Written by  :  Les Nessman (281)
Written on  :  Sep 10, 2005
Rating  :  4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars

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More fun than John Travolta in a gorilla cage!

The Good

Quick! What's the best game you've ever played? If you've been into computer games for as long as I have, that sort of question will make you cringe. When a popular gaming magazine once heralded a game on its cover as "Best Game Ever", I walked away grinding my teeth and muttering to myself. And yet it was those kind of questions that got me thinking about what I find most important about games. In a nutshell, the most important thing a game can be is fun. What's the most fun I've ever had playing a game? Easy answer - Interstate '76.

The game concept is unique. The graphics, for its time, were passable but nothing spectacular (using the MechWarrior II engine). The driving model was good - not overly realistic and not arcadish. You had to learn to drive the beasts, and in many ways they did really perform like cars from the 70s, swaying around turns like overweight hippos. Quality control was very good; I can't recall ever having serious issues with bugs or crashes. Multiplayer, again for its time, was implemented well. An editor allowed you to create custom multiplayer scenarios and to tweak your cars. The missions and campaigns provided were all very worthwhile. The story was tongue-in-cheek, but well written. You came to feel for your characters. There was a sort of role-playing element in the way that you could add items to the inventory of your car and keep upgrading it. With time, I began to feel real affection for the old 'Cuda. The characters themselves were so off-beat and colourful that they remain among the most memorable computer characters I've ever encountered. Remember Taurus' poetry? When the final cut-scene played out after the final mission in the original campaign, that I was so shocked at what transpired that I jumped a little bit in my chair. And after playing out the final mission in the provided in the expansion pack, I felt a sense of loss - there was nothing more. And one more time, it was just so much FUN to drive those old clunkers around, gunning for the "Creepers." What a blast!

The Bad

Why why why was there no way to create your own custom missions and campaigns with the provided editor? This game would have had such legs if that had been provided. I'd still be playing the game! Ultimately though, my biggest complaint is that there has never been a worthy successor.

The Bottom Line

Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.