Sly 2: Band of Thieves
If Burnout 3 isn't enough to satisfy your thirst for vehicular mayhem, Eidos is more than happy to offer another serving of destruction proportions. While it's apparent Criterion's latest installment has ultimately given the competition a proverbial kick in the ass, Climax, (the same folks behind the sensational Moto GP series) can be found diligently crafting Crash 'n' Burn to offer enough distinction and thrills to entice gamers looking for an alternative thrill.
So this isn't something we've played before?
To be honest, no. Though we're not complaining, Crash 'n' Burn seems to have drawn its influences from a number of past and recent games including the classic PSX edition of Destruction Derby and Atari's Test Drive: Eve of Destruction. So here's the scoop -- you're pitted against 15 other competitors in which you must endure an arena of chaos, starting out as basic, oval or figure eight circuits which progressively build up to become more complex, twisting challenges. Each circuit is peppered with obstacles including firewalls, oil slicks and obviously -- plenty of explosions. Wimpy racers need not apply. Tony Beckwith, managing director of Climax notes that their ability to "use the technology and expertise gained from driving games like the Moto GP series" allowed them to place a greater emphasis on gameplay and have cast predictions that "the results are going to resonate with gamers."
Players can choose from a variety of (generic) vehicles including pickup trucks, compacts and sports cars. We can almost hear the collective sighs of disappointments of car enthusiasts. Tapping into the Burnout mentality, the game also offers players the ability to boost ahead of the competition, albeit in a more conservation fashion. Replenishment is only offered by successfully destroying your competitors by way of head-on collisions or some other chaotic maneuver. Like other games of late, gamers can head to the garage and trick out their vehicle with new upgrades, performance enhancers or simply alter the paintwork, creating an instant exterior visual impact.
Other significant highlights include realistic car damage (which affects performance), the ability to replay your destruction after a race, and several single-player contests, which ultimately test your reflexes and endurance ranging from such modes as Last Man Standing, Bomb Tag, and Kamikaze. Taking the excitement one step further, players can also compete in Team Events (which we've been led to conclude involves playing with another friend in split-screen fashion), mirroring most of the modes available in the single-player format. Still not enough, you say? Crash 'n' Burn will also offer full Xbox Live support so you can take on other human rivals across the country.
So will you like it?
If destruction is your cup of tea, we can't imagine why you wouldn't. Judging from our preview build, Crash 'n' Burn offers enough random surprised and open-ended gameplay which could potentially satisfy race fans and newcomers alike. And with so many of today's games continually focused on the wrong elements that compel gamers to kick their titles to the curb, Climax is taking the necessary steps to create a compelling experience. We hope to see a few more additions thrown in the mix like weather conditions and some added interaction within the racing environments. "The driving genre has become very predictable and conservative over recent years", says Beckwith, "and creating a new brand has given us the opportunity to understand what made us love vehicle-based games in the first place."
Start the countdown, Crash 'n' Burn is scheduled to roll out on the Xbox alongside its PS2 counterpart next month; where we'll be back to take the full version out for a spin.