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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Gathering

 

Developer

Studio 33

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q1 2004

 

 

- Destruction Derby’s have their share of fun

- Lots of great collisions

- Cool upgrades for your cars

- Good scoring system

 

 

- Camera is sometimes a nightmare to deal with

- AI drives as if it’s drunk

- Championship mode is way too short

- Car physics are a joke

- No in-game chat for online play

 

 

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Destruction Derby Arenas

Score: 5.5 / 10

 

I remember the good old days on my old PC when Demolition Racer was one of the few good destruction derby games around. Its physics were unmatched and the game play (both offline and online) was extremely addictive. When I first heard about Destruction Derby Arenas (DDA) a year ago, I had high hopes that we might have a sleeper hit on our hands. Unfortunately I couldn’t have been more wrong.

 

destruction derby arenas ps2 review          destruction derby arenas ps2 review

 

DDA focuses on two types of racing: destruction derby and race. The Championship mode is made up of four sections, with each consisting of about four or five races and one destruction derby. In most races you’ll square off against a dozen or more computer controlled opponents. The large number of opponents makes for some really nasty collisions.

 

You can unlock secret characters for each race in the Championship mode by attaining a certain score. On top of the secret characters, you can also get some pretty hefty upgrades for your ride (aside from the pick-ups on each course) and unlock new tracks. The Championship mode has a unique scoring system that is not solely based on your position, but on your stunts, collisions and how much damage you inflict on opposing cars. The scoring system is excellent and should be incorporated into many other games.

 

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The Championship mode suffers from one big flaw, which is its difficulty and length. You can probably breeze through the entire Championship mode in less than two hours. There really is no reason to play through the Championship mode a second time. The AI also contributes to the demise of the Championship mode. The AI drives as if it has no regard for anything on the road. You’ll see multi car collisions quite frequently because of the idiotic AI. – they’ll often ram you into walls at the expense of their position. Even 

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though DDA goes for more of an arcade feel, the physics seem a little awkward. The cars seem to drift or to float a little too much and even taking large jumps aren’t as satisfying as they should be.

 

The tracks you unlock in the Championship mode can be accessed through the Wrecking Racing mode. Wrecking Racing is basically just your normal races that can be played with up to two players. You’ll probably get more enjoyment out of the Destruction Bowl mode. In this mode you’ll be pitted against nineteen other opponents in a closed off space and be required to be the last man standing. The Destruction Bowl mode is great for when you’re playing with a friend.

 

DDA features a robust online mode for being a budget title. To the surprise of many the game supports up to twenty players online (broadband only) and supports the USB headset for chat. Unlike the offline mode, you’ll find a lot of extra modes. There is a Speedway mode, Capture the Trophy mode, Pass Da Bomb mode and a Last Man Standing mode. The online play is extremely smooth and fluid. During my time online I was only able to play with a maximum of five people because of the small online community. My only gripe with the online play is that you can only chat in the game menus before or after a race. During the race no chat is allowed, which really shuts the door to any taunting you want to do.

 

destruction derby arenas ps2 review          destruction derby arenas ps2 review

 

DDA visuals really need a makeover. Car damage is not as pronounced as “destruction” might indicate and the environments look aliased. To make matters even worse, the frame rate occasionally seems to dip below thirty frames per second.

 

Probably my biggest gripe with the entire game is the camera system. The camera is not stable. The camera tends to shift so you’ll see an aerial view of your car, usually when you collide with an object or when your car is in a confined area of the track or arena.

 

Destruction Derby Arenas is a disappointment with too many problems to be anything more than a weekend rental, even at the $20US price tag.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(June 9, 2004)

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