960th played so far

Genre: Racing
Platform: Xbox 360/PC
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: Bugbear Entertainment
Publisher: Empire Interactive

Racer 38. The only one of Bugbear Entertainment’s on the list, although we’ve seen Empire Interactive publish a couple of games so far in quite different genres. Beyond that, it’s a racing game, that’s about all I have.

Our Thoughts

It was odd playing this game while listening to a podcast discussing Teardown‘s destruction mechanics. While this doesn’t let you destroy everything, the game uses plenty of destructible scenery while also encouraging you to hit and destroy opponents where you can to help you get ahead. It’s quite physics-driven, with some ragdoll elements, and the game feels brutal because of that. It even encourages you by giving you nitro when you’re being destructive, which is a boost you really need to get ahead.

And you do need them – the game is happy to set you back real far when you get a crash in, and it’s normally hard to catch up without getting knocked about. The use of nitro to speed you up further helps make it far more reasonable to be able to catch up and win the race, a cheat button that’s needed after all the other tricks that are involved.

Once you get used to that, you race through some quite nice, natural environments – the sort of older rural areas where you race wouldn’t get in the way of too many (even if you destroy their sheds, fences and patio furniture). There are quite a few of them, with a bunch of different types of races on the tracks, which gives you a lot to do. Unfortunately that also means time trials and the like – modes that avoid the destruction and physics based stuff in favour of pure driving, at which point it all seems timed too tightly and it loses the fun the proper races have.

Final Thoughts

The Ultimate Carnage subtitle really applies here, with that being the best element of the game that’s notable in its absence in various places. It makes for a good hook, one we saw games like Burnout take on as well, but this is one more place where it works.