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Reviewed: TreadMarks
Author: Chris Kim       Date: January 30th 2000
Page: 2

We here at Glide Underground have been steadily watching and keeping up pace on this title for a while, we've even written up two previews on the game, both of which were based on test version we received. We've finally gotten the final copy of it now and are excited to see what has been improved and added to the game. For some background knowledge of how TreadMarks came to be, Longbow Digital Arts originally had wanted to develop an arcade racing game with dune buggies, but soon they felt that weapons would be an integral part of game, however, they felt that adding huge weapons to small dune buggies would be way out of proportion and decided to convert the buggies into tanks. Hence this is how TreadMarks came to be developed.

Look Out, Here I Come!
Encompassing Flame
Rolling Steam

The basic gameplay behind TreadMarks is a racing game and also a deathmatch game. Players will choose their tanks, logo, and team color, and then venture out to the track and do what they need to do. Within each of the races and deathmatches, players will find a vast and open space to roam at their freedom. In each of the races, there are several weapons and powerups to pickup to aid the player in defeating the other opponents. There are over twenty different weapons, thirty different tracks, and twenty different tanks to play with. Each of the weapons is very different, all with their strengths and weaknesses. All of the tracks are outdoor terrain, and feel slightly like Motocross Madness's terrain and track layout feel. Each of the tanks in the game, although there are no status displays handle slightly different from each other.

Racing is the basic premise of the game. Players will compete against other racers and try to finish the whole race before others, pretty simple right? Wrong, the races each can turn into a devious battle of brains and brauns. The setup of the game is very similar to that of Motocross Madness's Baja race, where players must race in a point to point race fashion from start to finish. There are no boundaries and limits as to where the player can venture off to; the only limit is that players must finish the race by going through all of the checkpoints. On the racecourse, players will find weapons and powerups at the checkpoints, which they can use to give themselves advantages or try and cripple other's progress.

Hip Hop
Swarmers Online!

Deathmatching is where a lot of fun can be had. Whether the deathmatching be played with other human or AI opponents, the game always seems to provide a lot of extra fun. For the most part, the game remains pretty similar to the race mode, only there is no set course to follow, just go out and try to destroy the opponent. Weapons and powerups will popup all around the map and regenerate creating a field of powerups to collect and use to attack and destroy opponents. The weapons and powerups that are available to the user as just so much fun to play and mess around with that just using those weapons be so much fun that one might find him or herself just getting weapons to see what they do.

One of the most appealing features about TreadMarks lies in the extremely cool destructible terrain system. The way that the terrain works is quite simple, in real life, say a bomb would explode on a piece of land, a whole chunk of it would be blow away somewhere leaving a large crater. TreadMarks does the same thing with its rendering system by creating craters and hills based the strength and location that weapons hit on the terrain. This feature adds a lot of extra strategies and the ability to manipulate the land to a player's advantage or disadvantage.

Lack of Gravity
Skid Across the Ice
Plasma Blast

On the side of physics, they aren't exactly accurate, but the cool way they are utilized adds a bit of personality to the game. All of the tanks have a distinct feeling of momentum and inertia that gives the game a bit of a realistic sense, but the physics are skewed enough to were the game doesn't seem simulation type but not skewed enough to seem like a complete free for all jumble of a game. The physics, however, do handle a bit more like a dune buggy than a tank would. Tanks usually will not fly off a ramp and go soaring into the air, but they would rather stick to the ground. But, the physics do make for a rather enjoyable game, despite it being unrealistic. A real tank racing game would likely be... well rather boring.

Weapons and tracks are a huge part of the game. There are about thirty different tracks, each with a unique characteristic and style of play. About half are deathmatch arenas and half are racing tracks. All of the tracks, again, feel like something that one would find in Motocross Madness, which is a good thing. They all match and play very well according to what type of game TreadMarks is. There are several very unique tracks, which really should deserve some recognition. One track called the Moon, plays exactly like the name suggests, less gravity and tons of craters to bounce around in. Arsenal is one area where players will find a lot of joy playing around with, there are approximately twenty different weapons to choose from, each with their advantages and disadvantages. There are the typical missiles, lasers, and regular ammo stuff, but some unique items like drills, nukes, and airstrikes are really something to look and play with.

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Added:  Sunday, January 30, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 2/5

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