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Developer: Luxoflux OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Activision 1-2 Player
Game Type: 3D Shooter Multi-tap
Review Date: June 1998 Analog Compatible (Dual Shock)

Setting the Scene

Our planet is in trouble yet again. If you want to know exactly how, 
why and when – then check out our in-depth FEATURE on this 
game elsewhere in A.P.I.

V. 8 is anything but original, in fact for the developers to pretend 
that this is not a repackaged version of the twisted metal series of 
games, would be 'misleading' to say the least. However, what is more 
important to know is whether this is a quick cash in or a genuine 
improvement on a title that has achieved cult status with many 
PlayStation gamers.


Take an assortment of cars, trucks, buses (and even a U.F.O!), 
place them in a 3D world that is stockpiled with an array of amazing 
weapons and enjoy the ensuing mayhem that is Vigilante 8.


Forget those grainy graphics that were the trademark of the 
Twisted Metal games, Activision have succeeded in creating something 
so detailed that you would expect it to run at a snails pace, but 
instead it fly's along at lightning speed without so much as a polygon 
glitch in sight!

Each of the game levels are huge and often contain several sub-areas 
within them. The 3D nature of this game works brilliantly, allowing 
you to concentrate on the gameplay.

The vehicles all look great and can be viewed form an unlimited number 
of angles when playing with an analog pad. 

The lighting effects in this game are also very impressive (the sun 
shining in your face looks awesome).

Probably the most stunning aspect of the graphics within this game 
are the explosions. Whether it be buildings blasting into small pieces, 
or other cars flying high into the air - the accompanying fireballs 
are quite simply stunning.

You will occasionally come across a game that is so visually impressive 
that you don't mind watching others play for ages – Vigilante 8 
is such a game!

Sounds and Effects

It's great to see that many of the top games developers are 
taking the role of sound in a videogame seriously. 

Vigilante 8 has a wonderful soundtrack that has been very professionally 
produced. Each of the tracks although completely different, have been 
cleverly composed so as to compliment the various styles and influences 
within the game. With an assortment of styles which include Rock, 
Classical, Funk, Disco and Electro, I guess you could say that they 
is probably something on here for just about every age and musical taste.

Not content with a great soundtrack, the developers have obviously spent 
even more time on the sound effects. 

Each of the weapons have a very distinctive launching and exploding 
sound (in fact they are so realistic that you begin wondering how 
they obtained them!). Even the vehicles have completely different 
engine noises and while I don't know enough about cars to tell you 
if they are identical to the real thing, they are certainly amongst 
the best heard on the PlayStation.

Add to this a whole host of additional spot effects throughout the 
game that are so varied that I found it staggering that they managed 
to squeeze them into the tiny amount of memory space that our console 


Before starting a game you can jump to the options screen 
which allows you to adjust the difficulty, sound, controller settings, 
screen position and perform loading and saving operations. In addition 
there is a handy status screen that shows you how many of the secret 
characters and levels you have currently uncovered.

From there you can choose a single or two-player game. The multi-player 
option allows you to go head to head with a friend via the gift of 
split screen entertainment. If you don't want to fall out with your 
mates, then you can team up together and eliminate the enemy in a 
co-operative mode.

If you are playing alone then dive into the arcade mode, decide if 
you want to be one of the good guys or the bad guys, pick your method 
of transportation and decide which of the levels you want to try 
out first.

As soon as you are beamed into one of the different 3D worlds you 
will no doubt be set upon by the enemy, so best thing is to put 
your foot down hard on the gas peddle and get moving. Failure to 
do this will quickly see you barbecued by the bad guys.

In arcade mode the name of the game is simply to be the last man 
standing. You can select anything from four to twelve opponents 
to battle against, depending on how masochistic you are. While 
they will battle against each other to a degree, they much prefer 
to hunt you down whenever they can. 

If you want something a little more interesting, you can opt for 
the "Quest" mode. Each character has a set of unique 
missions that will see them travelling to different levels to take 
out the rival gang members, while at the same time preventing them 
from blowing up a strategically important building. The missions 
get more difficult as you progress and you will soon find yourself 
pulling lumps of your hair out as the enemies keep destroying the 
building you are supposed to be protecting, just before you can 
wipe them all out! If you manage to fully complete the overall 
"quest" for the selected character, you will unlock either 
a new character or level from the game.

There are ten different levels to choose from, two of which are 
initially locked. Amongst them is the visually stunning 
"Aircraft Graveyard", where with the correct sequence of 
moves you can make a world war two bomber take off, chase your 
targeted enemy and bomb the guts out of them. The "Ghost Town" 
is a great example of the multiple sub-areas contained within each 
of the levels. There is the actual town to explore (and blow apart!), 
a spooky graveyard, an Indian camp and a deep canyon that has its 
own twister lurking in wait. Around its perimeter is a railroad 
track complete with an old-fashioned steam locomotive which slowly 
goes around and around (until someone takes out one of the bridges, 
which will see the train tumble to its demise). 

Virtually every structure can be destroyed – but be careful, 
because some buildings may need to be left intact if you are to 
reveal some of the very special bonus features in each level.

There are thirteen different characters within the game, five of 
which are locked away. Each of them has their own unique vehicle, 
which have varying degrees of speed, armor and tracking avoidance. 
They can be fitted with up to three different weapons, including one 
of the special experimental test weapons stolen from a secret military 
base in Nevada.

The standard weapons include mines, mortars, cannons, rockets and 
homing missiles. By using different button combinations on your joypad 
you can alter the effectiveness of each of these items. The mortars 
for example can either be fired normally, grouped into a megablast or 
turned into a bouncing charge that flips vehicles upside down.

For real destructive power you need to find the "special" 
weapons, which are located inside of the hidden green crates. The 
weapon will be different depending on the character you are using, 
but all of them are spectacular and their resultant damage is very 
impressive. Two of the more notable are the "scatter missiles" – 
which is a cruise missile that locates your target before showering 
cluster bombs on them and the "bass quake" which sends a 
ripple through the ground tossing anything within range high into 
the sky.

To make things a little more interesting there are another bunch of 
pick-ups available in each level. Grabbing a large floating wrench 
will repair some of the damage that your vehicle has taken, while a 
large blue "X" will double the power of your weapons and 
the yellow "N" will jam the enemy radar – making their 
homing missiles useless against you.

These pickups add a massive amount of strategy to the gameplay due to 
the fact that your enemies can also grab them as well. The number of 
times that you will see a power up snatched from within your grasp 
and then used against you is frustratingly frequent! If they get to 
those special weapon crates before you, then expect the worst.

As a quick word of warning, each of the 3D levels are massive and 
so should be explored in detail if you are to stand a chance of 
finding the locations of the various different weapon pick-ups and 
special features within each area.

The level loading times are often less than ten seconds, which is 
particularly amazing due to the amount of mayhem contained in each 
of them.

It may be worth pointing out that the game supports both the 
traditional and the dual shock analog joypads. If you have not got 
one of these yet, then don't worry, the game still plays well 
using a standard digital pad.

Value for Money

The "Quest" mode adds much needed longevity to this 
style of game. Three difficulty levels will also ensure that gamers 
of varying age and skill can play the game. The secret levels and 
characters that need to be uncovered will keep the single player 
busy for quite some time and the special hidden features within 
each of the levels just adds the icing to an already exceptional 
GRAPHICS: 18/20 Twisted Metal was a great concept and as a two player game it easily matched games such as DooM in the excitement and longevity stakes, but as a single player game it was pretty much a one weekend wonder. Activision have taken all of the best features in the game and improved on them by a massive degree. The graphics are now stunning, the sounds are breathtaking and the gameplay has been fine-tuned to such a degree that you will be coming back to this game again and again!
SOUND: 9/10
VALUE: 17/20


GRAPHICS: 19/20 In the beginning there was Twisted Metal - a graphical mess that lacked any feasible ideas.
Soon to be followed by the unexpected hit title of 1997, Twisted Metal World Tour - an altogether smoother journey that simply oozed in fun gameplay.
The basic concept being to combine those age old playground games - hide & seek and chasey - only this time instead of being tagged you were subjected to a rather nasty rocket thrust up your backside.
Such was the success of TM2 that over the last 12 months the API post-bag has been swamped with requests for any morsels of info on the third in the series.
Well wait no longer because Vigilante 8 will do very nicely in it's place. Next generation graphics, jaw dropping light sourcing and masses of gameplay for one or two players. It's everything that TM3 should be, and if it's not then roll on Vigilante 9.
SOUND: 8/10
VALUE: 18/20


GRAPHICS: 17/20 I was never a really big Twisted Metal fan. The games were certainly interesting, had great course designs and was lots of fun with a friend, but I was always less than impressed with the cars handling (I was usually all over the place) and the graphics left a lot to be desired in my book.

Well, along comes Vigilante 8 and it approaches damn close to addressing all of the shortcomings that the TM games had for me. The game features great characters, creative and challenging courses, superb graphics, full destructible environments and some rocking' tunes to boot...but frustratingly enough it also seems to have the same car physics! Maybe it's just me but I can't stand trying to line up a shot with my car weaving all over the place and then getting blown to bits for my undertaking.

The good news is that the game is so much fun to play, it's worth the effort learning how to properly control each vehicle. The graphics tend to jump around a bit, but there is just so much going on at all times (background animation's, explosions, light-sourching, etc.) it's a wonder they look as good as they do. The characters are way over the top, the weapons and vehicles are outrageous and the overall objectives so well laid out that this game easily stands out as the current premiere mass destruction auto game.

There are still two more similar type games scheduled for release this year; TM3 being one of them; so the jury is still out as to who will take the crown, but for right now V8 is as good as it gets in this particular genre.
SOUND: 8/10
VALUE: 16/20


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