driving 100+ MPH on a road with specific instructions against exceeding 50 MPH), then you owe it to yourself to pick up Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2 for the Sega Dreamcast.
The sequel is based on the same premise as the original: use a small initial allotment of funds to purchase a beater/banger, and then head out to the streets of the Tokyo Highway for a night of Xtreme Racing. You can drive around the expansive highway for as long as you want, but the real fun comes when you encounter a rival vehicle. Flash your high beams at the opponent (or the other way around, as a new feature in the sequel), and if he accepts the proposal, the two of you race, right then and there. Racing is done like a fighting game, with each car holding an energy meter. The energy meter of the car that's trailing drains slowly and the first one to lose all his energy loses the race. By winning races, you earn credits which can be used for buying new cars or making modifications, from adding parts, getting a new paint job, buying new car stickers - over one hundred modifications in all are possible. Once you've finished the race, you continue on your drive until you've found the next opponent, and so on.
This "quest" mode is the heart of the game, although there are a few other modes as well. You'll find a time attack mode in which you can pick a section of the Tokyo Highway and race around that area improving your time, a free run mode in which you race around the highway freely, and a quick race mode in which you race against a series of rival cars, each stronger than the last. Unfortunately, there's no multiplayer support what-so-ever - this game is meant for one and one player alone.
But that's alright. Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2 works just fine as a fully single player game because the quest mode will keep you busy for days. As with the original, due to the way in which the quest mode is set up (which features you racing around the highway non-stop, searching for your next opponent), a single game session will end up taking hours. No complaints, though, especially from someone who's managed to spend hours working non-stop at a single track in other games. There's something amazingly relaxing about being able to drive of your own free will through the highway - in some cases I actually found myself hoping that an opponent would end up being far away from my car, so I would have to chase him down. Of course, once you've actually initiated a race, the game becomes very intense.
The quest mode benefits heavily from the new additions made to the sequel by Genki - in fact, other than the improved graphics over the original, most changes to the game were made in the free quest mode alone. You're still limited to one track, unfortunately, but it is much longer, with more varied landscapes and more interconnecting paths. Expect to find tight stretches with numerous twists and turns, as well as flat stretches, where the road grows wide, and where you can see the true sensation of speed given to us by this beast of a game engine. Very impressive (keep in mind I'm comparing to similar titles of the time, not Project Gotham Racing or Forza MotorSport you see today).
There are only a couple of downsides to the Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2. The driving model, once again, ends up feeling more based on luck than skill too often, although the actual feel of the cars has improved dramatically over the original. The interface has been made a bit too slow, with a lengthy load time when previewing a car and an even lengthier load time when heading out to the highway - perhaps such is the cost of having a real-time preview of your car on the road when selecting your vehicle.
The biggest offender, of course, involves the premise of the game itself; driving around a single raceway and searching for opponents may not be for everyone - if you simply hated the original, you may want to ignore this, and if you're not sure, you may want to rent it first (if you can still find it, that is). If you loved the original definitely check out this Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2!