Interstate 82

a game by Activision
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 2 reviews
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Activision's turning back the clock again for the sequel to Interstate 76--anti like all good time travelers, it's bringing a DeLorean! Interstate '82 once again puts gamers behind the wheel with the auto vigilante, Taurus, as he unravels a conspiracy involving presidential assassinations and Central American freedom fighters.

Under the hood. 182 sports a fantastic new 3D engine to power its 40 vehicles, and fancy 3D-accelerated graphic tricks make the rides look super-smooth. Players can take off on foot and change vehicles midmission, including jumping onto motorcycles and into helicopters. Besides the De-Lorean. look for Italian imports, classic hot rods, '50s cruisers, a Knight Rider-style black Firebird, and even a few golf carts equipped with 50-caliber guns! Throw in a simplified weapons interface, particle effects, better physics, a paint-job editor, and an '80s post-punk/new wave soundtrack and you have the potential for some very hot wheels indeed.

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Game Reviews

Overview

Six years have passed since the events that occurred in Interstate 76. Styles have changed, music has changed, auto vigilantism has changed. Even Taurus is changed -- he’s lost the ‘fro and now looks like Tubbs from Miami Vice and is retired from the Auto Vigilante Guild. Taurus’ old buddy and partner, Groove Champion, hasn’t changed all that much though and now he’s missing. Groove’s younger punk-rocker sister, Skye, needs Taurus’ help to find him. Reluctant to start battling again but wanting to help his friend, Taurus, Skye, and their mechanic Skeeter are off on an adventure to find and help Groove -- if it’s not too late.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Interstate 82 plays much the same as the original Interstate 76. There are some general changes and the heads-up display is less complicated than I-76, making it easier overall to see what’s going on. There are several modes of play such as Training, Instant Action, Multiplayer, and The Trip. Training is self-explanatory and there are two missions to get you familiar with the handling of your vehicle, reading the map and the heads-up display, and using your weapons. Instant Action and Multiplayer are more or less the same game (only one is vs. the Computer while the other is vs. real people). Jump into one of the many available maps with your customized chariot of death and show everyone else who's king of the road. The Trip is the story version of the game and focuses on you playing Taurus in various missions to find out what happened to Groove and foil the dastardly plot that got him in trouble in the first place. You will play missions that focus on not only destroying your enemies, but also outsmarting them by blocking roads or escaping. The missions take place in a variety of locations including Las Vegas, an old abandoned mine shaft, the mall, and even the government’s super secret alien test site -- Area 49. There is a difficulty setting for easy, medium, and hard. I played The Trip on medium and I felt it was a good challenge that left me feeling good about myself when I finished a mission.

Some of the vehicles and weapons from Interstate 76 are back for seconds and a plethora of new ones are along for the ride as well. As before, they are mostly rip-offs of real cars of the era with names very similar to their inspiration. Amongst these are the ’82 Daisan 420x, ’82 Potomac Pan Am, the ’82 Fiarello 803GHBs (you know, the one made famous by that hit TV series set in Hawaii, Magram Private Dicki, and also Taurus’ ride of choice), the ’82 DeLandau complete with stainless steel body, and of course the ever popular ’81 Phaedra Estate Wagon. Overall, there are 30 cars to choose from and customize. You also have the ability to give it a custom paint job if you so desire. The standard weapons of old (machine guns, oil slicks, etc) are back along with some powerful new energy weapons such as lasers and electromagnetic pulses as well as shielding to counteract these new menaces.

Just like I-76 you can upgrade your car and customize it in any way possible, as long as you can afford it. You gain money from the salvage of your victims. A nice new feature allows you to actually exit your car to commandeer other vehicles, throw switches, or get away from your car before it explodes. The disadvantage to this is that you’re likely to get killed very quickly as you’re only armed with your handgun. Hint: when doing this, find cover -- quickly. The controls in the game are fairly responsive. There are, of course, times when they aren’t -- such as when you’re driving through the snow or are off-roading. The physics of the different cars feels fairly realistic although it appears that all the other vehicles can more or less accelerate and achieve the same top speed as you can -- at least in The Trip, anyway. This is especially true when you go up against a MoleMaster (large heavy drilling tractor that can remarkably catch up to and repeatedly ram your sports car). The throttling and braking left a little to be desired, however, I noticed that when I pressed one or the other, the car would seem to be set on cruise control at that speed rather than coasting to a stop when the gas was released. This can make it a little difficult at times to control the car since you will probably expect that when you let off the gas the car would slow. I played this game with both a Sidewinder 3D Pro joystick and also with a steering wheel and found the game played MUCH better (and more realistically, for obvious reasons) with the steering wheel. The game has several pre-defined schemes for various controllers or you can define your own scheme and save it.

The general interface is slightly confusing at first only because there is a lot of "background" art on the screens that look as if they could be options. Click on everything until you find what’s what and you’ll no longer be confused. There is also a map and level editor available at Activision’s website.

Graphics

The computer I reviewed this game on wasn’t powerful enough to see what this game is really capable of graphics-wise. I have seen this game on a system with a higher end graphics card and the graphics look very nice. On my Voodoo 1 card, however, they are quite average and don’t look nearly as detailed as the pictures on the box. However, for playing on a system that is very close to the minimum requirements, the game’s video performed quite nicely.

Audio

Oh yeah! The soundtrack in the game is packed with all sorts of pseudo-80’s goodness including three previously unreleased tracks from Devo. If you like early 80’s music, you’ll likely want to crank up the volume. Even if you don’t care for this style of music, you’ll probably want to crank up the volume anyway as it’s pretty low. I found that even with the in-game volume settings for the speech turned all the way up, I still needed to crank my speakers to hear the speech. Overall, the sound is done well and each character has his or her own very distinct voice. And what Interstate game would be complete without Taurus reciting poetry while behind the wheel?

System Requirements

3D Hardware accelerator, P233 or higher with 32M RAM or P200 with 64M RAM, 100% Windows 95/98 (English version) compatible computer, 400M HD space, 4X CD-ROM drive with Redbook support (for CD Audio), DirectX 7 compatible sound and video. Multiplayer supports TCP/IP over a LAN or the Internet. Joystick optional.

Reviewed On: Pentium 233MMX, Orchid Righteous 3D (with 3Dfx Voodoo 1 Chipset), Diamond Stealth 3D 2000, 64MB SDRAM, CompUSA Championship Racing Wheel w/ Gearshift, and a Sidewinder 3D Pro Joystick.

Documentation

Sixty-four pages of information you’ll likely want to read if you’ve never played Interstate 76. Even if you have played I-76, you’ll probably want to check out the new weapons, defenses, and poetry. The writing itself is somewhat entertaining also.

Bottom Line

Okay, so I’ve cheered and jeered this game a bit. The final verdict, however, is that this game is insanely addictive and has a great storyline in The Trip and replayability in Instant Action and Multiplayer modes. I think if I had played (had the ability to play?) on a better system, I would’ve enjoyed this game even more than I already did. If you were a fan of Interstate 76, you need this game. If you are looking for a good solid action driving game, Interstate 82 may be just what you are looking for, which is why I give this game a score of 84.

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