|Publisher: Virtual Programming Genre: Arcade|
|Min OS X: 10.4 CPU: Intel RAM: 512 MB Hard Disk: 4000 MB|
2006 may not seem long ago, but in the world of video games, it has been. Think about it. Let’s flashback to two years ago. Gears of Wars debuted on the Xbox 360. Nintendo released the Wii and Sony released a Blu-Ray player that plays Playstation games [Hey, watch it! -Ed.]. Also, can we forget the many games released on the “last” generation hardware like the Playstation 2. One of those games would be FlatOut 2, developed by Bugebear Entertainment. A little over two years after its release on the Playstation 2 and the original Xbox, it makes its way over onto our favorite computer, ported over by Virtual Programming. I personally missed out on this two years ago. So should we care about a two-year old racing game? Call “shotgun” and let me tell you why you should. (Hint: it’s because the game is fun!)
Behind the WheelTo describe FlatOut 2 as simply as possible, it is Need for Speed with a sense of humor. The Need for Speed comparison should be obvious. It’s a racing game. The humor becomes obvious when you see you can launch your driver through the car’s windshield. Yes, this is a Crash Test Dummies racing game. They have built mini-games centered solely on how far you can launch your driver. Rest assured though, the driving is serious. One other thing to mention is that there is no story mode like in Need for Speed. There is a career mode with sets of challenges, but (thankfully) no forced-together story justifying your personal motivation to race.
FlatOut 2 is a straight-up arcade racer. The controls (especially using a USB controller) are mostly responsive and tight as you speed through courses designed for maximum chaos. There are lots of things you can crash into, be they billboards or gas pumps. Being an arcade racer, the game is mostly pickup-and-play and simple at first. It doesn’t take too long, though, for the game to become pretty brutal. Courses get more challenging, ultimately requiring memorization of key shortcuts to help you win, and earning Nitrous for essential speed boosts. This is coupled with surprising AI (yay) and some odd collision detection (nay). There were times that some objects if hit knocked you completely out of control. It seems kind of inconsistent with what you can hit and what you can’t.
As mentioned, there are stunt mini-games, where you launch your driver from the vehicle. The mini-game goals range from the length of the launch to the height and the like. They also get a bit weird, having the player knock down bowling pins with the driver or hurling your driver through flaming circles. The racing itself is based on three car classes: derby, race, and street racing. These cars can be tuned and upgraded upon successful races.