Road Wars (Windows)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
User Score
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Written by  :  Kasey Chang (4617)
Written on  :  Apr 25, 2005
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Deeper than first suspected, but too fast and not deep enough

The Good

Quick Race gets you right into the action // Racing with weapons lets you vent road rage // Variety of cars and weapons, both front and rear firing // Multiple Viewpoints // Decent graphics // Customization possible in career mode

The Bad

Weapons aren't different enough // Differences between cars aren't significant // Weapons gets in the way of racing // Not enough tracks, only 6 in regular or reverse modes

The Bottom Line

Road Wars is a racing game with weapons, a bit like Mad Max:Road Warrior. You race around the course in souped up vehicles with weapons, and the first one to cross the finish line is the winner. Feel free to shoot the folks in front of you. Is it fun though? Not really.

You can choose among the 6 different cars (each with multiple paintjobs available). They start with different weapons and different characteristics. Some accelerate faster, others are more durable, some have high top speed, and so on. Each is armed with usually 3 weapons, a forward firing gun, a heavy missile, and a rear firing mine or oil slick. You also have 10 shots of nitro to get a quick speed boost.

The graphics are decent and gets the job done. The environments are sorta imaginative, though doesn't seem to have callous public that may demand a sport such as this except for one track out of the six available. Some even have alternate paths. Some has automated turrets that shoot at everybody, kinda like the Tusken Raiders taking shots at the Pod Racers in Episode I of Star Wars. Others have narrow gates and such that you may have hard time negotiating at high speed. Sounds interesting, right? More like frustrating, as you must slow down to negotiate the gates. The automated cannons rarely hit anything unless they happen to spin you around, and that will set you back by several seconds.

The cars and their handling have problems. All the cars understeer at speed, and some cars can go faster without slipping than others, but due to lack of handbrakes it's not possible to do powerslides and this makes racing rather... Boring, as most of the more advanced maneuvers are impossible to make. You pretty much end up accelerating and braking just to make the turns at the max speed without hitting, anything, and that's it. You may be able to do a four-wheel drift, but that's more by accident then doing it on demand.

Weapons aren't that interesting either. While variety of weapons are good, they don't do enough damage for their use to be very practical. You usually don't stay in the back fo the other car long enough to use the weapon for a while unless we're talking missiles. One can waste a bit of machine gun ammo, but the firing rate is low enough not to warrant further attempts. The rearward firing weapons are a joke since there is no rear-view mirror in the views. Thus, one either deploy it right after being rammed, or try to locate the narrowest part of the road simply deploy the traps/mines/oil there.

What will likely happen is you race in a pack for the first bit of the race, when the weapons are locked. Then when the weapons unlock, you fire everything at once, just about, trying to damage as many cars as you can while staying in the pack or keep the enemy in front of you, while the AI cars attempt to use nitro to get away from you. Then after they did, you try your best to keep up, but your reflexes doesn't let you use nitro much . Most of the accesories are there for show only. So you were able to damage maybe 2-3 cars, and get yourself into 3rd or 4th place. The other cars get away from you... and you never saw those cars again until they came up on your backside, or the race was lost.

The AI is simply BRUTAL, as they NEVER make any mistakes while racing. They may run over your mines, but the weapons don't quite do enough damage any way. You may be able to force them into some mistakes, like bumping them so they missed the entrance or jump, but overall racing them is almost futile unless you manage to damage them significantly.

If you managed to damage your car, you will enjoy visible damage like crumpled panels and such, but those don't seem to affect performance. It's when your engine starts smoking heavily and then lapse into flames, then you'll likely not finish.

The honest truth is... The cars aren't different enough, the tracks are decent but not that good, and the vehicles aren't different enough either. The depth like different range of weapons, different damage, and so on aren't different enough, and the racing end up being quite ho-hum, against AI that never makes mistakes. Altogether, this makes the game rather boring.