FlatOut ships out

Empire Interactive's twisted metal racer crashes into retail on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and PC.

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Racing just got raunchier. FlatOut, the crash-tastic racer from Empire Interactive, is ready for wreckage on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. The game was developed by Bugbear Entertainment, a Finnish developer that also holds the PC games Rally Trophy and Tough Trucks in its portfolio.

FlatOut previously left debris in Europe, when it was released late last year. The North American release adds online multiplayer to the consoles, with the PS2 supporting six racers and the Xbox supporting eight. The PC version does not support online play but does allow for some LAN action.

The destruction derby has a trunk full of physics, with fully destructible environments and gruesome (read: comical) rag-doll physics for hapless drivers who are ejected through windshields. Carnage will pave the roads and remain there, bringing strategy into play when deciding whether or not to collapse the roadside scaffolding--it will still be there on the next lap.

FlatOut also has a variety of bizarre minigames that cause both wincing and giggling. There are games of darts, bowling, a "long jump," and more that don't involve balls or Olympic athletes. Ejected drivers become the projectiles, and exaggerated rag-doll physics will remind gamers of the driver's ed cautionary flick Red Asphalt.

Bugbear recently announced that it is currently working on FlatOut 2, and VU Games has signed on to publish the title in North America when it is released next year.

FlatOut is rated T for Teen and has an SRP of $39.99 on the PC and $49.99 on the PS2 and Xbox. For more information, read GameSpot's full review.

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