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|A.P.I Review:||VIGILANTE 8|
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|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 allows.
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 cake!
|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!|
the beginning there was Twisted Metal - a graphical mess that lacked any
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.
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
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.