One of the first games a friend and I played on the original PlayStation was Destruction Derby. We thought that this game was nothing short of awesome. We got to race, crash, and trash our cars as well as other cars on the track, having the ability to see the cars take damage and how they were directly affected by the damage was something that we haven’t seen before. Since that time there has been very few games that captured that magic of total destruction while racing. Hoping to get a slice of the pie that Burnout has currently carved out in this genre, the developers at Empire Interactive have released FlatOut upon the gaming world. Is this game worth your time? Read on to find out.
Once players boot up the game, there are several different modes for players to choose to enter in: Career Mode, Quick Race, Time Trial, Bonus, and Multiplayer. The Career Mode is the real meat of this game, players will start off with $4,000 and an empty garage and they will try to win races to buy better cars or upgrade their cars. Your main goal is to go from the Bronze Class and become the champion of the Gold Class. It is up to you, are you up to the challenge and the fame that comes with it?
Check out the damage
Quick Race allows players to instantly get their racing fix by going against computer controlled cars. Time Trial allows players to race against the clock and see if you can obtain a high score for that particular track. Bonus is divided into three different categories, bonus tracks, demolition areas, and rag-doll sports. Bonus tracks are small tracks designed to create a lot of damage in a short time frame. Demolition arenas are circular bowl where players compete against seven other cars to see who can cause the most damage and stay alive, a “king of the hill” type mode. Rag-Doll Sports mode is a real trip to do because it incorporates the driver flying out of the windshield to accomplish such tasks as the long jump, bowling, and various other things. This mode provides gamers a break from all of the other modes by adding in some humor. Multiplayer allows you to compete against fellow humans sitting next to you on the couch or go online.
The best thing about this game that almost anything that you see is fully destructible. Yes, that’s right you can take your nice car and turn it into a nice hunk of scrap metal before you finish the race. As you bump into various things in the race, your car will slowly start to deform and different parts will start to fly off of it such as the doors, hood, and various other things. If you see something on the race track you will be able to take it down. It is very nice to take down a building and see the mayhem that you caused as you speed past it.
Is that Superman?
The biggest problem with FlatOut is the controls. While the controls are very intuitive and easy to learn, the response time is not so good. Many times I have lost a race or lost control of my car because of unresponsive controls. This is a real killer for games of this nature because one flick of your thumb can mean the difference between continue racing or brick wall. If you do get stuck or spin out, nine times out of 10 it is better to reset your car then try to correct your mistake, which I found odd.
One thing that you will have to give props for is that FlatOut looks really nice. The cars in this game are really detailed from when you first start the race, and the level of destruction that you can do to the cars is detailed really nice as well. I think that it is funny once your hood gets busted and then it will be flapping, distracting your view, but if you speed up enough the force from the wind will blow it off. Then you will get to see some of the inter-workings of the engine which is awesome to see in a game like this. This brings me to another point the level of interactivity with each of the race tracks is nice as well. There are a lot of things scattered throughout all of the levels that can knocked over and destroyed.
That will leave a mark
The musical soundtrack for FlatOut is not the greatest. Since this game was developed in Europe you will find that most of the artists are European rock bands. Some of the music is decent, but on the whole it is very forgettable. The sounds that you will hear throughout the game are very generic and have a very been-there, done-that sound to them. This is not a bad thing because there are only so many ways to make an engine sound, especially since this game doesn’t have any car licenses.
If you get bored of playing offline, and you have a broadband connection you will be able to play with gamers from all over the world. The game modes are really nice and I rarely ran into any lag while racing against other people.
Rated T for Teen. It will take up to 109KB on your memory card for game saves.
Even though the controls are really easy to learn and master, the unresponsive nature of the controls will kill you while you are racing.
FlatOut is a really nice looking game. Each of the cars has a lot of little details before and even when they are in the process of getting trashed. The environments are also really nice because there is a lot of things that can be destroyed which always makes games of this nature even better.
The music is Ok and nothing really special about it. All of the sounds in the game are really generic as well.
The AI in this game is really hard on you from your first race and doesn’t let up. The jerky controls that you must deal with really doesn’t help matters either.
This game really doesn’t bring any new ideas to the plate that gamers have not already seen.
Playing online is pretty fun, especially since players will constantly do insane things that will cause wonderful-looking car wrecks, that will give you something to do for a long time.
It is not that FlatOut is a bad game, it is far from it. The problem is that since this game has some flaws that hamper the gameplay and the fact that there have been a couple of games that have reset the bar for games of this nature. Even though this might be the case, players will have many hours of enjoyment as they play though this game online or just goof off with all of the bonus modes.