On paper it sounds like the easiest game to make in the whole world. Take everybody's favorite hicks-n'- car-chases TV show, the Dukes of Hazzard, and turn it into a mission-based driving game. There'd be all sorts of things you could do like running from the law, racing, wrecking cop cars... uh... running from the law some more... the list goes on and on. The Dukes of Hazzard: Racing For Home could have been an outstanding game, but the game is simply too easy and way too buggy to succeed.
The game's story is told through pre-rendered cutscenes, which use some of the real voices from the old TV show. The renders of the characters look downright frightening sometimes, as if you were watching the TV show only all the characters have been replaced by lifeless androids. The story moves along from plot point to plot point very quickly. At the beginning you'll just be doing things like stopping carjackers and getting money to the bank before it closes. But the game eventually leads up to a big race and takes a sharp left turn into flashback territory after that, where you'll actually play as a young Uncle Jesse as he tells the story of Black Jack Perril, the game's resident villain. Again, on paper this sounds like a real winner. But the execution is a real mess.
OK, so Rosco and Enos aren't supposed to be very good drivers. And, yes, they wrecked a whole lot of cop cars during the course of the series. But the AI driving in this game is absolutely terrible. The cops will do their fair share of ramming into the General Lee, but most of the time they'll just be content to find a wall and drive into it over and over again. This makes what could have been a challenging car chase completely laughable. Also, you'll witness a few more bugs as you go through the game. For instance, early in the game some carjackers steal Uncle Jesse's truck, and you must ram into them until they pull over, similar to what you had to do in Taito's old Chase H.Q. arcade game. If you manage to pass the truck it will sometimes "warp" past you and appear directly in front of you again. Adding to the frustration is the game's tendency to disable the analog-control button on your Dual Shock controller between levels, leaving you wondering why you suddenly can't steer your car. A two-player mode lets you and a friend go through time trials, simple races, or a simple game of tag called "run the jug."
Graphically the game looks fairly solid, but there are some weird seams and glitchy polygons that occasionally appear on the sides of the screen for no good reason. But the game runs at a decent speed and frame rate, and the cars look pretty good. The soundtrack is really nice. The game opens with the theme to the show, and the music throughout the game, though newly recorded, fits into the universe very nicely. The General Lee's horn doesn't sound quite right; you would think this could have been sampled from the show simply.
The development of this game switched hands only a few months before its release, and after playing the game at length, you really get the impression that the game was handed to the new development team with the instructions, "Make sure it doesn't lock up so we can ship it before the holidays." With more polish this could have been a fun little driving game. But as it stands, Dukes of Hazzard: Racing For Home is way too buggy and way too easy to be fun for long. It's likely that you'll be able to finish this game in one rental period, but if you're a big fan of the series, you should probably just buy the game anyway.