Death Track Resurrection
Developer: 1C Company/Sky Fallen Entertainment
Publisher: Aspyr Media
Genre: Combat Racing
Release Date: 03/31/2009
Death Track Resurrection is a racing game that’s attempting to revamp a franchise with all the high-speed combat, explosions, and random destruction of classic city landmarks you can throw in for bonuses. Sounds like it would be fun, right? Well, a little more tweaking would have made it even better.
Each of the modes here give you several options. You can customize out your races and options from manual or automatic transmissions or they have presets available, the classic mode with no respawns, the modern versoin with the respawns and extra weapons, and a rally mode with no weapons. But really, why play a rally mode in a Death Track game?
You’ve got several modes in this game. The first resembles a story mode called Scenario. This one has cut-scenes and the like in between the races that try to raise the stakes for each race. Basically the ratings on the Death Track shows have been falling and they’re looking to bring them back up. The races still move around from city to city, but at the end of each race one of the drives leaves under mysterious circumstances so you have fewer and fewer competitors on the track. Scenario also is where you unlock much of the rest of the game tracks you can use in the other modes.
Tournament mode gives you a variety of Cup Like racing tournaments, each set in either Europe, America or Asia. You can gain more money to use to customize your cars here. Challenge mode sets up a series of tasks for you to do in each. There’s a basic and a pro setting and obviously the pro challenges are harder. Tracks here are unlocked in the Scenario mode as well.
Drag Race is just as it sounds. The tracks here have to be unlocked in Scenario, but once they are you get to run on a modified version of the track set up for drag racing. Hold the phone though. There is no automatic transmission in this race. You actually have to shift here, which was kinda cool to mess with.
Finally you have Quick Race, which is exactly as it sounds. Like most of the other options it pulls from the unlocked tracks in Scenario mode and gives you all those wonderful set-up options. Just a quick and down and dirty race, or rather as down and dirty as you want to go as you can always rally it. Overall a decent variety here after you’ve unlocked most of it in Scenario mode. The only thing really missing is any kind of multi-player.
Story/Modes Rating: Good
One of this games stronger elements, the visuals on this game from the reflections on the cars to the buildings and the detail on the track is really well done. Each car has it’s own unique look and for the most part are highly detailed. Some of the monuments and buildings around could have used a bit more detailing but I think it would have made the game need a much bigger gaming rig to run it. The explosions are great and I did like the smooth transition to slow motion and then back again and not having driven on while those are going on.
Even the menu system is unique in this regard as it recreates a crash scene that could easily happen in the game and as you go through the various menus it slides around the crash scene. It’s a very nice touch. My only real complaint is with the wrecks. They all seem kind of generic, whether I crash into a wall or get shot up form behind and explode, there doesn’t seem to be any variation in what the smoldering hulk of my car looks like. Yeah yeah, nitpicking away, but I just got done reviewing Wheelman and they did keep track of what damage went where on your car in that game. It would have been nice to see on this one as well, given that all it is dealing with is the car and tracks.
Graphics Rating: Good
Lots of the usual explosive fare here. From the opening heavy metal song, which was quite catchy, you know this game is going to be loud. Apart from the loud though, there isn’t much here. The taunts from the other drivers are well done, but there’s not a ton of variety in what they spit at you. The cutscenes, where there are any, have passable voice-overs. The one thing I was expecting and didn’t really get from this, was the roar of the car as I drove along. There wasn’t any. It just felt all too quiet on that end.
Sound Rating: Decent
Control and Gameplay
This game would be fantastic if controlling your car wasn’t like driving a drunk fish. The aiming set-up with the mouse for your weapons works great. That end is all point and shoot. What I’m referring to is how the car handles. It can barely turn, and unless you’re willing to hand brake at just about every curve, have fun slamming into the wall. And then there’s the fact you’re in a high speed racing death machine that can’t seem to hit naught to 60 in more than 30 seconds. My family van has better engine power than that.
You have several different play options. I preferred the modern setting to the classic as you get respawns and in this game it’s really easy to blow up in the classic version and then you’ll have to start over again. My only complaint with the respawn is that it takes far too long to kick off. I don’t need to see my car coasting along in flames for several seconds before I pop back into the race. Especially since you pop back in not moving and it takes forever to get back up to speed, which usually meant when I was playing that I went from third place to tenth. If this happens to you in the last lap, good luck even placing. Third is the last one that lets you continue on and that’s a long haul from tenth.
They’ve placed the tracks in major cities across the globe, so you get different landmarks in each city. And you get bonuses for toasting them as you drive by. You’ve got 3 different weapons arrays on your car to choose from, a primary, secondary and rear mounted weapon. These are all options you can choose before races and you can upgrade and change these out just like your engines and cars. Each of the weapons has a unique ability and I had a lot of fun mixing and matching here.
Aside from the random bonuses you can collect by driving over them that give you speed and armor and health bonuses, there are ramps you can hit and do rolls and other aerial stunts off of them, including getting into other parts of the track you can’t normally get to. All of which give you bonuses either on or off the track. The aerial stunts aren’t too bad, but most of the time it’s too difficult to pull off the move and you end up on your roof like a turtle and have to wait for the game to flip you over while everyone passes you by. While there are some neat gameplay options here, the gummy feel to the car really kills this game, which is a shame because the keyboard and mouse combo actually seems like it would have worked really well here.
Control and Gameplay Rating: Below Average
With several different play modes, lots of options to unlock, several different tracks and the option to run through the tracks once and be done with it, there is some replayability here. With no multiplayer though, and the other issues, there isn’t a lot to keep coming back to this game for unless you really really enjoy it. I can’t see people really playing through this again and again though. This is definitely a play through once and leave it, unless you’re OCD and then you’ll have to unlock everything.
Replayability Rating: Mediocre
Money-wise you can’t beat this game. It’s a full blown racing combat game with next-gen looks and play and you don’t have to have a multi-million dollar PC to run it. But the controls are what kills it. That and that first race is one you’ll be playing over and over again as the AI enemies just mow you down time and again. This game isn’t forgiving at the start and if you don’t get the hang of it fast it could get really frustrating for players. In the time it might take to get a feel for the gummy controls people might have moved on to another game that’s a bit older in looks but has much better controls with similar game mechanics.
Balance Rating: Mediocre
While a successor to the original Deathtrack, the major graphical overhaul as well as a whole new engine, look and feel, really give this game some bonus points. As well as the revamped look, the game has some revamped playing options. While the original Deathtrack may have helped kicked off this genre of games, unfortunately, this version of the game isn’t really bringing anything new to the genre that we haven’t already seen before from a range of games over the last few years.
Originality Rating: Decent
Try as I might, I just could not get into this game. I’d run through a track or two, get fed up with the sloppy handling and the dreadfully long respawn and wander off to do something else. That is not a good sign. I could play Jak X: Combat Racing and Twisted Metal Black for hours on end and not get bored or terribly frustrated. This game just couldn’t hold my attention. It even fits one of my favorite sub-genres of sci-fi with the death sports, and yet something was lacking that was keeping me at the wheel of my death machine in this game.
Addictiveness Rating: Poor
With a budget title price and a lack of PC combat racing games out there, this game could have a ton of appeal. But with little to no awareness of the game, a sloppy control of your vehicle, no multi-player (cause lets face it almost everyone wants a multi-player game these days) this game is really going to get looked over by most people. On the other hand, with no movie tie-in for Death Race, people might be looking for something to scratch that itch.
Appeal Factor Rating: Decent
While I may have had issues with the actual controls of the game, it installed where I wanted it, I could use a variety of controllers and could customize my set-up, and to top that all off I didn’t have it crash on me once. There were no graphical glitches to speak of, and although the panning shots of the city took way too long there was no loading at all. Fantastic job there.
So what am I going to question, a total lack of a multi-player option. This game screams for it. I could totally see a bunch of guys at a LAN party or even hopping on the net to play this, and yet that is just totally absent from this game. Which is a shame really. I would have loved driving around a track wasting my friends rather than the AI controlled cars. Well, as long as the controls were tightened up a bit.
Miscellaneous Rating: Above Average
Control and Gameplay: Below Average
Appeal Factor: Decent
Miscellaneous: Above Average
FINAL SCORE: DECENT GAME
Short Attention Span Summary
Aside from handling like a drunken fish with the cars and a lack of multi-player, this game has a ton of pretty going for it. It’s not going to cost someone an arm and a leg to get a hold of it and it’ll run on some older systems without a real problem as well. While mostly solid I think there are some better racing games out there for the consoles, but not necessarily for the PC, they just might not take themselves as seriously as this game.