Destruction Derby 64

a game by Looking Glass Studios, Inc.

Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64

Genre: Racing

See also: Destruction Derby Games

Four years ago, when Destruction Derby first appeared as a launch game for the PlayStation, the idea of driving very fast into other cars for points and then watching with an evil glint as bits of bumper, door and wheel flew off was - incredibly - good fun.

Present day, and this astonishingly late conversion looks and feels a little tired. Not surprising considering it's arrived about three years too late. But, the endlessly derivative courses, cardboard box cars and rapidly grating commentary seem somehow less appealing at the end of 1999. It's still fair all-round entertainment, but in these days of the weaponed-up Vigilante 8 and the straight-laced brilliance of World Driver, a game that falls between the two, but does neither particularly well, looks a bit like your Dad trying to dance at a school disco: old, unfashionable and hopelessly out of place.

DD64 offers the same sort of option choices as the second Destruction Derby on the PlayStation. The Championship mode obviously offers you the chance to unlock new courses and cars if you can win the DD league. You do that by either, a) driving around, missing other cars, and ending up the last car not on fire, or b) driving fast into other cars in an effort to bust 'em up good, hoping your car doesn't go up in flames in the process. All very simple, and even simpler when the standard tracks change to bowls - circular stadiums where there's no chance of escape, and where your only choice is to smash each other up.

And that's it. The only real surprise the game throws up is that it's not quite as tedious as it sounds. In fact, at times ifs strangely compulsive, particularly where the bowls are concerned. The trouble with the more straightforward tracks is that, once you get down to one or two of you, you spend ages driving round the empty course trying to find the remaining vehicles. At least the bowls are smaller, and actually, in multiplayer, the bowl-based Bomb Tag is absolutely fantastic. The downside, though, is that the game suffers from shocking frame rate problems when there's more than one player, though this is lessened inside the bowls.

But, even given the amusement of the bowls, DD64 is a bog standard N64 game. There are sparks of enjoyment throughout, but the concept is just too limiting and you can complete the one-player game in about half a day (and thafs with a couple of easily avoidable mistakes chalked up). Mildly fun, then, but pretty average.

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