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Flat-Out

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Racing

About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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'Flat-Out' (PS2/Xbox/PC) - Screens

by Judy on Sept. 24, 2004 @ 9:33 a.m. PDT

In third-person mode, the player can rummage around the pit area eyeing out competitor's cars, stop by at a bar for the latest gossip, fix and tune his car and interact with the other in-game characters, carrying out short missions related to the story behind the player's character.

What further enhances Flat-Out is not only the new level of graphical quality and convincing physics, but the overall interactivity of the world around the player. The player can crash sideways into a safety wall made of tyres, sending dozens and dozens of tyres flying and bouncing away. Wooden fences shatter and splinter into hundreds of pieces, barrels and marker cones tumble and fly from the impact, debris from opponent cars lay on the track inflicting damage to other cars and so forth.

The game has a remarkably impressive graphics engine especially optimised for racing games. It is based on the Rally Trophy engine which has been developed and optimised further with giant leaps. The Rally Trophy engine received a huge amount of praise from gamers and gaming publications. The graphics are highly immersive, with bucketfuls of sand spewing from underneath the car's tyres, thick billowing clouds of dust whenever someone attempts to dig a hole in the ground with his car, sparks flying off exhaust pipes scraping the tarmac... The list goes on and on. All this looks nice on paper, but it also transforms into immersive and believable environments.

Damage modelling of the cars is impressive, with virtually every body panel of the car bending, crumbling and peeling away in accidents showing the engine, transmission, working suspension, cockpit with driver and everything you'd expect a car to have beneath it's skin. The player can lose his door, only to crash into the trees from driving straight into it at over 200km/h on the next lap.

The cars themselves, being the highlight of the whole show, are meticulously modelled with plenty of detail. The player has 16 cars to choose from, all with different behaviour, driving feel and ability to take (or give) abuse if your dear opponent ahead of you just won't give you room to pass.

TOP FEATURES

  • First-ever racing game with a 3rd person mode, where the character can repair his car, walk around the pit area and interact with other characters.
  • Captivating character-driven story bringing new depth to the career mode and driving games.
  • Fast-paced and adrenaline filled racing experience. Races consist of 8 banged up and rusty cars battling it out without mercy on varying racetracks.
  • Accurate feel in the vehicle dynamics, giving enough feel of presence even to the most dedicated racing enthusiast.
    Realistic and extensive damage modelling, affecting both visuals and vehicle dynamics, separately damaging different parts of the car.
  • Cutting-edge technology optimised for racing games. Game graphics will be of previously unseen realism on game consoles and the PC.
  • 45 varying and different racecourses, from sandy and hilly courses with plenty of jumps to ice courses on frozen lakes, along with asphalt racetracks and tracks with combinations of asphalt and dirt.
  • 16 different cheap and rusty, banged-up car models.
  • Garage. Player can buy new parts to his car or purchase entirely new car.
  • Multiplayer racing in various game modes, utilising both linked and split-screen multiplayer modes as well as XBox Live for internet multiplaying
  • Advanced AI that makes mistakes and learns from them, developing its skills during the season.


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