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Smashing Drive

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:   Point of View
Publisher:   Namco
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Action/Racing
ESRB:   Teen
Online:   No
Accessories:   N/A
Date Posted:  

7-20-02

This game sucks. No, really, this is one horrible game. A bad arcade game has become an even worse home game. Honestly, there's no need to even read this review. Just skip down to the score and go about your merry way. Nothing I say here is going to make you want to buy this game, so you'll only find out why it sucks so badly if you continue reading.

Still with me?  Well, it's your funeral I guess.  Basically, in Smashing Drive you're a cabbie. Your job is to deliver your passenger from point A to point B before the time limit runs out. To do this, you must find and utilize a number of different shortcuts strewn throughout each course. Sound familiar? As much as it sounds like it, this is really different from Crazy Taxi. Whereas Crazy Taxi gives you several big cities to explore, Smashing Drive gives you relatively straight paths with a set goal to reach in the allotted time. In Smashing Drive you're a cabbie only because you drive a cab, not because you go around picking up different passengers. You start out the race with your passenger inside the car, and when you reach your destination the game moves on to the next course without any passenger exiting the car. Finally the entire control scheme consists of the gas, brakes, steering and the horn…yes that's all…and the pace is so slow that you won't even need to use the brakes.

So we've already got a stripped down version of Crazy Taxi, but Smashing Drive also lacks two other important ingredients: a good sense of speed and an excellent physics model. Your cab plods along at such a slow rate that the action relies solely on smashing into things, which is very bad because you're supposed to avoid doing that in order to win and the graphics are boring at best. The control scheme is very unrealistic, with no compensation for momentum or the weight of the car and very floaty jumps. That by itself is OK in an arcade racer, but with such a lack of driving skill needed it the game has to rely on the other things I've already said suck to be fun. So basically Smashing Drive is Crazy Taxi without the sense of freedom, strategy in picking up different passengers, excellent physics model, and sense of speed. A shallow game is cloned by a much shallower game that doesn't even do the basics right…sounds like fun.

The graphics in the arcade game were merely pathetic, but here they're a downright insult to the Xbox's power. Despite each area being relatively small, the texture work is still extremely blurry. The car models and environments are simplistic, with the only high point (relatively speaking) being the simple transformations they undergo when picking up a power-up. The camera is pathetic as well, rarely giving the player a good view of the action for any length of time.

As bad as the graphics are, they absolutely rock in comparison to the hideous soundtrack. Bad bad bad bad bad bad bad 80's style pop music with some of the worst singers in recorded history blurting out the most inane lines imaginable. One track repeats for each shift, meaning you're subjected to this torture at least three times on each run through a shift. I would offer up a MP3 download so you could experience the horror first hand, but I don't want bleeding ears on my conscience. The sound effects ain't much better.

Highs:

  • It's fun for about 15 minutes...until you find most of the shortcuts and breeze through it.
  • You don't have to buy it.

Lows:

  • The worst soundtrack ever.
  • Some of the worst graphics ever to appear on the Xbox.
  • Lame rip-off of Crazy Taxi without anything that made that game decent.

Final Verdict: 

A mediocre arcade game becomes one of the worst Xbox games yet. Spend your money elsewhere.

Overall Score: 3.0

Additional Images:

 


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