I’m a sucker for car games. I tend to try them all, no matter how
bad they are, or how bad people say they are. And it’s a good
thing I don’t believe entirely in what someone says until I try it
for example, had I believed what PC Gamer wrote about the
original Carmageddon, I wouldn’t have ever tried it and I would’ve
simply looked at it as a yet another average game that only
earned a measly 78%. Fortunately, I was wrong. Just the same, I
heard people say Redline wasn’t an amazing game, that it was
quite average, et cetera, et cetera. Auspiciously, again, I was
wrong and so were the people. Redline is great, it’s fun, and, to
a degree, it’s original though I can already hear people say
"Interstate 76" and "Carmageddon" but that matters not, as in this
genre, there can’t be too much competition.
I originally previewed Redline in June of last year, when it looked
but like a project that was aeons away from completion. Then, a
few months ago, a demo came out and I wasn’t so stunned
anymore. First off, it was horribly slow, even with all detail setting
on minimum ("none" where available) I couldn’t manage more
than 5 10 fps on my P200. And something about the textures
wasn’t particularly impressive, either.
Now the final came out, and I must say that it’s back to where I
expected it to be. The frame rate is great, the graphics are much
better, and, most of all, there is a story.
After the turn of the millenium, nosey people found out that the
most important scientific discoveries of the previous century were
kept secret by megacorporations who profited from a hungry,
battered populace that depended heavily on extracted fuels,
which served as energy. Those nosey people didn’t keep it to
themselves, either they made it public, which resulted in a
revolution. It, however, failed to succeed a few extremely
wealthy corporations got their act together and detonated a few
massive nuclear warheads on the Moon.
The results of this were devastating. No longer could one be safe
on the outside due to radiation, and those who were ‘aligned’ and
worked for the corporations could afford protective wear and
housing but the ‘unpersons,’ also known as the Outsiders, could
not. The Outsiders needed money, and Insiders were willing to
pay and given the Insiders’ love of gladiatorial sports and the
Outsiders’ ferocity, a means of a monetary transfer was quickly
found the Outsiders became gladiators, in exchange for
protection from the harsh environment.
The player, that is, you, plays the role of a new member of the
Company, a gang whose history in the Battle Wheels universe is
legendary. (It’s interesting how the Atari Lynx’ classic comes back
in the form of posters and asides in Redline but after all, Beyond
Games did make it, so it’s little wonder) The gang went through
some hard times, and is experiencing difficulties with rival gangs.
Fresh blood is needed, which is where you come in and you’re
their best hope.
The neat thing is that the story isn’t completely hypothetical that
is, it obviously is on the large scale, but situations pertinent to you
are told through engine-rendered cutscenes, turning the violence
and carnage of Carmageddon into the fine web of intrigue and
excitement of Interstate ’76.
The game isn’t hard to pick up at all. The controls aren’t complex,
and what’s relatively neat is that the game introduces diving,
which you can only perform when outside the car. Basically, it’s
like strafing, but for a longer distance (the screen doesn’t rotate,
though). I hope we’ll see more and more of this, because that’s
something that should be taken for granted after all, there isn’t
only strafing in the world. There aren’t two pages of buttons, either
movement, fire, aiming and that’s about all. Surprising is the fact
that crouch is missing, though. Also, while the normal controls are
pretty responsive, I believe strafing needs a slight improvement in
sensitivity, as the way it is right now it’s pretty useless because it’s
The car physics are quite good, though car damage isn’t modeled
in the game. More precisely, your windshield, headlights, side
windows and the like will look shattered from the outside, but
that’s the extent of it no moldings ripped off, no deformed doors
and the like. As well, the handbrake has a somewhat strange feel
to it if you keep holding it, the car will keep sliding, sort of like if
it were on ice.
The graphics, on the other hand, are great. Although I had to play
on low detail, the visuals were amazing. Cars are modeled
incredibly well, and even humans look great; skid marks aren’t
exactly like in Dethkarz, but explosions and other acts of killing,
maiming and breaking are nicely done.
Graphics never go without sound, and this is an area where
Redline shines as well. The music is great, as are the
environmental sound effects. People scream when shot, grunt
when hit by the car and each weapon has a unique sound. Which
is, I suppose, expected anyway so why did I even bring that up.
The array of machinery and weapons is really large, too; the
company claims 24 cars and 50 weapons. While I didn’t have a
chance to see every weapon and every car yet, I can definitely
affirm that the number of each is large and satisfying, adding to
overall game value. An interesting twist is that the machine gun,
the chainsaw, the shotgun and the rocket launcher are all
launched from the same weapon, thereby requiring the player to
simply find ammo and not the weapon itself.
Multiplayer is fun, as well. Some of the arenas encourage
creativity while fighting for example, they might have huge
turrets that the player can run to in order to snipe the enemies.
They have awesome firepower, but are rather sluggish and,
Overall, I find the game quite enjoyable. While I believe it would
have profited from things like bodywork damage and better
strafing, it’s perfectly playable nonetheless, and is definitely worth
checking out. However, if there’s only one car combat game you’ll
buy this year, you may wish to hold off for Interstate ’82 that,
undoubtedly, will be a killer. That said, check out Redline the
line maybe thin and red, but it’s great all the way ‘till the end of it.