Crash Day Preview for the PC
30/01/2006 at 08:51
Crash Boom Bang!
Atari get a royal savaging in the press these days, whether or not you still choose to call them Infogrames. Now and again though they do dish out some rather interesting (and often bug raddled) titles. We'll skip past Driver 3, and give honourable mentions to Boiling Point (engrossing but buggier than a cockroach playing a beta of Buggy Boy on the Amstrad CPC464), Fahrenheit (a welcome return to the adventure game marred by a not so welcome return of Bemani-Detective-madness).
Next up would appear to be a game called Crash Day, which could be seen as Atari playing it rather safe, and going for a well established (and very well worn) genre, the arcade racer. If indeed there is any racing to be had, the demo version did not exactly make this clear. What there is though is the sort of overblown physics-driven motor mashing madness that should sell well enough.
Nadeo aren't going to like this!
Crash Day doesn't so much tread on Nadeo's "Trackmania" toes, as dons a pair of 20 hole steel toecapped Doctor Martens and does a polka on them. It does have rather a lot in common with Trackmania but it also owes a nod of its head to so many other games too (Flat Out, Destruction Derby etc) so don't be put off by the niggling feeling that you've seen it all before, it has enough charm of its own to keep you wanting to play. One thing puzzles me though, why aim it squarely at the PC market when it would've made an absolutely blistering console title? (A question oft asked of Trackmania - imagine a LIVE-Enabled version of that, oh my yes!)
So what's different, Monkey-Boy?
The game is a mix of weapons-enabled destruction, banger-racing style mayhem and crazy over-the-top stunt action with the addition of mini games, a career mode and the usual online multiplayer goodness. There is also a track editor, which does a damned good job of upstaging Trackmania's by keeping things blissfully simple (ahem, Nadeo are you paying attention?)
The mulitplayer aspect of the game seems to revolve around Twisted Metal-style head on challenges in various arenas. Nice, but the demo doesn't show whether or not you will be able to take part in any actual "races" per se. There does seem to be a multiplayer "stunt off" mode where players compete to perform the most outrageous stunts for maximum points though.
A note about game music - If you can't do it properly, don't do it at all!
The first thing you will do is kill off the godawful RAWK that infests this title. Some nasty german band guitar-wanking and screaming away is not what we modern gamers demand, in fact as a note to other developers it might be worth them just ditching the whole music thing in games altogether, and just bundling a nice little MP3 playing utility in there. Save our ears, we do not like your crap music, we do not want to listen to it, stop paying these arseholes to play it!
As for the rest of the game's performance, it runs blissfully smoothly on even a mediocre rig like mine, and you will swiftly find that you can max out the graphics and effects settings and not suffer from any frame rate dips (EA, are you listening?)
In game physics and damage models are pleasing enough, and there are some nice dirty particle effects when you skid over mud or grass, or smash your vehicle into a wall and watch little fragments of it scudding off into the air.
Overall, it's a good solid title, and might sell well given its Q1 release date (24th February). PLAY are currently doing pre-orders for this for £17.99 and it'd definitely be worth picking up if you're rather fed up with the comparitively antiseptic driving experience of Trackmania Sunrise, or if you're just looking for something to spend Auntie Bettie's christmas money on...