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Platform

PC

 

Developer

Clever's Development

 

Publisher

Virgin Interactive

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2001

 

Genre

Racing

 

 

-Decent graphics for a low-budget game

-The most realistic SUV experience out there

-Lots of licensed vehicles to choose from

 

 

-The game is lifeless in terms of fun factor

-In multi-player mode the AI is non-existent

-No Arcade Mode

-The terrain can be inaccurate at times

-The control scheme doesn’t allow enough free movement of steering

 

 

N/A

 

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Screamer 4x4

Score: 3.5 / 10.0

We have all seen those SUV commercials that glorify the vehicle's off-road capability.  The commercials generally show action shots of the SUV traversing through Mother Nature.  The all-terrain adventure is something that Screamer 4x4 hopes to capture. 

Screamer 4X4 Review   Screamer 4X4 Review   Screamer 4X4 Review

The gameplay is pretty straightforward.  You take an SUV and run it through an off-road course and try to complete it in the fastest time possible.  You don't race against other SUVs, but rather try to complete the course as fast a time as you can.  If you want to race against other SUVs you have to play a multi-player game.  You can play against the CPU or humans, via online, in five different game modes.  I would suggest if possible, playing online because the CPU is downright dumb. 

In one of the multi-player modes, King of the Hill, your object is to knock the opposition off a pentagon-shaped track.  The entire track is very thin and is connected by bridges.  I ran into the side of one of those bridges and was temporarily stopped.  Well, one of the CPU SUVs came charging at me in a straight angle, effectively running them self off the track and off the cliff.  I would have thought it as a fluke if it had not been for the fact that that same SUV did it NINE more times!  I would see the SUV would disappear off the track and then I would see it circle around and fall off again.

 

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- PC Game Reviews

On a more serious note, the game accomplishes what it sets out to be, a realistic driving game.  But my major gripe is that they did it all too well.  The game is so realistic that you constantly have to use the hand brake and maneuver around with pinpoint precision.  At first, it sort of felt like the gameplay speed was slow and you had to creep around everything.  As I got better things did improve, but the control scheme with the four direction arrows made turning too precise.  Screamer 4x4 screams analog capability at you.

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When it all boiled down, I asked myself, "Is this game any fun?" 

I thought a much-needed game mode would have been an Arcade mode where you could take those awesome SUVs and run them around at 150 m.p.h. and not flip and roll them every three seconds.  By all means, keep the simulation aspect of the game, but add some flavor.  

The graphics are very nice for a small budget game (the game sells for $19.99).  And I love the big number of SUVs that you can choose from.  Screamer 4x4 boasts Chrysler Jeep Cherokee, Toyota Landcruiser, Mitsubishi Shogun, Mercedes G Wagon and Landrover Defender.  You get all the details of the vehicles and it looks very impressive.  The terrain is nothing spectacular, but it does an ample job.  One minor gripe I have with the game's graphic engine is the lack of wear and tear on the SUV if you crash.  You will get a nice trail of smoke coming from your vehicle, but the body will show no damage.  I crashed my SUV five straight times into a building and there was no dent at all. 

In the end, Screamer 4x4 is a solid effort from Virgin, but the game lacks any true punch to it.  If you are a gamer that would love to experience an authentic SUV experience, try the game out.  If you are just a casual racing fan, I would have to suggest that there are better games than this.

- Tim Martin

 

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