Demolition Racer

Destructive racing game previewed

I've never been particularly good at racing games. In fact, whenever I get a new one, within days I've resorted to driving backwards around the track, trying to take out as many of the other drivers in as spectacular a fashion as I can.

Demolition Man

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Indoor racing

So when Infogrames sent us word of their new game "Demolition Racer", in which you are actually encouraged to "smash up cars", I was all ears...

The game will feature ten tracks to race on, ranging from freeways and speedways to a quarry and an aircraft carrier! There are also three "Demolition Derby bowls", large stadium arenas in which you must destroy all your competitors and be the last car left running at the end.

For a little more variety, the game also includes four different playing modes - straight first-past-the-line races, "gauntlet" races where two players drive around a track in opposite directions, "last man standing" for the bowl arenas, and a "suicide" mode in which you must destroy your own car as quickly as you can, again played out in the bowl arenas.

For your fender bending pleasure, you have a choice of eight different vehicles to drive, including the intriguingly named "High Impact Hearse". You can even customize your car. At first you just have a choice of twenty basic colours, but as you progress through the game you can add go-faster stripes, different coloured panels, and your choice of a wide range of logos.

Destruction

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"Wheels on fire..."

The game's developers, Pitbull Syndicate, are no strangers to car smashing - the company was founded by some of the demented brains behind the old "Destruction Derby" games.

As you would expect, much of the game's focus is on bodywork, damage, destruction, and mayhem. Tracks include destructible scenery like fences, barrels and doors to smash your way through, and cars fall apart convincingly as the damage notches up.

Each vehicle is split into 13 seperate damage zones, and depending on where you hit them and how hard, you will see the other cars with smoke and flames belching out of them, tires wobbling, and wheels and pieces of body work flying off.

Infogrames are claiming there are 1024 different levels of damage that can be applied to a car, and that the model will deform as it becomes more beaten up. There are also four different damage skins for each model, ranging from a pristine "just come out of the carwash" texture, to a battered "just about to fall apart" version.

Scores are awarded based on how thoroughly you destroy your competitors, starting with 5 point for spinning another car through 90 degrees, up to 500 points for a "Death From Above" - landing your car on another vehicle's roof! Oh yes, we like that.

Conclusion

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Crunch

With a range of leagues, arenas, tracks and gameplay options, up to fifteen other cars to smash up in a single race, and a soundtrack from the likes of Junkie XL and Fear Factory, this game is looking like being a real winner.

Let's face it, the most exciting part of any motor race is the accidents. Demolition Racer is a refreshingly honest game, which gives us what we all secretly want - crashes, spins, rolls, loose bodywork, fires, and all manner of spectacular "accidents".

This is one racing game I'm looking forward to...

John "Gestalt" Bye

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