As far as film-to-video game adaptations go, those based on Pixar's animated works are on the more easily digestible end of the scale. With Pixar's Cars 2 set for release later this year, Disney Interactive has knocked up a colourful arcade driving game based on the film, for ages 5 and up. We recently had the chance to sit down with a small demo of a very early build of the game.
At this stage, all the cutscenes we saw were still in the early stages of development (read: slow-moving drawings), but even though this is not what the final game will look like, it added a light and cartoony feel to the whole demo. Little is known about the story so far, but it looks like it will closely follow that of the film. Because the main campaign is still being worked on, we were shown a few training missions from the start of the game, which are designed to get you acquainted with the different aspects of gameplay and the racing tracks in the game.
There's an underlying spy theme running through the whole game, and so our first training mission took place in spy school. After picking from a variety of characters (Lightning McQueen, Finn, Sarge, Mater, and so on), we were shown a basic training mission that involved learning the controls of the game--steering, doing jumps and tricks, drifting, boosting, and more. Completing the missions well earns you points, which fill up an experience meter that can be used to unlock new missions and car skins. The best part about this bit was hearing actor Michael Caine's voice giving curt, beautifully sarcastic instructions.
In the next part of the demo, we were shown a quick race, where Lightning McQueen demonstrated the kinds of moves you can expect in an arcade racer: drifting, boosting, double-boosting (which requires you to build up your boost meter and creates a bright orange glow around McQueen when used), and lots of car-related racetrack sounds (cars smashing into each other, gears shifting, and wheels braking).
McQueen can also do plenty of tricks: pressing up on the thumbstick will see him go up on two wheels, while pressing down will see him drive in reverse. He can also do air tricks and barrel rolls, which help to fill the boost meter while racing.
The final part of the demo was a race mode called Attack, in which you must race around a track and use various weapons lying around to defeat all the other cars in the race. There isn't a single boring weapon to be found for this purpose: rocket launchers, machine guns, things that shoot fire, things that explode…it's all there. You simply drive over a particular weapon throughout the race and use a handy targeting system to lock on to nearby cars before letting loose. Each car destroyed successfully earns you more time on the track and experience points. If you're so compelled, it is also possible to shoot in midair while doing a particular trick or flip.
Cars 2 is out on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and DS in June this year.