Pros:The best stress relief you can afford, great multiplayer options and extras
Cons:The music can get repetitive
The Bottom Line: For the metal-crunching enthusiast in the family, this is a must-have. Excellent variety, game play, options and challenge.
This was another game I first played on a demo disk from Dreamcast magazine, and I was hooked from the start. I have an affinity for the racing and crashing games, but was never really satisfied with the graphics, damage and options... until now. This game has amazing range, a wide array of cars, various types of game play and options that don't seem to end.
Recommend this product?
The Basic Game -
You have your choice of arena-style demolition, or circuit racing. In both, the goal is to cause the most damage to the other players, while remaining alive yourself. You can play in leagues or single races, depending upon your mood. The single race is a non-continuing smash-em-up which exists only in the round. Based upon how far you've gotten in the game in general, you will have a choice of car. (There are six leagues, and after completing each one you are awarded a trophy and a new selection of vehicles. If you use your VMU, the game saves and you can use these new cars in single race or demolition with 2-players. You cannot, however, use new cars in earlier leagues.) You also have the option of styling your car in the paint shop. You can't change it's physical dynamics, but you can give it new colors and a logo. There are about 20 different tracks to play, and you can also play them in reverse. Variation is key. The single race ends when you either finish or explode.
Types of Death -
You can explode due to cumulative damage. There are two single-strike moves, however, which will kill instantly. They are the "T-Bone" move, whereby you strike another car with great force directly in the side (200 points), or the "Death From Above" maneuver, whereby you hit a ramp, jump, and land directly on top of another car (500 points.) Both are difficult to do, but the Death From Above takes either a skilled driver, or great luck. I'd put more stock in the latter.
You can pick up various boxes to assist or hinder you along the way. There are boxes for health (green), sapping another car's strength (purple), turbo boost (orange), gain 100 points (white with plus), lose 100 points (white with minus), shield (blue), or damage to you (grey).
Hitting a car in different ways wins you different points. Head-on is worth nothing, so don't do it. The strength, speed and angle of hit can make it worth anywhere from 5 points to 60 points. Killing a car with cumulative damage gets you 75 points, spinning a car wins various points, pushing a car into a hazzard is worth 90 points, and we've already discussed the death moves. Basically, hit it until you can hit no more.
Finishing first will multiply your damage points by 25. Every other position will multiply your points by decreasing numbers, so finish well and with many points. That's the only way to win.
The two-player option allows for split-screen simultaneous play in either arena or race modes. There are options for racing, including team play, head-to-head, last man standing and suicide.
The extras are earned by winning leagues. There is tennis (like the old fashioned Pong game, but more fun,) big-car hunter (you can use the light gun or the other controller to both target and shoot cars,) football (push objects into the goals using your car,) and tossers (use a catapault to fling your car, with trajectory and power, to crush the other player.) These are almost as much fun as the main game itself.
So far, I've won the first 5 leagues. I cannot, however, find a way to win even the second race of the final league, called "Ugly Cars." These cars are deliberately crappy, with little power, shielding or handling. If anyone knows how to get through this league... Help!
The only thing I could think to mention as a "con" is the music. The music is not distracting, but it can get very repetitve if you play for a long time.
Ultimately, this game combines excellent graphics, realistic damage (you have decreasing control as the car crumbles) and enough options and variation to keep your interest for a long time to come.