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Demolition Racer
Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Infogrames
Developer: Pitbull Syndicate Limited
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Racing

Graphics & Sound:
You've got a 3D racer here, with polygonal vehicles that are, um... acceptable, I suppose, although none of the cars are officially licensed. I guess it might be kinda hard to get approval to show graphic representation of a company's product being smashed up beyond recognition, and then exploding into a flaming wreck. Demolition Racer opted to have generic, stereotypical classes of vehicles. The downside of this is that they only allow cars of the same class (read 'exact body style') to race together. There's a really cool hearse you can use, but if you do, you're racing against similar looking hearses. A shame. The uniqueness of the vehicles is pretty much lost when ALL the vehicles in a race have the same (unique?) look. To help counter this, Demolition Racer allows for customization of your vehicle in the form of paint colors and personal emblem - anything from a racing number to a skull, smiley face, etc. - but from a pre-made list of emblems. One problem I have with Demolition Racer is the fact that your view will change spontaneously, evidently cued by collisions. I didn't like this feature when it was in Test Drive 6. I cannot begin to understand why this would be used in a game where a lot of collisions are required! The tracks look nice, and the pumping music supplied by Fear Factory, Junkie XL, Empirion, and Cirrus help to build the excitement. The game looks alright, but the real attraction is the gameplay...

Are you tired of shiny, gloss-coated, showroom-fresh, silicon generated, invulnerable, artificial pansy racing? Are you ready to get bent? Then, Demolition Racer is for you. In Demo Racer, there are only a couple of goals:
1) Stay alive,
2) Win the race,
3) Knock the %#!* out of everybody else.
Basically, you get points by either placement (just like other racing games), or by smashin' up your opponents real good. There's actually a lot of strategy involved in this, as well as several variations on the theme. Arena Mode for example, doesn't have a start or finish line, and instead awards point based on how long you last and how much damage you dish out. Suicide Mode is completely insane, giving points based on how fast you can destroy your OWN car. It might take a little bit of playing to fully appreciate, but once you get into it, it's a blast!

Demolition Racer is easy to pick up and play. What's not so easy is to do really well. Many gamers will be able to find a vehicle class that closely matches their driving style, making it somewhat easier. One plus is that Demolition offers many modes to choose from, so you can choose a mode that requires you to show off the skills that you're currently best at until you get good enough to try some other modes. All in all, the game is of moderate difficulty. But remember, practice makes perfect. Put in some time playing and you'll be able to do better. At least Demolition Racer is (lots of) fun, so it's not a chore to play it over. If you find that you just can't seem to get ahead, you'll want to check out 'Da Geck0's Drivin' School - Intro to Demolitions' coming soon... I'll clue ya in.

Game Mechanics:
The idea of a destructible physics engine based racing game is long over due. Give your average gamer a racing game that allows no damage, and not only will they abuse the fact to their own advantage, they'll complain about it... endlessly. One attraction of video games is the ability to do things in simulation that would be expensive or dangerous (or both) in real life. Take out the danger and you take out the excitement. Demolition Racer injects this excitement back into gaming. The one regrettable feature of Demolition Racer is the fact that the views change about every other time you have a collision. This is apparently intentional, as Test Drive 6 also had this feature. In a normal racing game, I can understand why it may have been included (as an option). Perhaps the designers figured that if you keep running into things, you must not be able to see well, so they change views for you. While the validity of this concept may be debatable in a game that's not based on constant (intentional) impacts, in Demolition Racer, it gets absolutely distracting.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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