10th: Death Track: Resurrection
The occupant of the 10th spot in my list is Death Track: Resurrection, a futuristic vehicular-combat racing game. DT:R is pretty much the videogame version of the well-known movie ‘Death Race’. In Death Track: Resurrection, you’re a new racer that participates in a Death Race Tournament, only to find yourself involved in evil plans and conspiracies, with no option but to race and survive the whole way to the finish line (And in first place if possible).
Gameplay and Features
The races take place in futuristic versions of renowned places like Prague, Tokyo or New York, using both modern and futuristic weaponry like machine guns, laser guns, and guided rockets. Besides the enemy cars you can also destroy the surrounding buildings for extra money or locks which unlock shortcuts.
On the road, there are a multitude of pick-ups available which offer a momentary boost or refill your health, armour, ammo, multiply the damage or double the score points. The perks can be stacked up to 5 times (besides the ammo refueler), each new level granting more of the bonus.
Later in the game, you’ll take hits from stationary AI as well (like guard bots), making the racing a lot more difficult. DT:R is relatively slow-paced, no sensation of high speed whatsoever, but this is not necessarily a bad thing since you’ll be occupied cleaning the road infested with opponents.
Personally, the combat and the hunt for perks suck me up too much to barely acknowledge where I am in the circuit, how many laps are left or in what position I am. The shooting system is composed of both automatic or manual aiming and you can choose through a keybind what you want the automatic aiming to go for first, buildings or vehicles.
There aren’t too many downsides in the game, the only prominent one being perhaps the repetitiveness (requiring a large amount of patience to reach the endgame).
Cars, Customization, Tuning and Tracks
There are in total 10 vehicles, unlockable as you finish each new race. Though expensive, the new cars usually contain better stats than the previous ones. The vehicles are barely based on reality, mostly shaped by the imagination.
Tuning is shared between vehicle and weapon parts. It simply consists of upgradeable items that are unlockable after completed races. The customization part is quite small as in you only get to choose which weapons you want on your car
The tracks follow the most renowned parts of the cities, as in, you can see the Eiffel Tower in Paris and so on, while almost everything else is changed (since, you know, it’s in the future).
– Constant vehicular combat, you’ll rarely run out of something to shoot, be it buildings or cars.
– The pick-ups are quite hard
– Perk variety
– Can get boring fast.
Release Date: February 2008
Genre: Racing, Vehicular-Combat
Developer: SkyFallen Entertainment
Publisher: 1C Company
Price: 4.99 $/€
Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/7840/
Similar Games: Gas Guzzlers Extreme
Catching the air with the next game, Skydrift is a Re-volt-esque game with wings. No special setting in this one, just a normal day where planes of almost every generation race each other through tight areas, pick-up floating power-ups then use them to tear each other up, followed by a miracle respawn and forced to continue from where you ‘passed away’ in a ball of fire.
Gameplay and Features
In Skydrift the racing is pretty straightforward: Finish first at all costs. The method to achieve the objective are quite numerous and, to be fair: deadly. But those will be covered a bit later.
The control system is rather easy, with the 4 all-known directional controls + the knife-edge positions and altitude controllers specific to a plane. Adding the weapon system and nitrous controls and you have the whole meal. Of course, you will not be left on your own, a tutorial being provided for you to get familiar quite fast (in about 5-10 minutes) with the controls and the core gameplay.
As mentioned above, there are quite a few ways to annihilate your enemy or to protect yourself from attacks. Each power-up has 2 levels of usage. To reach the 2nd level of the weapon, you have to pick-up the same power-up again (for example: 2 Rocket Power-ups, 2 Machine Gun Power-ups and so on). You’re also allowed to transform into nitrous the weapons you don’t use, especially when you’re in the first place and have no one to aim at. Following, will be a short description of the power-ups covering they’re both levels of efficiency.
- The Machine Gun: Nothing much to say about it, it equips your plane with machine guns which are used to fire at the opponent (obviously). The crosshair allows for mistakes as it isn’t needed to have your crosshair 100% accurate on the target. 1st level: Fires one magazine of bullets. 2nd level: Fires double the amount.
- The Rockets: A rocket launcher with target-lock feature. It can shoot one rocket a time or all at the same time. 1st level: Shoots 2 rockets. 2nd level: Shoots 4 rockets.
- EMP bomb: You become an EMP bomb which can be detonate whenever you wish, but it doesn’t affect you upon triggering it. Everyone around you will get damaged (or exploded depending on their condition) and slowed down for around 2-3 seconds. 1st level: Medium range and damage capability. 2nd level: High range (~10 meters) and damage capability.
- Mine: The only weapon you can leave behind you, it does what a mine bomb is supposed to do. 1st level: Leaves one orange glowing mine bomb floating in the air. 2nd level: Leaves 3 of them one in a line, spinning endlessly.
- Repair Kit: It repairs the plane if it suffered damages from attacks or crashes. 1st level: Half of the HP is restored. 2nd level: Full HP is restored.
- Shield: Helps you defend against enemy attacks. 1st level: 1 cover of shield. 2nd level: Double the amount of shield.
Worth mentioning, the smart missiles can be avoided if you get in front of another plane or get a tight turn behind/near a wall.
Planes and Tracks
The planes in the game represent a few generations, from the world wars to the stunt planes and modern day wings. Each plane contains different stats regarding handling, acceleration, speed, durability and so on.
Each of the stats use a 5 + 1 star rating system (The 6th star represented as a star with a skull on it meaning that it excels greatly at that behaviour.). Each plane has 4 unique paintjobs that are unlockable (like the planes themselves) as you keep playing. The game contains 2 DLC’s which unlock more airships.
As for the maps, they’’ve been created following the Re-volt’s design: Easy at the beginning, Hell on Earth towards the end. The decisive areas that counts towards the difficulty level are made of narrow spots or incredibly tight curves.
There’s not much diversity in there, most noticeable thing is that you race around the islands, some theme models like oil refineries appearing on some of the maps.
– A decent number of planes
– Destrucable weapons
– Cute graphics
– Reasonable amount of power-ups.
– Rubberband AI
– Not too much map variety
Release Date: PS3/Xbox360 – Sept 2011, PC – Nov 2011
Genre: Action Racing
Developer: Digital Reality
Publisher: Digital Reality
Price: 6,99 $/€
Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/91100/
Similar Games: Re-Volt, Blur, Mashed, Blaze Rush, Rollcage Stage II.
From a wrecking warzone masked as a race we move to a post-apocalyptic one where the only currency is the fuel, so winning the race becomes your critical purpose and need of living. Unlike Metro 2033, the fuel currency and the fuel inside the vehicles are completely separate things.
Gameplay and Features
Maybe the most notable feature of this open-world game is the total size of the map: 14.400km² for you to explore whenever you’re not racing, with enviroments ranging from forests and their burning alternatives, to desert and even tundra. The dynamic weather will offer superb views of the unleashed storms, tornadoes and thunders striking towers, crashing them on your racepath. Unlike most of the open-world racing games, your path to the finish line is solely chosen by you as long as it helps you finish first.
Most of the vehicles acquired through currency generated from won races. Each difficulty level increases the total amount of money received as well as stars, last ones being used for unlocking new maps.
There are several gamemodes in this game, like the classics: Circuit and Time Attack, or unique ones like ‘Race the Helicopter’ where you have to reach the finish line before the heli.
In the freeroam mode, you can hunt for small rewards like new liveries for both vehicles you own, and those you have yet to unlock or go after several trucks which unlock the position of all the items available on the map. In parallel you can also hunt for purple icons which unlock unique vehicles without the need of paying for them.
The loading screen uses the same features as in GRiD where you can see various stats recorded so far, like top speed, amount of distance driven and so on.
Cars, Customization and Handling
For the first time in this top 10, I won’t be talking about the tracks since they all look alike in the map you currently race.
There are around 70 vehicles split into 6 different categories: Bikes, ATVs, Muscle Cars, SUV’s, Buggies, Trucks and even a Hovercraft. After that, all the categories have 2 types of vehicles: Made for the streets (yes, there are quite a few in the game) and the others for the offroad. Those that are made for street racing will perform worse on the off-road, while usually the off-road vehicles have a lower top speed.
The customization in the game is rather limited, from a few dressing items for the player to pre-made liveries and paintworks for the vehicles.
One bad thing about the game is that all the vehicles tend to drift, even on the asphalt without using the handbrake, which can become quite annoying if you’re not an addicted drift fan. Like in Blur, the AI at easy and normal pretty much lets you win, while at hard they’re stuck to your back better than a fly on flypaper, waiting for you to do just one little mistake.
On bikes and ATVs, various animations will be made by the driver without you needing to do anything, just some key interactions like when passing an opponent or be in the air, the driver will taunt the opponent or execute tricks. However all these bonus animations do not count to the score, it’s purely cosmetic.
– Dynamic weather, generating gorgeous landscapes
– Multitude of different cars
– Huge map (Owns the award of the biggest map size on a console game given by Guiness World Records)
– Taunts and Tricks on specific vehicles
– Various enviroments
– Drifting at every corner
– AI can be a bit too easy at the first 2 difficulty levels
– Repetitive (A lot)
Release Date: PS3/Xbox360 – June 2009 | PC – July 2009
Genre: Open-World Racing
Developer: Asobo Studio
Steam Store Page: Not available on Steam anymore
Similar Games: I have no idea.
Re-Volt is a little wonder. A gorgeously crafted game, with remote controlled vehicles, small but devastating powerups, multitudes of maps and vehicles, and even more user-made mods, tracks and even a grand multiplayer mode.
Gameplay and Features
Re-Volt is a racing game made in 1999 revolving around RC Cars running around human-sized places like the neighborhood or supermarket or even a botanical garden. The racing gameplay is tainted with power-ups used to dominate the opponents either by harming them or giving yourself a temporary boost.
The weapons comply to the overall playful theme of the game, like fireworks or water balloons instead of guided missiles or cannon and battery overcharge instead of nitrous. There’s also a semi-self-punishment weapon called ‘The Bomb’ where your antenna receiver transforms into a fuse, making your car explode in a random direction and velocity.
However, your doom can be avoided by tagging another opponent so they take the bomb upon themself. But if no one’s around, you’re pretty much screwed. The game utilises 2 forms of respawn: The normal one which teleports your car to the correct pathway and the simple flip if your car ends up with the wheels upside down.
Cars and Tracks
Re-Volt contains around 20 vehicles, unlockable through different ways (Completing challenges, tournaments, the Stunt Arena) with designs like buggy models, race models (the likes of Porsche and BMW). The cars aren’t completely balanced, some fitting a track more than others (The Slug is perfect for the icy part of the ‘Supermarket2’ map due to it’s huge weight, for example).
The maps follow the classic options of reverse and mirror-reverse tracks for different racepaths on the same map. The first maps have an easy route made of a few curbs in order to get acquainted with the game in a relaxing way, while towards the end, it can become crowded with shortcuts, curbs and powerups to assure the maximum mayhem. As stated above, the maps represent human-sized places that are often visited in real life, like your home, a museum, a yacht, a supermarket and so on. The tracks are fun with little effects here and there allowing a bit of sightseeing whilst trying to keep the pole position, all the while driving at the insane speed of 50km/h.
The game also contains a basic level editor which allows the users to create their own tracks. Though they don’t have the ability to add surroundings like sky, shelves, trees or other props, they do offer a variety of pathways as well as the ability to modify their height and both vertical and horizontal inclination, plus the possibility to add pick-ups.
The editor automatically adds a basic AI for the opponents that matches the track built. Their difficulty isn’t great, the player having a great advantage. Thus creating the map might be fun, but playing it, not so much… unless you enjoy easy wins.
The game allows an extended number of mods, mainly new Cars and Tracks (besides the ones made with the internal level editor). You can, with the help of a fan-made patch, install up to ~25000 cars and 500 tracks. Also the game has a fan-made Multiplayer Client, dubbed RV House, which is still alive even today. More over, the game benefits from custom patches meant to solve some bugs and add some new options. All of them can be checked by searching RVZT on Google.
– The fun is guaranteed
– Multiplayer is still alive
– Lots of mods available
– Various enviroments
– Lots of car models
– Harmful weapons dressed in cute designs
– Awesome graphics for it’s time
– None i can think of
Release Date: PS/Windows/Nintendo – July 1999, Dreamcast – December 1999, iOS – Oct. 2012, Android – April 2013
Developer: Acclaim Studios London
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment
Steam Store Page: The game is not available on Steam
Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJh4gEkc3g (This is a little project I worked on, 8 years ago, when I got my hands on a very old PC (reason why there’s that awful FPS). It includes custom cars and maps )
Similar Games: Rollcage Stage 2, Blur