Virtual Smash on Playstation 2

Destruction Derby Arenas, 2003

As I said before, I do not like this game. Everything that made the Destruction Derby Series great was thrown out the window when this game was made. Everything looks like a cartoon and the cars look like they are not even a part of their world. Even their speed does not look right. They handle like shopping carts and look like beefed up tuners, with a spin of ridiculous.

This game annoyed me right from the get go with its opening menu. The words flash back a forth rapidly, and even though I am not prone, I thought it could give me an epileptic seizure if I stared at it too long.

After that I found a whole list of things that I didn’t like about this game. Not only do I not like the cars or the way they react to their environment, but they also seemed really slow. I was going uphill at 70 mph at one point. That Ford Escort Wagon I had went up bigger hills faster than that. Once you gain nitrous, it burns up way to fast. One quick shot is enough to empty a full tank and the screen blurs, making it hard to aim at another car, which is mostly the point, right? Once you miss and hit the wall, the cars back up agonizingly slow.

In this sport the car you drive must be fast to catch the leaders, and no matter what I did I was passed by drones like they were on a rail, while I slid around. Somehow I normally found myself 10,000 points behind after half of the first lap. At the start of the last lap, they have this banner telling you this, it takes up the entire screen and you can’t see anything else. I also found no race restart, meaning your dedicated, no matter how bad you are doing.

The environments are partially destructible but I really don’t care. I want points for hitting cars, not everything else. They took away the colorful names of hits and spins from DDR and that leaves you with a lessened sense of accomplishment when to do manage to hit a car.

The designers of this game spent too much time on making this a cartoon with no realism and a bunch of crap fake driver names and profiles that nobody will care about. It is a bad end to a good run. The only good thing about this game is how cheap you can get it, because everybody knows it is crap. I take it back, 3 bucks plus shipping is too much.

And yes…I did. That is used the silliest song I could think of.

Test Drive: Eve of Destruction, 2004

This  one of my favorite games. I can’t tell you how many hours I have wasted in there.

It defiantly stands apart from the other games, even if it did get mixed reviews and was not really that popular. The environment is compact, and apart the jump races, you pretty much drive on the same track over and over again in events that could be pulled off in a county fair, instead of driving through vast worlds like most games.

The cars are not that fast either. The fastest car in the game, the Rocket, tops out at 131 mph and takes a runway to get there. The cars are not pretty, either. They have rust on them, no windows or lights, and do look like demo cars.

Even if not terrifically well received, the game has a cult following and is more expensive now than when it was new. Some of us like the realism that this game offers. Rear wheel drive cars act like rear wheel drive cars, (somewhat) and front wheel drive cars act like front wheel drive cars (somewhat). Backing up can be quite the chore.

In career mode, you must buy cars to race with. They do bend some, parts do fall off and  axils wobble but handling is not effected. But unlike most games the cars do not last forever. It costs money to fix them and is based on the damage they take and the cost of the car. The more abuse you put the car through and the higher you are in the car classes, the more it will cost to fix. Some damage cannot be repaired and the car will get weaker, eventually needing to be replaced. By that time you will find the car to be too slow anyway and will want a new (well, not new) junker that is faster.

Cars cost more money as you go. At first the cars are cheap at around $150, and cost only dollars to fix, but one car, after upgrades, can cost $10,000 or more.

After a rank of 80, you can upgrade the car with a turbo to make it faster, sport suspension for handling and a frame strengthening to make it last longer. It is easy to do, and the cost depends on the cost of the car. It can break the bank in the upper levels. The cars are much better with the upgrades to help make passes and hits, but for demo cars I just use the frame strengthening to save money because they are slow to begin with and never have time to get up to speed anyway.

The paint shop is a bit annoying and time consuming. It all must be done by hand. Nothing is premade and there are parts of the car it won’t let you paint. I did it at first, but after a while I considered it a pain.

Like I said, I have spent a lot of time playing this game and I have one word of advice. Stay low and fast. Hit from the bottom of the track and try not to wipe out.

You start Career with a Top. It looks and performs like your average 80s Ford Escort. As soon as you can, get a Palo and use the Top for a demo car for a while. Next car upgrade is the Desio. It looks like a Plymouth Lazer but is rear wheel drive. Use that to race and the Palo as a demo car to finish it off.

As you advance, you will get demo cars, and they really don’t matter much as to preference. Any of them work. At mid-game, I would suggest getting a Arrow. Use that for all Red Rovers and Point to Point races. The Empire looks like a 55 Chevy and is a great race car.

From there all Gladiator. This car has a good balance of speed and strength.

Flat Out 2, 2006

The guys from BugBear are just a bit nuts. Not that we don’t applaud them for that. Flat Out is a racing game for the most part. Coming in first place is paramount and not a lot of attention is paid to the wreaking, unless you are in a bowl event. I have often said I don’t like that in a derby game. I want points for pain inflicted.

But as a race game it is not too bad. You are at least allowed to hit, even if you only get nitrous out of it, which at least looks cool coming out of the tail pipe for the little time you usually have them. Once again, the environment is partially destructible, if you care for that sort of thing. After races some awards are given like best wrecker or bulldozer (he who destroys most of the environment) but what they do for you I really don’t know.

The cars seem to react to their environment well, and trees…pain…act like trees. So do rocks. I would avoid these things but most of the time I can’t manage too. You have to learn what you can drive through and what you can’t.

There are some realism points to this game like the cars being front heavy from the engine, which means they start to nose dive on big jumps. The cars also twist and bend, parts fall off but no matter how much damage you cause to your car it doesn’t really effect handling.

Some cars do handle like shopping carts and it is mostly the older cars. That really aggravates me. It seems that video game designers just assume that an older car always handles worse than a new one and that is often not the case. Cars from the 70s and 80s can keep up with newer cars in the turns if you drive them right and that seems difficult in gaming. The cars are a bit too powerful from the launch and many times just spin the drive tires while waving the rear end around. It makes for cool donuts but that gets old fast.

Once again we have fake driver profiles and I really don’t care about that.

The scenery is really good and if you are not careful you can become a part of it. You can travel way off the beaten path if you get to much air on a curve of there is no rail to stop you. There are only eight cars in a race and at times I wish there were more, especially on large tracks with multiple pathways.

As a wreaking game I think this one is a failure but it is a good race game. I plan to revisit it and enjoy it for what it is, even if throwing your driver out of the windshield on hard impacts does get a bit old.

As a closing note, notice that I skipped Flat Out 1. I don’t have it and will not get it. I remember some of it, and that I really hated it. Two is better.


Game play by: Scott Downey with special guest Mariah Hamilton

Shot, edited and written by: Scott Downey

Text edit: Sarah Fuller

Song credits:

  • Motely Crue. “Wild Side.”
  • Shotgun Messiah. “Heartbreak Blvd.”
  • Scorpions. “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”
  • White Zombie. “Boogie Man.”
  • Megadeth. “Angry Again.”
  • Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots. “Disco Duck.”