This one is strictly for the diehard derby-goers, assuming there are still a few of us out there.
Ask yourself this question: Can you honestly remember the last time you enjoyed a real-life demolition derby, let alone a demolition derby video game? The derby itself has become antiquated, and as far as games go, tried-and-true demolition derby games have pretty much been outshined and outclassed in recent years by crash-happy racers like the Burnout series. Atari and Monster Games' Test Drive: Eve of Destruction is an earnest attempt to try to bring the old-school brand of demolition derby game back into the limelight--and it almost pulls it off. The game features a pretty insane roster of race types, ranging from simple no-rules car races to school bus and trailer races. Unfortunately, some sluggish racing gameplay and a lack of any real depth beyond the game's offline multiplayer component and slightly taxing career mode mar the experience enough to prevent Eve of Destruction from living up to its potential.
From the moment you pop Eve of Destruction into your console, it's apparent that the developers weren't interested in gussying up the experience beyond its core elements. You have only two modes to choose from in the main menu: action and career. The action mode is a basic single- or multiplayer mode; you can choose from any of the game's arenas, cars, and race types and get into a one- to seven-race series. The wide variety of cars range from simple compacts, to midsize sedans, to muscle cars, to big-time machines like school buses and ambulances. Even more impressive than the vehicle list, however, is the list of available race types. If you've ever been to a demolition derby, you can't help but appreciate how Eve of Destruction displays its affection for the "sport" by including everything from chain races to plain old "smash into everybody until you're the last car running" derbies.
The career mode featured in Eve of Destruction is pretty lengthy. You'll begin with a clunker of a car, a modest amount of cash, and a trailer park home in a sleepy little hick town. Then you'll start driving around looking for a race. Each main race area is indicated by an icon on a map, as are other notable areas you can visit, such as the local scrap yard, where you can buy new cars with your winnings, and the auto shop, where you can purchase vehicle upgrades. You'll have to buy cars semi-regularly. Although you can repair cars that you thrash in competition, some damage is irreparable, and that irreparable damage adds up over time. There are also some time trial areas and some areas where you can challenge individual drivers to races for a little extra cash.
With 25 different race events in the career mode, as well as all the little side races you can participate in, you'll definitely be spending a fair amount of time completing your career. With that said, however, while the mode may have some girth to it, it isn't always fun. Although exactly how many races and what types of races are included are randomized throughout each event, you're still basically just driving to an event, running a few races, then driving to another event, over and over again. Thankfully, the side races and occasional trips to the scrap yard break up the monotony a bit, but even so, the career mode isn't consistently fun throughout.
The basic racing mechanics found in Test Drive: Eve of Destruction are as straightforward as you'd expect. The only race controls you have at your disposal are accelerate, brake, and reverse buttons, and there's a fire button for when you have to shoot chickens at your opponents in one of the battle races (we'll get to that in a minute). The handling of the cars isn't especially realistic, but the pacing of the racing seems almost realistic to a fault. Essentially, the game's sense of speed isn't great, and even when you're racing with the fastest cars in the game, you can't help but feel like you're dragging along. While some might argue that this is because you're basically racing nothing but junk cars, the fact remains that the game claims that, at times, you're reaching speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour, but it just does not feel like you are.
However, though it doesn't feel like you're going very fast, your cars react as though you are, leading to a lot of hard slideouts and uncontrollable wrecks. The game is unforgiving when it comes to collisions with objects or walls, and you're going to take some serious damage and slide all over the place when you have such a collision. Wrecks with cars tend to be more forgiving, but they would have to be since you're wrecking into cars all the time. Ultimately, this inconsistency between sense of speed and car control doesn't wreck the racing, but it does give it an occasionally off-kilter feel.
- Player Reviews: 20
- Game Universe:
- Test Drive Le Mans (PS, PC, DC, GBC),
- Test Drive Cycles (PS, DC, PC, GBC),
- Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open (PS2, XBOX),
- Le Mans 24 Hours (PS2, PC),
- Test Drive (PS2, XBOX, C64, AMI, PC, ST),
- Test Drive: Eve of Destruction (XBOX, PS2),
- Test Drive 6 (PC, DC, PS, GBC),
- Test Drive: Off-Road 3 (PC, PS, DC),
- Test Drive 5 (PC, PS),
- Test Drive Unlimited (PS3, X360, PSP, PS2, PC)
- Offline Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Number of Players: