You might not be familiar with the "Dukes Of Hazzard" TV series if you weren't a child of the 70's, so allow me to give you a quick run through...
In the town of Hazzard in the USA there are two brothers, Bo and Luke Duke, who are constantly in trouble with the law, as the police force objects to them racing all over the area in the General Lee (a classic 1970's American muscle car), jumping over rivers and breaking speed limits left, right and centre.
Repeat this pretty much every episode, add some annoying Texan accents, and you have the Dukes Of Hazzard. With a simple formula like that you have got to expect some form of arcade-style driving game, and unsurprisingly that is exactly what SouthPeak have delivered, although you have to question if the formula was too simple to actually make an entertaining game.
Head For The Hills
This simple formula involves you driving your General Lee along a track in order to complete some so-called "missions". Most of the time these are just an excuse to get to the end of the track, and are tied into a storyline which is carried along by some fairly entertaining FMV cut-scenes.
For example, you may have to get to a fairground by a certain time to enter a race to win some cash to pay your mortgage off (ahem). Unfortunately most of the missions go like this, so you are left with a racing game rather like the "Need For Speed" series, but often without any competitors to race against.
Some missions feature actual races where you have to compete against another car, or have to beat a qualifying time, and there are also missions where you have to crash into a target car enough to make them pull over. Although they are a welcome break from the normal "dash to the end of the level" formula, they are incredibly easy and not frequent enough.
Sometimes you are pursued by Hazzard's resident cop, Sheriff Rosco, but although he is obscenely persistent in his quest to stop you from breaking the law again, his efforts seem bizarre to say the least. He thinks nothing of hurling his car into yours to make you spin off the road, but he never actually seems to arrest you, or at least I've never experienced this while playing the game seriously.
He is also impossible to lose fully, and just when you think you have got rid of him for good, a quick look in the rear view mirror shows that he is still hovering a few meters behind you. Sadly this means that one of the main obstacles of the game is more of an annoyance than a challenge.
Road To Nowhere
While you are doing all these missions, you can't help but notice that you are racing up and down the exact same bit of road. Sometimes you are told to get to one area, and then the next mission takes you right back the way you came, travelling past the same obstacles and turnings.
Even the training level is later encountered as a proper mission, which smacks of the developers being far too lazy to design any more interesting levels than the same road-cum-dirt-track that you seem to spend the whole game on. What is even more puzzling then is why the game is spread across two CDs when it only seems like you have a few tracks to race on.
The actual control of the vehicles as you race up and down this dirt track is acceptable for an arcade game, and you can throw your orange beast around the track with a recklessness which would make the Dukes proud.
Somewhat disconcerting however is the way that your wheels sometimes get detached from the body of the car, and that your suspension appears to be set up for a moon environment - each jump will make your car bounce all over the place, which can be annoying when you have the law on your tail!
Look At The Pistons On That!
Racing For Home's graphics are styled to look like the original 70's TV programme, and it shows. All of the cut scenes are suitably aged, but this just adds to their comedic feel.
While not being an avid viewer of the series, I couldn't help but smile at the cornball FMV sequences in all their Texan glory. On the other hand, the actual in-game graphics are somewhat disappointing. They look acceptable, but so much more could have been done to enhance the Hazzard experience. For example, the cars themselves are very angular (even more than muscle cars really are) and suffer from a lot of jaggedness.
The textures used also warp quite considerably as you race down the roads, and quite often I saw misaligned textures, leaving tiny white dots all over the background. Although these things are not essential to gameplay, they make the game look scrappy in places, which could have easily been avoided.
The sounds on the other hand are extremely funny at first - after all, who wouldn't crack up at a bunch of Texan hicks talking at each other through a mist of moonshine-induced slurring? However, it started to grate after a while, especially with a heavy sprinkling of "y'alls" and "yeeehaws!" assaulting your ears every few seconds.
Add to that the fact that your co-driver shouts "Dang, Bo! Watch it!" every time you crash, and you will soon be reaching for the volume control on your speakers. The music doesn't fair much better either, unless you really like country and western music.
I don't know how I can put this to the Dukes of Hazzard's cult following - the game is a dud. Gamers should steer well clear of this game, whatever the cult status of the TV series it is based upon.
Racing For Home is pretty fun to play for the first few levels, but after that you slip into the same routine and never get out of it. Add into the equation the fact that there is no challenge to the game itself, with you being set the same few missions on the same few tracks over and over again, and you have a wasted licence on your hands.