|a game by||GT Interactive|
Almost one year ago, GT Interactive bought an up-and-coming development company called Singletrac. Singletrac may not be a household name, but I guarantee you have heard of their games. The most notorious of these are the Twisted Metal games. Both Twisted Metal 1 and 2 were unchallenged in a genre that they invented. Like any good game, copies came in time. While I would not call the genre crowded, I will say that there is some stiff competition. So what does Twisted Metal have to do with Rogue Trip? Nothing, aside from the fact that this game should be called Twisted Metal 3. See, as it turns out, when GT Interactive bought Singletrac, Sony (now 989 Studios) retained the rights to the name and the game engine. So what did the brain powers at GTI and Singletrac decide to do? That is correct; they decided to Rogue Trip.
Technically, this game is not Twisted Metal 3 but anyone who has played the TM games will know right away that this would have been the next game in the series had the big purchase not transpired. Is this a bad thing? Hell no. This just means that we get another great car combat game from the company that started it all. Not only that, but they got to put their creative minds to work and come up with a whole new cast of characters, vehicles, and environments. Throw money into the mix and now you really have something to fight for.
If you are one of the three PSX owners in the world who have never played the TM series and keep scratching your head every time I mention these games, let me give you a quick update. These games are all about vehicular combat between the craziest bunch of characters you would ever care to see. You pick a vehicle and head out looking to kick some ass. Weapons are scattered throughout, and all you have to do is pick them up and blast away at the other combatants. The TM series really brought two-player action to the top on the PSX.
But that was then and this is now. This is no longer TM but now it is Rogue Trip. Okay, it still plays the same and feels the same, but there have been some great improvements that have really added to the overall gameplay experience, and the cast of characters may even make you forget about your favorite TM characters. So what is new, you ask? More than enough to keep you playing for hours and hours, that's for sure.
The biggest difference that Rogue Trip brings is the whole concept of money. It was a natural fit. Sure, it was cool to go around and blow other people up for no reason at all except survival. It is very cool to blow people up because they are stealing your ride fare. See, the whole idea is that you chase around town looking for a tourist to pick up. If you pick up the tourist, the meter starts running. It is your job to get the tourist to one of the scenic photo ops scattered about the landscape where they will give you a nice tip, then it is off to the next photo op. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, the thing is, there is only one tourist per level and there are six people trying to "earn" that one person's business. So if you happen to be the person with the tourist in your vehicle, there are five other psychos trying to keep you from getting the cash. They will do whatever it takes to stop you, and the only way that they will be able to get the tourist from you is either to completely blow you away or to shoot an ejector weapon at you. Once the passenger is ejected from your vehicle, it is a free-for-all to pick the passenger back up.
The second biggest difference, which was also a great addition, was what you could do with the money once you received it. In the TM games, you relied completely on finding pick-ups to restore your health and to gain new weapons. This game has health and weapon recharge stations that you just drive through and everything is taken care of. That is assuming, of course, that you have the money to pay for the services. Nothing is for free, you know. So basically, the guy with the cash can keep buying health recharges, thus keeping him alive longer. On the surface, this sounded lame to me, because I thought that the one guy that got the tourist would win all the time -- he would have all of the money to buy the weapons and health. Not to worry; money and weapons are hidden (and not so hidden) throughout the worlds. That means even if you don't have the tourist, you can still rip around loading up on cash and weapons and then go blast the hell out of the person that has the tourist at the time.
One of the things that made the TM games so much fun was the different characters that you could choose. I really thought that there were some sick minds at Singletrac before this game came out. They have changed my mind with the release of this game. I now KNOW there are some seriously twisted minds at Singletrac. But it is great. They just have a way with coming up with characters that you remember. In most games I can never remember the other players' names or vehicles, but in this game you just can't help it. All of the characters have cars that fit their personalities and are equipped with special moves that also fit their personalities. Since there are 16 different characters, I will not be able to tell you all of them, but let me give you a couple so you can see what I am talking about. The first car that comes to mind is the Meat Wagon. This is a car with a giant hotdog on top of it. The driver's name is Richard "Dick" Biggs. Dick Biggs' special move is called the Weenie Whacker. Next we have the Bitchin' Wheels. This looks like a hot pink Camaro and is driven by Bunny, a big-haired former beauty queen. Her special weapon is called Poodle Power, which unleashes a pack of poodles after her victim. Sick... but awesome.
One of the things that bothered me about the TM games was that the arenas always seemed bit crowded. First off, this game has 10 different arenas ranging from The Maul to Hell-O-Stone which actually has cliffs that you can fall to your death from. Most of these arenas are huge, wide open and multileveled. You can drive on roofs, under collapsed buildings and can even get warped up off the planet in Area 51. There is plenty of action, no matter what you choose.
This paragraph is usually reserved for the beginning of my complaints with a game. The more I think about it, the less I can think to complain about. The game is not perfect by any means, but I really don't have any specific examples of why. Tell you what, go out and buy this game and if you have any complaints, send them to me and I will add them to this section. Sound good?
A definite upgrade from the TM series. There is little graphical break-up and you are always aware of your surroundings and what is taking place around you. I think that Singletrac does such a great job of bringing the characters' personalities to life through the special weapons and the vehicles. All the arenas are great-looking as well. There is nothing cooler than being sucked up into outer space in the Area 51 level.
If you liked TM, you will love Rogue Trip. If you thought that TM was pointless, you should really enjoy the added ability to collect money and purchase upgrades. They did everything right with this game, and I think that it is better than anything previous to it. I think that it might not get the accolades that the _TM- series got, just because they were such a totally new thing that had never been done before, but we die-hards will know how good it is, and that is all that matters.