Scrap Metal Hands-On

Cars? Check. Weapons? Check. Explosions? Oh yeah. Old-school 3D glasses? Huh?


The time-honored video game tradition of weapon-laden cars crashing into one another at ludicrous speeds continues with the upcoming Scrap Metal for Xbox Live Arcade. Due for release this spring, this arcade auto combat game looks to combine exactly what you might expect from the game based on its title: lots of cars and lots of crashes. We had a chance to check the game out for the first time today at the Microsoft booth at CES 2010.

Pinky Tuscadero would never have survived this.
Pinky Tuscadero would never have survived this.

There's a modicum of a story to the game's main single-player campaign, and its one you've probably heard before in similar games: up-and-coming racer, looking to make a name for himself, lots of colorful nemeses to despose of--you know the drill. If you're anything like us, though, you'll skip through the game's minimal dialogue screens and look to get straight into the metal-bending action. The game is played from a top-down perspective with you guiding your car around hostile environments as varied as decaying cities and swampy wetlands, and several points in between. The campaign mode will feature 60 missions in these different areas, with your goal being to be the first one across the finish line.

Of course, with all the rampant crashing and pervasive gunfire, your goal in the early goings might be simply to make it to the end of a race in one piece. Your car has a health meter that diminishes as you take damage--if you incur too much, your race will be over. During the race, however, you'll find pickups that can boost your car's health or give you more nitro that you can use to get out of sticky situations. In addition, your race winnings can be used in your garage to upgrade any of the cars in your garage--speed, grip, armor, and weapons can all be upgraded over time, provided you've got the cash on hand.

While upgrading your car is one strategy, you're not limited to a single car in your garage. Indeed Scrap Metal has 25 different car models to collect--from slick muscle cars to bruising trucks and even futuristic-looking hovercars. Earning these new rides is simply a matter of taking them out in race missions. Different cars have different capabilities, not to mention different weapons (we're particularly fond of the flamethrower, which is devastating at close range), so collecting as many as possible and finding the model that suits your needs is a good idea.

In addition to the main single-player campaign, Scrap Metal has a few additional modes: Destruction Derby mode (which puts eight cars in a relatively small area and lets them beat, bash, and blast one another until a single winner emerges) and Crooked Cops mode. Taking its inspiration from the ever-increasing aggro level of police in the Grand Theft Auto series, Crooked Cops is a survival mode of sorts, with every successive lap you complete in an event resulting in increasingly powerful and aggressive police (or, eventually, military) vehicles trying to take you out. You can't beat Crooked Cops mode; you can only see how long it takes you to die (and compare your score with your friends via the online leaderboards). In addition, the game will support multiplayer for four players either via local split-screen or via Xbox Live.

Developed by Slick Entertainment, the folks behind 2008's stylish platformer N+, Scrap Metal has a gritty look that is defined by huge crashes and fiery explosions. In addition to all the twisted metal carnage, the game includes a mode that displays the game in 3D. Unfortunately, you'll need to provide your own pair of old-school 3D glasses (the cardboard rims with one blue lens and one red lens). We tried it out, and although the 3D effects certainly weren't as convincing as some of the more cutting-edge technology found on the CES floor, it seems like it might be fun to try, provided you've got the retro specs handy.

Scrap Metal is due for release on Xbox Live Arcade in spring 2010.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 9 comments about this story