#360 Interstate ’76

Posted: 28th February 2021 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

934th played so far

Genre: Driving/Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 1997
Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision

That’s right – it’s taking until the last 100 on the list to play the only driving/shoot ’em up game on the list. Where other games have been okay to let you shoot while driving sometimes – I’m thinking of a Grand Theft Auto series type thing where you try to take out your pursuers while driving – I honestly can’t think of one that has you focus on a more complex driving simulations. You might move your fighter plane around or something, but that has always been more associated with a flight simulator setup rather than a car based game.

That’s all to say that this is all I know the game for, as it never entered my awareness before the list. I can add to it that the ’76’ in the title refers to the year in which the game it’s set, rather than one of the two numbered this way in the US. I’m expecting some nice vintage cars in exchange – it feels like the least to expect here!

Our Thoughts

With those elements, you can get a decent idea of what this game is. It starts off with an early 3D intro where you meet your main character, taking over the role of car based vigilante, with some very 70s stereotype characters – shades of blaxplotation, hippies, the whole thing, taking place in a wide open mountainous desert in the (south west) US.

You race around these different open levels, large areas that are mostly featureless with occasional points of interest that are the ones that matter to you the most. The game’s ambitions have to fit the time it was created, and the size of the area helps make it feel bigger, but the graphics are clearly not the best and they can’t pull off filling it – there is basically no vegetation or too much of interest there. Even your map, such as it is, works the same. Rather than an interactive map, you just get a drawing of the area highlighting some of the important areas. Even those can be deceptive – I’ve had to doubt whether two crossroads near each other were those on the map, or if some were left off to simplify the map. Still, once you get used to it, it adds to that feeling of exploration and of taking a long road trip to get somewehre.

And then as you get to a place or catch up on cars, you get to the shooting. If there’s anything where the age shows, it’s here. You have boxy cars fighting each other, while the physics aren’t tuned yet. Everything is jumpy – put the camera at the wrong angle and it’s bad – and the cars jitter as you drive along. The shooting really means it doesn’t feel realistic, but when you get used to lining it up the game becomes fun there too.

Final Thoughts

Interstate ’76 is a product from 1997, for good and bad. It doesn’t work or look that great, but there’s something fun in the janky gameplay it has. It gets frustrating often enough that I wouldn’t necessarily play through the whole thing, but it’s decent fun regardless.