Is Acclaim bringing us a white knuckle racer or a boring country drive? Read more to find out.
The fine folks at Acclaim will be releasing a high octane, fast paced racing game for release within the first half of 2002. Creators say they took the best parts from many popular games such as the "Need for Speed" series and GT3. Their inspiration was also drawn from the Robert DeNiro action/thriller Ronin, more specifically looking at the intense car-chase sequences featured in the movie. Criterion Games' ambition is to create a fast-paced white-knuckle action game that will keep players glued to the screen, and the streets. Burnout is currently on the market for the PS2 and will later be released on the Xbox and Gamecube.
Criterion Games has created a very complex and realistic traffic system, so when you're racing along at 150 miles per hour in a downtown district you won't notice a repetitive system of cars (if you have time to notice). Instead you'll see the common traffic jam, car accident, or the rarity of evenly paced, smooth moving traffic.
You race through city streets and highways against other street-racers (The Fast and the Furious, anyone?) and while you have to watch your opponents to make sure they don't pass you, also keep an eye out for pedestrian traffic surrounding you, which can become a tad difficult when you are surrounded by four lanes of traffic doing a cool 150 miles per hour.
If you do get in an accident, unlike in Grand Turismo you will see damage done to your car, and lots of it if you hit something hard. The game is rumored to have the most advanced physics engine to create the most realistic accidents and jumps in any game. This means that you cannot take on an 18-wheeler at breakneck speeds and hope to come out unscathed. Instead your car will wobble away on two wheels, its engine putting around sounding like an old Maytag washer.
The control is not as realistic as some games, but the developers wanted it to play more arcade-like as opposed to the GT3 model of racing which obviously leans towards the simulation side of the spectrum. Thankfully that suits the game perfectly as you'll need to weave between rush-hour traffic (a feat that could be easily achieved with the simulated controls of real life driving).
Nitrous Oxide (NOS) is a feature in this game, and could come in handy near the finish line with a rival just a little ahead of you. You can earn more turbo boosts by performing various dare-devilish stunts, such as playing games of chicken with oncoming traffic. Each time you perform a dangerous stunt, fuel to the "risk-bar" is added. As soon as the bar is full, you gain another turbo, which could obviously come in handy at the end of a close race.
In tournament mode, when you start you are given a certain amount of credits. When you run out of credits, you have to completely restart the tournament. This should add to the already high tension featured in the game. Perhaps you have had trouble mastering the turns on a tough track, unlike past racing games you can't simply replay the same track over and over until you get the hang of it. Instead you'll be kicked out of the tournament as your credits continue to deplete. While the tournament my sound a bit imposing, it does offer a few positive things to the game as you'll be able to acquire newer, better, faster, cars as you accomplish more and more in the tournament mode.
The game features 14 levels featuring realistic scenery from both the United States and Europe. You'll see the standard abundance of cars that has become common in today's brand of racing game in both single and multiplayer modes. There are many different options under the multiplayer such as duel, single race and survival. These multiplayer features add replayability to the game, and entertainment.
The graphics are outstanding, featuring complex textures and multifaceted polygonal structures that make everything have a realistic quality. When you get into a spectacular crash that you just have to show your grandmother when she comes to visit, you can save it, and even set the camera angles and the speed of the crash on the replay using tools included with the game (trust me, you will spend hours playing with this). Acclaim helps promote "accidents" by having a "Crash of the week" contest, where you send it your best crashes to Acclaim through the net, and if it is the best one they will post it for others to marvel at.
Although none of the vehicles used are licensed, they resemble many of the popular cars of today. The car models are phenomenal, in the way that every part of it can be dented, scratched or destroyed using an accurate realtime damage model. The target framerate for the game will be a scorching 60 frames per second which is a goal that few developers have been able to accomplish.
This promises to be a game that will create much attention after its release, and most likely create many happy customers. Definitely keep your eye out for this title in the near future.
Inhaled a few to many fumes from the tailpipes of moving vehicles.