As one who used to be on the outside looking in, I
realize that the life of a game reviewer looks pretty
glamorous. I get to play all the newest games, I get to
schmooze with some of the great game players and
makers in the country, and oh the groupies - they all
look like the lesbian love-children of Angelina Jolie
and Lara Croft. But there are downsides. Great,
bleak, cesspool-ridden downsides with festering
pustules of maggot infested… well, I'm getting ahead
of myself. Let me start with the review of The Dukes
of Hazzard - Racing for Home. The festering pustules
will become obvious all on their own. But first, a
song (inexplicably sung to the theme from the Beverly
Now listen to the story 'bout a family named Duke.
Such a bunch of inbred redneck hicks they nearly
made me puke.
If it wasn't for cousin Daisy flashing us some cheek
I can't imagine anyone would tune in every week.
Ratings that is.
Oh, but I could go on. Step back into the 80's.
William Shatner is overacting his way through TJ
Hooker, his future of self-parodying Priceline.com ads
but a distant vision. My sister wore a pair of
Jordache jeans so tight she broke her tailbone sitting
down (a pretty common 80's injury for those too
young to remember). And the Dukes of Hazzard is at
the top of the charts. I admit it - I watched it too. I
was about 14 years old and Heather Locklear as
Stacy Sheridan didn't go undercover as a prostitute
nearly often enough on Hooker to satisfy my sinister
urges. So there was the Dukes of Hazzard with
Catherine Bach as cousin Daisy, wearing short shorts
a friend of mine once referred to as "barely street
legal", and with her came Bo, Luke, and the General
Lee. Of the four of them, I understand the car got the
most fan mail.
And here it is, like 20 years later, and someone at Ubi
Soft/Southpeak decided it was time for a Dukes of
Hazzard driving game. On the surface, it's not a bad
idea. The sort of nostalgic fun gripping a vast swath
of my generation, coupled with two fairly recent
Dukes reunion movies, would seem to open the door
for such a project. Drive the General Lee, evade
Roscoe and Enos (and to a lesser extent Clitus and
that guy who played one of the Darrens on
Bewitched), thwart Boss Hogg (played elegantly by
Sorrell Booke, who graduated from my alma mater)
and rescue Daisy. But the truth, as they say, is in the
pudding. I have no idea who they are, or what they
mean when they say that, but suffice to say the game
is just absolutely retched. I'm not even sure I have
enough bad words in my vocabulary to cover it. I
really deserve some kind of medal just for playing it.
It is a roiling dung heap of rotting… OK. Maintain
objectivity. It's the mark of a true professional.
What's wrong with the game? Even at the highest
graphics resolution (1280 x 1024), the game looks
bad. Easily on par with NFS2 - for all I know it uses
the same engine. Scenery is blocky and pixilated;
cars are polygonal and carelessly drawn. Graphical
flaws abound with clipping and tearing. If you try and
drive off the road into the woods, you hit a wall -
clearly the trees are just painted on the walls of the
course like Wile E. Coyote painting a roadway onto a
boulder, and not even as believably done. Ubi
Soft/Southpeak fared little better in the sound
department. The Dixie horn of the General Lee is
nearly perfect, but otherwise there is very little sound
to even talk about. Driving down the road at nearly
100 miles an hour with Roscoe in pursuit, I heard only
a small rumble of the General's engine and Roscoe's
sirens. No wind noise, no birds, no running water
near rivers, no cows, and only the occasional squeal
The physics engine is the worst I've ever seen with
unpredictable rolling, skidding, and resultant collision
velocity vectors. The driving damage model is
pathetic, as cars only lose a little bit of speed and no
maneuverability with increasing damage. They also
graphically show no damage from collisions short of a
little smoke, and if it weren't for an image of your car
in the corner taking damage (from green to yellow to
red), you would hardly know you were damaged at all.
The enemy AI is atrocious. Roscoe and Enos
couldn't drive in the series, but the game is
ridiculous. They crash into each other and other
vehicles and the scenery. Having them chase you is
hardly a challenge. Other enemies are only marginally
better. You drive other vehicles occasionally such as
Daisy's jeep and Cooter's tow truck, and they do
drive differently. The tow truck is slow and
unresponsive, and the jeep is a little faster than the
truck and slower than the General; more responsive
than the truck and less responsive than the General.
The game consists of 26 absolutely linear missions.
75% of them are either get to this spot in a certain
amount of time or get to that spot in a certain amount
of time while evading Roscoe/Enos/Bad Guy. Luke
leans out the window with his bow to let some
dynamite fly in the last two missions only. Just as
well, he looks ridiculous and polygonal doing it, and if
you try and squish him against some object in the
scenery he pops back in the window like magic, or
doesn't bother and just overlaps with the scenery
graphic. Both alternatives are laughably bad. There
are some uninteresting power ups scattered along
the courses (nitro, oil slick, repair, etc) that serve not
a whit to relieve the boredom. In every single way,
this game isn't 1/100th as fun as Driver.
Pluses? Well, there are a couple. The cutscenes are
pretty amazing. To prepare for writing this review I
sat down and watched a taped episode of the Dukes
entitled "Roscoe's Diary" in which Roscoe loses his
diary and, well, never mind. Plot was never the Dukes
strong point. In summary, the general jumps over a
truck and a ravine, and Daisy's short shorts are white
- at least that's all I took away from the episode. The
opening credit sequence to the TV show and the
game are almost identical which indicates, to me at
least, that someone at Ubi Soft/Southpeak has
watched it a lot of times. I mean really watched it.
Lots and lots of times. Really, really watched it. With
the devotion of a mental patient studying belly button
lint. The people look a little cadaverous perhaps, and
Daisy has been, ahem, enhanced with Pamela
Anderson Lee's leftover parts, but the cutscenes have
such realistic body motion and mannerisms, that you
can fool yourself into believing you are looking at
some kind of oddly digitized footage from the series.
Voice acting, some provided by surviving cast
members from the series, is pretty well done also.
They oddly didn't use the series theme song - maybe
Waylan Jenning's price was too high.
Another plus? Well, like my dentist told me when he
got a new, high-speed drill - "It hurts like a bitch, but
at least it's over fast." The average mission takes
about 3 minutes, followed by a few minutes of
cutscene. Including watching the episode on tape (no
commercials), I was done with the game and the
review in less than 4 hours. Replayability - zero.
Welcome to the discount rack, contents: Dukes.