Destruction Derby is an excellent carnage-cum-racing game in the same vein as Carmageddon. The goal is not only to win, but to total your enemies while surviving yourself. |
The pure racing aspects of Destruction Derby are more than adequate, featuring five tracks in which you can race your opponents to the finish line if you want. I wouldn't recommend it, though. Why race your competitors when you can smash them? The real fun of the game lies in the wanton destruction. For that, the game comes with a special sixth "track" called the Bowl, which is literally a large circular arena that pits you against fifteen other drivers bent on turning your vehicle into a jalopy wreck. Your goal here is to survive while racking up points by banging up other cars.
The gameplay relies on a superb engine that realistically models all of the action, allowing tailspins, side-wipes, and head-on collisions in addition to the normal racing maneuvers. Your car even handles worse when it's damaged. The major problem here is that you can't see your sides or rear, often making it difficult to detect your opponents. The game also suffers from poor flow control outside the action proper.
The graphics are very impressive, delivering a convincing sense of real carnage without the need for 3D accelerators. You can almost feel your car slam into its target in an arena constantly filled with flying scrap, billowing smoke, and careening cars. Even the background scenery is well done. You can also watch the race replays, which automatically pan and zoom to give you the best view of the action. There are, however, glaring instances of extremely bad clipping in which objects suddenly disappear or develop odd holes, particularly during normal gameplay.
Although car physics are not as super-realistic as racing fans would have liked, Destruction Derby boasts a very realistic simulation of damage. As you crash into your opponents, the cars' performance suffers as a result. They don't steer as well; they lose speed, blow smoke, and overheat when the radiator gets smashed. Then it's only a matter of time until your ride quits running. To survive, you have to constantly throw your car into reverse and hunt for something to hit. This attention to damage is a nice touch of realism that adds to the otherwise unadulterated arcade fun. The downside of the game is that, even when at the highest level of difficulty, it's very easy to win on any track, both in individual races and the championship.
But the lower-than-average difficulty of the game shouldn't dissuade anyone from trying out this immensely enjoyable game. The sheer fun of watching cars turn to smoking heaps is incredibly addictive, and will keep you coming back for more. Overall, Destruction Derby is an exhilarating mix of racing and demolition that no arcade or racing fan would want to miss. Two thumbs up, way up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs