Review by MevSly
"A game that needed a few more seconds in the pit stop..."
Demolition Racer will, without a shadow of a doubt, satisfy the arcade racing gamer. Like it's predecessors, Destruction Derby 1 and 2, Demolition Racer is fast-paced, furious, and unique in many ways, with a not-so-good soundtrack and zero slowdown. But what makes this game pop a flat? Read on, and find out.
First of all, the graphics are gorgeous. Everything in this game looks very good, and is as fine as polish on a new Predator. Nothing should be changed, here. Not even the real-time damage effects, like body damage, fire, and smoke. All are visually outstanding. The environments aren't exactly pretty, as you'll find yourself racing in some gritty places, but they are pleasing to the gamer's eye. Every one of the race-tracks are lush, full of many different types of scenery.
The sound in Demolition Racer is high quality... but what you'd be listening to isn't exactly fun to hear. It's just too bland to really matter or play an integral role in the overall experience of the game, unless you like to hear dull rock/techno music, mixed in with the sounds of engines, crashes, and subtle explosions. Unless you like the sound of Junkie XL, Fear Factory, Cirrus and bands of that nature, I advise you to put in some... other, racing music, and mute the TV in which you play this racer on.
With a roster of a mere 8 vehicles, it is safe to say that this game could have been so much more had it not been limited to that number. Your four-wheeled weapos are Bobcat, Cruiser, Mantis, Marauder, Predator, Renegade, Vandal, and Widowmaker. The vehicles range from an extremely fast car, to an easy-goer, to a slow, sturdy van, to a rather freaky hearse. But it doesn't help that whatever vehicle you choose, the computer automatically takes 15 more of'em and places them in with you for the ride. I don't know about you, but I was hoping to play against other cars, not copies of my own. Sure, the Artificial Intelligence on each may vary, but that is not the point. At least you can give your car a paintjob. Wheeee.
With 10 tracks to romp through, plus 3 demolition bowls, and taking the theme of the game into effect, you'd think that you could bust the bejeezus out of just about every object (besides your opponent's cars) on the road... and off. But that is not the case. The most you'll find yourself hitting and damaging besides metal are boxes, in the forms of tune-ups, damage-crates, random amounts of points, and temporary invincibility. Whoop-tee-doo, right? Right.
However, there are different modes in this game which are all fun to play through. A Single Race mode allows you to crash around in either of the Demolition (a race, where you must gather as many points as possible while doing the same for your position), Chase (a real race, where only position matters), Chicken (you, alone, race your vehicle backwards, while every other car goes forwards; Demolition rules in effect, you must still finish your own laps, so not getting carried away is necessary), Last Man Standing (a mode talking place in a bowl, you have to bust as many opponents up as badly as possibly, while surviving as long as you can), or Suicide (takes place in a bowl, too, only your job is to get knocked out quicker than everyone else) modes.
And what are points, you ask? Well, simply put, points are things you get when you cause damage to another vehicle (or run into one of those special boxes). The higher amount, the better. Your position is multiplied by your points (in the modes that take this into effect, mind), and that's how you win. Easy concept, thus easy to play.
But there's something missing... an extra layer or two of depth, perhaps, that would change the picture of the entire game for the better? Maybe a half-decent story, or more cars and better tracks, for example? Yes, indeed.
For what it is, Demolition Racer is a game that is purely fun, and serves well for those that always wanted to bash one car into another without remorse, with no physical damage to themselves.
This arcade racer is the best of its bash'em-up kind on the PlayStation.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/29/02, Updated 12/29/02
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