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Demolition Racer is nothing new

November 29, 1999
Web posted at: 12:55 p.m. EST (1755 GMT)

by Nash Werner

Action Shots

(IDG) -- The culprits: Pitbull Syndicate and Infogrames. The offense: Ripping off Psygnosis' Destruction Derby 2 without adding much to the racing-destruction genre. The evidence: Demolition Racer.

While it may have gone over well on the PlayStation, I expect a little more than a rehashed DD2 when it comes to the PC. And Demolition Racer on the PC is cookie-cutter all the way.

At its best, Demolition Racer is a handsome game. The graphics, from car textures to 3D terrain, are sharp. The weather effects -- tire splashes, raindrops hitting the camera and so forth -- look good. You can also paint your car with pretty colors of your choosing in the game's paint shop.

But the list of good features ends here. Demolition Racer looks a lot better than it plays.

Sadly, just like DD2, DR only has two modes of play: Racing Circuit and Arena. In the Racing Circuit mode, you compete in 10 progressive races against 15 computer-controlled cars, unlocking new tracks and cars along the way. In arena mode, you compete in 16-car pileups where survival is the only goal.


You get nothing new in DR. Why didn't the designers tweak the physics to make the game more realistic than DD2, or add new modes of play to make it more fun--like one-on-one match-ups, team events, and perhaps a capture the flag event?

The sound in DR is nothing special: crashing noises, revving noises, and a hardcore/thrash soundtrack with bands like Empirion, Cirrus, and Fear Factory. Nothing really grabbed me. The audio feels cut-and-pasted from any other racing game.

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And there's no network play. I mean, if you're going to port a PSX game to the PC, at least add network play so it doesn't just seem like you're trying to extract a few more dollars from the retail market.

Pick up Destruction Derby 2 instead (it started out on the PlayStation, too). It's three years old, so you might have trouble finding it. But it's a superior game.


  • In Arena mode, keep an eye on your car's damage level. You need to be one of the last three cars alive to place high in the standings.

  • You get bonus points for scoring kills, so take aim at weakened cars to rack up easy points.

  • Use your hand brake in racing mode to help you powerslide around sharp corners.

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    Review: Demolition Racer (PlayStation)
    Review: Destruction Derby 2
    Review: 3D Ultra RC Racers
    Review: Boss Rally
    Review: Grand Theft Auto 2
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