XBOX Review - Crash/Totaled

by The Six Billion Dollar Man on Sept. 4, 2002 @ 7:21 p.m. PDT

Crash is a fast-paced, furious and fun step into the world of classic cars and their subsequent destruction. Climb into a Hot Rod, Muscle Car or Performance Car and rip it apart at the expense of your opponents. No engine tweaking, tyre balancing or pit stops, just glorious mayhem in the cars of your dreams. Get out there and smash them to pieces.

Platform : Xbox
Developer/Euro Publisher: Rage Int.
Northern America Publisher : Majesco

A satisfying demolition derby is a massive 16-car smash-fest that inevitably leads to exploding vehicles and injured drivers. Many companies have tried to present the excitement of this outstanding venue in the form of a game, and just as many have failed at this task. The good people at Rage Interactive/Majesco, however, have done it right with one of their latest releases, Crash/Totaled.

For a demolition derby game to actually BE a demolition derby game, the cars must accurately reflect the amount of damage that they’ve incurred. In a technological age where 3D graphics can blur the line between fantasy and reality, game developers can spare some of the research & development dollars into making a decent graphical game, and Totaled delivers just that. Each car is excellently crafted and has a realistic damage system that comes close to PS2’s Stuntman: bumpers drag, doors flop open, and windows shatter. Before you get visions of auto-armageddon, allow me to mention that not everything is destructible; for example, the suspension system, wheels, and paint never seem to take any damage. One thing to note is the damage system in this game has a feature I haven’t seen before. If you put enough force into a hit, and the AI/other player didn’t see it coming, you do not suffer any damage. This feature eliminates the practice of using different parts of your car to ram other cars, to prevent one area from becoming a weak spot. To sum it up, a great damage system.

Mainly modeled after actual cars, the car models in the game are also top-notch. Although the cars in the game are not named after their likenesses, the chassis design is instantly recognizable – the Bullet is a vintage Mustang, and the Hammerhead is a total remake of a ‘70’s Charger. The arenas that you compete in span the globe and can range from a circular pit to a crazy 8 race track. The detail of each arena varies; some are a bit bland and one-sided, but you don’t really notice because you are too focused on playing the game, which is good (in my opinion). This game definitely has above-average graphics.

The game play is simply outstanding! This game finally mixes in a bit of each automotive sport – stunts, racing, and, of course, demolition derby – to create the ultimate racing game! All of the demolition derby games I have tried were bland, because they were simply demolition derbies and nothing else. Some games have offered a similar combination before but suffered because of a lack of stages, race options, and graphical appeal. In Totaled, each arena has a different set of race options, with some options being unique to certain tracks. Some of the racing mode options include: Hunter, in which the objective is to kill the player with the ever-moving ball, Stuntman, in which the player completes rigorous stunts for points while being harassed by the AI, and Last Man Standing, in which you start out the game with a damaged vehicle, making it extremely difficult to stay alive. There are plenty of derby options, but you will have to check out this game to see the rest.

Every aspect of this game is based on a point system, so the more points you score, the more car and track options are available to you. Some tracks that you unlock are only available in arcade or multiplayer modes, and likewise, some tracks are specific to the career mode. Not only do you unlock tracks and cars, you also unlock new racing options as well. With each event, you have a choice of which car you want to drive. Aside from pure looks, each car has its own set of attributes that should be factored into your vehicle selection. There are cars that are light and fast but very fragile, while others are heavy, slow and can withstand a beating. You have to determine if speed is more important than toughness, or whether you can sacrifice good acceleration to have a better grip.

There is no AI difficulty setting in career mode, which is kind of a bummer, but there is one in arcade/multiplayer, so all is forgiven. ;) Totaled’s multiplayer mode makes it the most fun racing game I’ve ever played. Grab three friends, and this will quickly turn into a commotion of curse words and derogatory taunts. Multiplayer mode in Totaled is a great stress reliever … what could be better than four players and eight AI’s battling it out for the top prize? Shady alliances form, only to be broken when only two players remain. There can be only ONE!

The music in Totaled is fast-paced and sounds like punk rock. This totally adds to the mood of each event, always keeping you on edge and ready to smash up some cars! I don’t know how many different selections of music there are (I was too focused on the game), but I am pretty sure there is at least one track for each arena. The sound effects for the cars are the same – they all sound like muscle cars – but don’t all cars of the same class sound similar? Great music and great sound equals great audio!

This game is everything that I have ever wanted in a demolition derby game. Although some seem to think this game is less than stellar due to some graphic errors, the lack of different sounding engines and the plain menus, I laugh at them, for they are truly missing out on a great game. I give this game 10 out of 10 because the minor errors are more than counteracted by the sheer fun factor of Crash/Totaled, another WorthPlaying title!

Score : 10/10


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