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Vigilante 8 2nd Offense
"Your mission: total destruction of all that stands in your way. " Image Loading...
Developer: Luxoflux
Distributor: Activision
Game Type: Shooter
Review Date: Dec 99
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Setting the Scene:
       Picture yourself being able to participate in the ultimate demolition derby where the winner is not only the last vehicle running on the course, but often times the last vehicle…period!

Not being content with just being able to ram other cars into submission, Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense allows players to adorn their vehicles with an ungodly arsenal of weapons designed to put an end to your opponents motoring skills forever.

Set in a fantasy land where just about anything goes, gamers get to cruise around in '70's style auto's, rip up the landscape and blow other cars to smithereens. Ah, it just don't get any better than that…or does it?
Sound and Vision:
      The soundtrack is pretty much what you would expect from a game of this type. It's rough, blaring, gritty, in your face and it gets your adrenaline pumping.

The sound effects are equally brutal. When the majority of the game consists of blowing stuff up, you had better have some good sounds for explosions and V8: 2nd Offense certainly has its share. V8 delivers some good crunching metal on metal sound effects, a nice variety of weapon sounds and all of the prerequisite environmental noises as well.

Image Loading...The graphics are a rather mixed bag. The car models are nicely detailed, clean and crisp. There is some minimal specular lighting on the metal and reflections off the glass. The tires move when you steer and you can see a bit of suspension at work when you bottom out. The environments for the most part are lively and moderately detailed with buildings, water, hills, roads and other fillers like trees and such. The backgrounds are also pretty crisp in most levels, particularly snowy areas that really show off nice graphical effects such as lens flaring and snow powder. Good stuff.

Image Loading...The frame rate appears to be pretty high and stays that way throughout the destruction and chaos. The bad part is that there is an incredible amount of polygon seaming, and pop-up present as you play through the game. So much so that I often found it distracted me from my objectives. When things got particularly hairy in a heated battle, I would often find myself losing my bearings because there was so much polygon dropout happening all around me. I guess this is just the price we must pay for having such a dynamic 3D environment to travel in…the poor old Playstation just can't keep up!
      I guess it's some kind of unwritten law, all relatively successful titles absolutely must have a sequel. Activision's Vigilante 8 game last year was indeed a smashing success (pun intended) and it was natural to expect a part two. So following up on their surprise hit last year Activision has brought out Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense. Sticking to the same basic Twisted Metal premise of crush, kill and destroy everything in your sights, V8: 2nd Offense ups the ante over its predecessor with some new cars, a ton of super special combo moves per vehicle and a more detailed Quest Mode for single players to enjoy.

Image Loading... Before I go on though, lets face facts for a moment…V8 and its successor, 2nd Offense is more or less a blatant rip off of the Twisted Metal series. But what the hell, Twisted Metal hasn't been Twisted Metal since the second game in the series so we obviously need someone to carry the torch that 989 almost let fizzle out.

Okay, so the V8 series copies the general premise of Twisted Metal…you drive around in souped up cars with an arsenal that would be capable of winning a war in a small 3rd world nation. The object is your basic king of the hill syndrome…be the baddest son-of-a-bastard out there and also be the last car still motoring.

Image Loading...The environments are all wide open enabling gamers to go anywhere they choose…that is until you slam into an invisible wall and must turn around. Not to worry though, the areas are generally HUGE and there is little doubt that you will find yourself restricted in any way. They are also quite creatively designed and feature a slew of interactivity. There are ski lifts that you can traverse, buildings that you can jump over or onto and all kinds of secret stuff to discover along the way.

There are of course all sorts of weapons of mass destruction to be picked up including mines, missiles, rocket launchers, laser guns, you name it…it's almost like a store named "Hi Tech Weapons R-Us" puked stuff all over the landscape. There are also other items that you can pick up that are more specific to the type of terrain that you are playing on. For instance, in a snow covered level you will be able to find special snow treads that will enable your car to handle much better in the powder. On another level you will find little outboard motors that allow your vehicle to glide across water. Like I said, this is a true go anywhere environment.

In between gameplay levels handy little hints are flashed on the screen. They can range from providing information on weapon, to the proper button sequence for pulling off some nasty little combo attack. Two of the combo's that come immediately to mind are the multiple guided missile attack that sends out a barrage of rockets at your opponent and the other if the hovering mines. This move takes ordinary mines and causes them to float about to eventually zero in on some unsuspecting victim.

I have always been frustrated with the control aspect of these types of games though. By "these types" I mean the Twisted Metal, V8 and Rouge Trips of the world. I hate the default setting that enables the d-pad to act like the gas/break/reverse/steering unit all rolled into one. Much better to use the analog pad to motor around with and save the d-pad for the tighter left/right maneuvers. Even with the analog sticks though, I still have trouble with anything that even closely resemble proper control of my car. I always tend to overshoot my enemies or miss ramps and power-ups completely. I find I have to keep turning around and trying again…and again.

Image Loading...There is certainly a lot of good that can be said for a game that lets you take part in the ultimate demolition derby and just get your aggressions out by really nuking everything in sight. It's a pretty straightforward concept of kill or be killed that is pushed up a few notches by the inclusion of a fine bevy of weapons and the ability for weaker riders to pull of some truly devastating moves by using a particularly nasty combo. The vehicles are very cool and range from a hovering gold Palomino to a "take no garbage" junk truck. The Quest Mode kicks ass and can be played with one or two players! There is also a nice two-player co-op mode where you can selects the types of enemies you want to battle against and how many of them you want to try and destroy with a friend. If it wasn't for the graphical glitches that I mentioned earlier and the piss poor control factor, this game would have been a top scoring title. As it stands though, it is probably the best Twisted Metal style game in existence right now.
Game Options:
      This is a 1 disk game for 1 or 2 Players. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the analog stick controls of the dual shock joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).

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Staff Opinions  
Tom: "Not straying too much from their successful Vigilante 8 game, Activision's V8: 2nd Offense enters the arena as a very aggressive vehicular combat sequel. Your mission: total destruction of all that stands in your way. This of course is not limited to just nuking other vehicles…you can destroy buildings, signs, heck you can really redecorate the whole landscape!

There are 18 vehicles to choose from (some are hidden and must be unlocked), 12 tracks to lay your smack down on and enough upgrades and weapons to make even the most jaded gamer smile with delight.

If you can get past the handling characteristics (and obviously most people can because this style of game has become a big seller) you are bound to have a really fun and enjoyable time here folks…especially in the two-player modes. "
Graphics: 15/20
Playability: 41/50
Sound: 8/10
Lastability: 17/20
Overall: 81%
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Reader Opinions  

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