I’ve put on my racing helmet, pulse protectors and gloves (pictures on request) while FlatOut loads. You don’t exactly have to be Einstein to figure out that I had the feeling things were going to get rough! However, I had to take out the protection and gloves immediately because I couldn’t hold the controller in such a way that I could push the right, and nothing but the right, button when I wanted to. After five more minutes, the helmet was put aside too because it got so hot under it that I felt sick which was definitely not my intention.
Now, there are two possibilities, or the game is good enough to make me forget my sickness or it doesn’t have that power and therefore couldn’t make the negative context turn into a good one. But which one will it be? Once again, the intro wasn’t exciting at all and the interface didn’t succeed in taking my doubts away either. Three, two, one GO … damn, bad start FlatOut!
Ah, a career mode, that should give the game a boost. It sure looked very promising and believe it is, let me explain what I did. First, I had to buy a car with a limited budget and by racing, more preferably winning those races, I started making money. Those green bills allowed me to buy better parts and upgrades for my four-wheeler which made it accelerate better, run faster, have better grip and become more solid. That motivated me to race and race again because after I bought new parts, I definitely wanted to test the extra power under the hood which allowed me to compete better.
Savings have to be spent because if you don’t improve the wreck you acquired, it will be virtually impossible to win races. That means that you can’t save the money to buy a new car once those are unlocked but luckily repairs are for free so every dollar you make, can be spent on new parts. Unlike in NFS: Underground, all that tweaking doesn’t take much time: oooh I have two thousand dollars, let’s go to the garage. Let’s see, new engine parts for more horse power and new tyres for better grip. Push the x-button twice and your done, that is how I like it.
Don’t think they could have just left it out though because, besides the fact it is fun, your decision has important consequences. If you don’t build in a roll-cage for example, you won’t be able to win a destruction derby as you car is wrecked too soon. Just as another example: you can have all the power you want, but if the tyres don’t manage to keep the horses on the ground, it won’t be of any use. So, finding a good balance is as necessary as realizing you can only win a game if the extension of your … ego is ready for it.
Last man standing is only one challenge of the four bonus types you can always play and replay to improve your record. In the first two types it is the target to eject your driver in such a way that he completes the objective. Those are very original, incredibly fun, extremely well implemented and very varied: shooting the driver into a bowling alley, onto a darts board, over a rugby goal, just as far possible and so on. The last type is kind of a regular race on a circuit that is shaped like an eight. Quite a challenge because when you try that race with your car in the beginning, the opponents just drive away, no matter how perfect you drive. So, more break horse power and skills to put that to good use will be required.
But driving is so much more than staying on the ideal racing line or controling your verhicle. Therefore, learning how to control your car is quite easy but mastering and combining al the necessary actions to win a race is very difficult. Smart A.I. opponents will try to drive you off the road or make you spin around which is a very hard thing to anticipate for. Large objects blocking the road after a blind corner, making your way out of the pack or knowing your limits are three other examples that make sure this game isn’t ridiculously easy.
The tracks aren’t as easy as they might seem because near the sides of the road, there are millions of items which can cause you to crash. On the other side, those crashes are also rewarding: it fills you nitro bar which might just give you the extra boost you need to make it over the finish line before someone else does and you are rewarded with money for every item you’ve destroyed. So if you don’t end up first, you can still round up a nice sum after all. Who knows, that might just be enough to buy a better part which allows you to win the next time.
Besides the bonus modes, there are three cups: bronze, silver and gold but you have to finish the bronze before you can enter in the silver competition and so on. With each new level you reach, the races become more plenty and difficult and you can buy a new car which is of course better but not tuned yet. Each new level you complete, also unlocks four new, but similar, bonus challenges.
Buying an other car, unfortunately doesn’t look much like you bought another one because they didn’t spend much time on modeling the cars but luckily the clever tracks make up for that.
Although they seemed to have put effort in acquiring songs from actual rock bands, there was only once song that didn’t enervate me. However, I couldn’t choose which songs to play and which ones not so I simply turned of all in-game music. The sound-effects are like the cars that generated them, not bad but unpolished and a little simple.
As many of you know, the 2 months of student’s hell are coming close or already started: exams, tests, tasks and deadlines make sure that you almost haven’t got time for anything else. However, after these days have passed, I will definitely start playing Flatout again because the game is very addictive, challenging, exciting, original and lies all the right accents. The sound quality isn’t superb but the graphics are quite alright and the gameplay is ingenious. If you combine that with the way you have to upgrade your car to make it suitable for every type or race, this arcade racer makes a very, very good gaming experience.
If you can’t deduct the answer to the posing in the beginning of this review: I suddenly wasn’t feeling ill anymore so it sure must be a solid game.