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TEST DRIVE®: EVE OF DESTRUCTION REVIEW
Released by Atari on Aug. 24, 2004, Test Drive®: Eve of Destruction is the latest installment of Test Drive® series. I had a chance to preview Test Drive®: Eve of Destruction for Playstation2 and have provided you with some information and a few of my thoughts on the game. I hope you find them useful.
I haven't laughed like this while playing a video game for a long time. And I don't mean the ha-ha-what-a-funny-joke kind of laugh, I mean the maniacal super-villain kind of laugh. The ones that usually come right after, "Victory is mine, all mine!!" Am I insane? Maybe. But so is this game.
One of the best things about this game is it isn't always about going fast or being first across the finish line. Many times, to score, to reeeeally score good, it's about the level of destruction and smack-down you put on the other cars and, in multi-player mode, your friends.
Spills, Thrills, and Mid-Air Kills!
The game stays interesting with 25 different events consisting of various tracks, locations and race types. Some of the race types include: Jump Race, racing around a course with jumps and obstacles, Suicide Race, half the pack goes one way around a track and half goes the opposite way, Flagpole Race, when the car comes to a flagpole you must loop around it before continuing (I've found that even mastery of hand break turns can't prevent a pile-up), and Bus Race.
You think driving a car in these events is hard?
Try it with an extra 30 feet on your butt!
One of my favorite race types is the Figure-8 Jump Race where you race in a figure-8 pattern with cross jumps in the center. If you are part of a particularly nasty mid-air collision, you'll be treated with a bullet-time view where the crash is momentarily frozen in time as the camera quickly pans 360 degrees around the cars before continuing the action.
You have to let it all go... fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.
Other race types are variations of familiar games including: Capture the Flag, Soccer, and Red Rover. Yes, as in "Red Rover, Red Rover, let 2,500 pounds of twisted metal come over!"
David Beckam would be proud! I think?
In addition to the various race types, there are also 30 different vehicles. The vehicles range from various compact cars, muscle cars, and a few crazy choices like a postal jeep, school bus, ambulance, and hearse!
Dude, it's your funeral!
You can play the game in several modes: Single Player, Split-Screen Multi-Player, and Career Mode.
In Career Mode you roam the town placing bets on races with local drivers and enter official events called "Eves" while earning money and street cred in the form of an increasing Reputation Rank. As you improve your reputation more locked items, such as new "Eves" and car upgrades, become available to you. With the money you earn, you can buying new cars, purchase repairs for the damage a car has sustained (keep in mind that some damage is permanent and can not be repaired), and, once available, purchase upgrades to improve speed, handling, or durability for the cars you own. In Career Mode you can own more than one car, choosing which one is best for each event.
Single and Split-Screen Multi-Player races feature a lot of the events found in Career Mode. On the Playstation2, you can play two-player or up to four-player if you have a Multitap.
I have only two criticisms for this game, the first would be the limited soundtrack. While they are all great songs, featuring Hoobastank, Sum 41, Rob Zombie, Thrice, Thursday, and Autopilot Off, there are only six tracks total and they start to get repetitive fairly quickly (The Xbox version does allow you to load songs from your music library). It's best that you turn the soundtrack off when having a marathon gaming session.
If I hear that freak'n song one more time, I'm gonna clobber someone!
Oh wait, that's part of the game anyway.
The second criticism I have is the lack of any action while driving around in Career Mode. When driving from the Auto Shop (to buy/sell cars) to your home (to save) to an Eve (to race) nothing ever happens. You just drive. I think the game designers should have either added a couple random events or implemented some sort of feature where you could immediately go to a location once you got tired of driving from spot to spot.
I think the above criticisms are outweighed by the nice little nuggets that go with this game. For instance, you can unlock live footage from actual real-life extreme racing events from which game is based upon. Watch your city slicker friends go, "What the...?!" when they see what goes on in rural America behind their backs. My favorite unlock has to be the exploding chicken gun. A car that shoots exploding chickens compliments my super-villain laugh quite well.
Finally, my favorite feature, next to allowing multiple players, would be the ability to watch a replay. It's a chance to rest your thumbs, oh-ah over the narrow escapes, and cringe at the sight of a brutal collision. The replays have smooth animation and many dramatic camera angles and locations that you can toogle between.
This is one of the best smash-em-up games ever made. If you and your friends like metal-mangling mayhem and brutal no-rules competitions, this game is a must. Mullets not included.
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