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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Driving

 

Publisher

Majesco

 

Developer

Rage Software

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q3 2002

 

 

- Smashing the hell out of cars: it doesn’t get any better than this

- Good selection of varied cars to choose from

- Nice mix of levels and objectives to keep gameplay from getting monotonous

 

 

- Ridiculously long loading times unforgivable on a system with a built-in hard drive

- Single-player action doesn’t last too long

- Some level objectives are frustrating to accomplish

 

 

Review: Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions (XBox)

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Totaled!

Score: 7.4 / 10

Smashing the hell out of cars: it doesn’t get any better than this. Cars being slammed, parts a-flyin’ all over, engines bursting into flames; for anybody who enjoys the twisting of metal in a last-car-left-running-wins contest, Totaled! for the Xbox brings back the demolition derby-style game with reasonably positive results.

 

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Before I start listing the good features of Totaled, I’ll mention the absolute worst aspect of the game. I never thought I would see the day that a game on the Xbox, with its excellent built-in hard drive feature, has such a horrible load time. On some levels, the load time lasts two or three times longer than the actual time spent performing the level objectives. And you would think that if you failed to accomplish the level’s objective the first time you would start right back up since you just played it, again because of the built-in hard drive. But you would be wrong, because the load time is STILL unbelievably lengthy. It’s so bad, if it weren’t for some of the game’s stronger points, Totaled would be a total waste of your game-playing time.

 

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- XBox Game Reviews

- Driving/Racing Game Reviews

- Games Developed by Rage Software

- Games Published by Majesco.

There are a few game modes to rev up the gamer’s engines. The basic one is the single-player career mode, which starts you out with a limited number of cars to choose from as you work your way through all the game’s 16 tracks. The farther you go, the more cars that are unlocked for you to choose from on later levels. The game has a nice selection of cars, 12 in all, from hot rods to muscle cars to performance cars, although you should make sure you know what kind of features 

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each car has and if it is suited for the particular level you are currently attempting to complete. Hot rods are slow, but tough against the brutal attacks of your opponents. Muscle cars are the most balanced, providing good speed with decent toughness. Performance cars are the fastest the game has to offer, but are very light and susceptible to damaging smash-ups. You can also choose the arcade mode that thrusts you quickly into the seat of a car you have already unlocked onto one of the unlocked levels.

 

To keep from being a repetitive undertaking, Totaled has varied levels that require different strategies, and that also goes for the level’s objectives too. In some areas, you may be required to reach a score goal, while in others it could be a race or even a good old “last man standing” demolition derby competition. There are also a few stuntman levels, where you are either jumping buses within a time limit or leaping through hoops to score points. The only annoying objective is maneuvers, because it requires you to do specific moves within a certain time limit. This can be really frustrating, because the only difference between a T-bone and a blindside (both required to complete the objective) is how fast you are racing before walloping into the target car. Trying to build up enough speed once your nitros are used up can be a maddening experience. And because of the load times, having to repeat these specific maneuver-objective levels several times almost made me not ever want to play the game again.

 

The game’s best mode is the multiplayer. Up to four players can enter into the arena to battle it out in either individual or team based mayhem. This is Totaled’s absolute best game mode. It adds tons of replayability to a game that has a relatively short single-player life. And the addition of three other players into the fray doesn’t even slow down the frame-rate, which makes the long load times of the levels even more head-scratchingly unexplainable.

 

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Graphically, the game has a more arcade look and less of a simulation appearance to it. Think Daytona USA compared to Gran Turismo. The cars are rendered nicely using the muscle of the Xbox, but the backgrounds and levels themselves are average, not any better than what a PS2 can generate. When you start incurring damage on your car, the animations of your vehicle losing its parts like doors and hoods (and if you are totaled, bursting into a flaming wreck) are great. Sounds of cars crashing are metal-on-metal effective. Music is a mix of rock/punk tunes from a bunch of unknown bands, but fits Totaled’s gameplay style well.

 

Totaled employs a simple control set-up to make the game easy to pick up and play. The two triggers control the acceleration and braking of the cars, and the “B” button sets off the limited supply of nitro boosts. The most important control, even though it seems innocuous at first, is the “A” button that operates your vehicle’s handbrake. Using the handbrake to force your car into sliding action is the key to scoring big points and completing the maneuver levels. It also protects the front-end of your car in the arena fights while inflicting damage with the less-important-to-your-survival side or rear of your metal motor monster.

 

The camera’s fixed position gives you a good perspective on the cars in front of you with some peripheral vision. However, by using the right analog stick, you can train the camera on both sides and the rear of your vehicle. It’s a good feature, but in practice it can throw you off a little bit if you are cruising at a high speed. I generally avoided using it, but at least the developers included it for those who may want to incorporate it in the gameplay.

 

Aside from the inexcusable loading times that totally drag down the Totaled gameplay experience and a short single-player mode, the game’s multiplayer action, decent control scheme and level design make Totaled a better than average title for destruction derby fans not seen in a video games since, well, Demolition Derby. If you are planning on taking advantage of the multiplayer carnage of the game, Totaled is worth buying at its bargain price. But if you only plan on taking Totaled for a single-player spin around the block, then a rental may be the best initial option.

 

—Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(October 3, 2002)

 

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