E3 generally consists of a lot of swallowing. Amongst the things we can print without getting in trouble, there's overpriced water, hype and fluff, lots of coffee, and this year we even wound up shovelling paralysingly icy Ground Control 2 mints down our throats. Unfortunately though, it's not all sweets, caffeine and press spooge - E3 is also more than often guilty of swallowing up smaller games and announcements and refusing to spit them out.
Well, ever since we got back we've had our hand down the bitch's throat, and one of the things we discovered lodged behind her tonsils was Ubisoft's Notorious: Die to Drive. Although, given the publisher's use of the word "bling" and assertion that it's a "unique combination of urban warfare and car racing" (yes, a driving game with weapons), we kind of get the feeling we might have happily left it there.
Still, it's been a while since we had a decent one of these and we understand the kids like it so we figured we'd mention it. Plus, the screenshots are quite detailed and promise plenty of smashing things and explosions. And to be honest, given Ubisoft's track record lately, it's more than likely to surprise us and turn out to be the best thing since... well... since the last vehicular combat game.
Die to Drive, then, developed and published by Ubisoft for PS2 and Xbox, is about "a quest to rule the streets of four West Coast neighbourhoods," in which players have to build up a street racing crew and make use of explosive hardware to try and scupper their opponents' chances. Starting off with a single car, two friends and a baseball bat, the player eventually works his way up to around 30 vehicles (with a mixture of vintage and modern designs) and 30 different weapons (including semi-auto pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers and Molotov cocktails), and even gets to do things like sniping rival drivers from behind the wheel.
In practice, the controls are quite simple despite the obvious complexity of shooting while driving, with the X button used to fire forwards in the PS2 version and the right analogue stick used to shoot in any direction, and it sounds like taking down enemies will be just as important as driving effectively, too. Win a race and take down some enemies and the notorious crew under your thumbs walks away with barrels of cash, "bringing the finest in bling and millionaire cribs to the notorious few who can survive this dangerous game." And, presumably, giving you the chance to buy more toys and gold medallions.
Notorious: Die to Drive should be out in Q1 2005 on PS2 and Xbox, and the latter version will feature online multiplay for up to eight players, while PS2 owners will have to make do with four-player split-screen.