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Inside Mac Shareware - February
February 20, 2006 | Marcus Albers

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Reckless Drivin'
Running into cars as you drive the wrong way down the road. Ramming the cops off of the road. Firing missiles at school buses. Laying mines for unsuspecting ambulances. No, this isn't an episode of Cops, or the latest installment of Grand Theft Auto. It is a fun little game for the Macintosh called Reckless Drivin'.

Back in the days of the classic OS, there was a great game released called Burnin' Rubber. The game was basically a clone of the arcade classic Bump 'n' Jump. The idea was to stay on the road while ramming your opponents off the road. The more destruction, the more points.

Reckless Drivin' adds to this formula. Your goal is still basically the same: ram into cars trying to destroy them or drive them off of the road. Don't leave the road yourself, or you'll be road-kill. There are added difficulties this time around, though. You will face much tougher "opponents" on the road in the form of things like buses and semis which will generally look at your little car and laugh as you go careening off of their bumpers. You will also be chased by patrol officers once they see you blow past them at high speeds. Patrol officers will incessantly ram you off the road if they happen to catch up to you. Once they do that, it's all over for you.

Luckily, you do have some advantages that will help even out the odds. As you move along the road, you will come upon crates. Running over these crates will give you a power-up of some type. There are a number of offensive power-ups at your disposal in the game. Missiles are fired from the front of your car, and will pretty much take car of any car, semi, bus, or group of vehicles in your way as your progress. Mines are laid behind your vehicle, and cause devastation to any that venture too close. These are great for taking care of pursuing squad cars and unsuspecting trailing traffic. Tire spikes are particularly useful against larger objects. Much like the chariot tires in Ben Hur, tire spikes will tear into the sides of whatever vehicles you get close to, eventually trashing them. The police jammer will make you invisible to the patrol officers, allowing you to cruise and destroy without the added distraction of chasing police. Oddly enough, it will also make them ignore your attempts to destroy them with spiked tires, but that's neither here nor there. The turbo engine power-up will increase your top speed, allowing you to traverse the levels in record time. It will also increase the damage that you do when you collide with other vehicles if you hit them at full speed. Lastly, the power-up lock will allow you to keep your power-ups if you end up on the nasty end of a collision. This only lasts for one life, though, so you will need to come upon another one if you want to keep your power-ups again.

The courses are varied and range from highways to snow-covered roads to water-logged gravel roads. The conditions will also have an effect on your vehicles handling. Whereas on dry pavement your car handles quite well, you will find yourself hydroplaning out of control on wet roads, and will skid around quite a bit on the snow-covered roads. There are even river-based levels, where you get to hop in a speed boat and wreak the same carnage on the aquatic traffic. Watch out for the river patrol, though. They're just as relentless as their land-based brethren.

I really love this game. It isn't deep nor does it pretend to be; it is what it is, and that's carnage on the roads. And certainly worth the $12 entry fee. Stay tuned for developer Jonas Echterhoff's next driving project, Ambrosia's Redline.


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