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Reviewed: BreakNeck
Author: Chris Kim       Date: August 18th, 2000
Page: 3

Another strong point about the game is the well-balanced AI. The AI is controlled in their all around driving skills by a meter from 1% to 100% in how aggressive, fast, and smart they drive. There is the option to dynamically adjust the AI or a fixed skill level. A little bit like Unreal Tournament's dynamically changing AI, BreakNeck works in a similar way, making the AI harder or easier depending on the results from the past couple races. AI can at times be very devious and smart by ramming the player into the wall or stop when the opposing player is trying to ram him making that opposing player run smack into the wall. Other times, the AI just seems to cheat, by having a super fast car of some sort, making winning next to impossible.

Multiplayer, while balanced and fun to play, is not a whole lot different from the single player game. It offers a solid amount of fun with opposing players and the connection times and lag isn't awful (if you can find a connection that is). Deathmatch, as always, is tons of fun, especially over the multiplayer connection. Aside from that, there is nothing special or great about the multiplayer.

In My Car
Cool Bridge
Lovin' Glue

An odd thing about the game is how the respective "arcade" and "expert" modes are two completely different executable files that have different interfaces that seem to depict the words they have been labeled. In the arcade mode, the interface is simple, clean, easy to navigate, and just plain easy to get around in. It has nicely labeled menus with nice big words that are understandable. In the expert mode, however, the interface is a completely different story. It is one of the most complex and confusing interfaces ever. On both sides of the screen are two "pop-out" menus that navigate a good portion of the menus and big icons that move from screen to screen. It wouldn't be too bad if they were neatly labeled, but the screen is so littered with items, it is very confusing to navigate around it.

Thankfully, there are no funky control issues like the interface. Using any input device, gamepad, steering wheel, joystick, or keyboard, control is always responsive, easy to control, and fun to play. It never becomes a crazy mess of trying to control the car as the sensitivity and balance between the controls is excellent at the default settings. Customization of the game and controls are fairly easy, so getting accustomed to the controls should not be a problem.

Jumpidy
Pick Your Arsenal
Boom!

The easiest thing about the graphics is the customization program that comes with it. Based on whichever videocard the player owns, the game will set the graphics options based on that card for optimal performance and quality. Lower end machines will get acceptable performance and quality while the higher end machines will simply rock with superior quality. This is only a good thing because the fast moving graphics of the game are a definite plus. The biggest item of the graphics is the extreme speed and sensation that the player is really going those blazing speeds. Everything is smooth and moves quickly, the ground, surroundings, and all the objects. Running at 1024x768x32 really brings out the detail of the world and high quality of the surroundings. These explosions are really something as is the dirt and smoke that comes from the cars.

There of course are a few drawbacks, without dedicated 3D hardware the graphics look awful and run slow! While that isn't a worry of most gamers, the textures used in the game might be. Even with all the filtering options enabled, some of the textures are still quite pixelated and blocky looking. This might just be a problem with the latest Detonator 5.22 drivers, but some of these details are a little lacking. The car models in the game are excellent and seem to resemble those in Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit with highly reflective and shiny cars that are a handful of pretty colors.

EMP Shockwave
In the Distance
Flippy Boom

Sound effects and music are not a strong point of the game. The sound effects consist of a fairly basic and standard issue of engine sounds, blowing up effects, and collisions. There is nothing especially different or unique about the issue as there are no 3D APIs supported that enhances the sound. There are, however, some ambient noises like a fox howl in the background of the Arizona track that is enjoyable. The music is not as nice, offering little more than a basic rock track that most racing games come with.

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Added:  Friday, August 18, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 3/5

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