Interstate '76: Nitro Pack

aka: Interstate '76: Nitro Riders
Moby ID: 2287

Description official description

Interstate '76: Nitro Pack is a stand-alone add-on for the vehicular combat game Interstate '76. It takes place before the events from the original game and contains 20 single-player missions, in which the player can choose a character from among: Taurus, Skeeter or Jade (the sister of Interstate '76 protagonist Groove Champion). The missions are not tied together by a storyline but can be played in any order and with every vehicle.

Though not required, owners of the original Interstate '76 can use this product to upgrade their version of the game, making this also an add-on. New features with this add-on include Force Feedback support and support for D3D, 3Dfx and Rendition Power VR. The improvements to the game itself are: more weapons, more cars & paintjobs, a racing & a "capture the flag" mode and advanced multiplayer hosting options.

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Credits (Windows version)

100 People (84 developers, 16 thanks) · View all

Written by
Directed by
Produced by
Lead Design
Lead Programming
Lead Artist
Associate Designer
Assistant Designer
2D Artist
Additional 2D/3D Art
Engine Optimisations / Enhancements
AI Scripting
Additional Multiplayer Maps
Interstate '76 Conceived By
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 81% (based on 13 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 12 ratings with 2 reviews)

The absence of a story line really hurts this game.

The Good
Let me start my review by saying that the original Interstate '76 is one of my favorite games. It successfully mixed realistic car handling, combat, muscle cars, cool music, a decent story line and memorable characters with an unusual seventies setting. Interstate '76: NitroRiders is a stand-alone add-on to the original Interstate '76. It offers the usual add-on stuff: a bunch (20) of new missions, several new cars (and some new paint-jobs/skins for some of the cars that were in the original), a few new weapons and a couple a new multiplayer/botmatch maps. More importantly, Interstate ’76: NitroRiders finally supports 3D acceleration and has two new multiplayer modes: racing and capture-the-flag (besides the standard deathmatches).

Here are the things I liked about this one:

  • Nitro inherits its car handling from the original and it still is amazingly good. In his review of the original Tony Van wrote: "The best part was the feel of the game. Driving FELT great... ..I remember each time I loaded it up I felt like pulling on driving gloves." I couldn't agree more. At full speed the game gives you a real sense of speed. You can make some really big jumps and skidding with the handbrake is a lot of fun.
  • Large (more than 30) selection of different cars. However cars with about the same weight & size feel almost identical. A Ransom Marshall drives basically likes a Dover Lightning or a Picard Piranha when you install the same parts (engine, suspension etc.).
  • Great music. I76 had a soundtrack with 16 tracks, the Nitro soundtrack has only 10 songs and half of them were also on the soundtrack of the original. Nevertheless, it's still a very cool & soundtrack. All the new songs rock!
  • Great voice acting. I especially like Greg Eagles as Taurus but the voice acting for Radiator Mother, Natty Dread, Skeeter and Jade is also very good. Sometimes it's a bit hard to hear what enemies are saying, especially when you're also firing your machine guns.
  • Cool intro movie (although from a technical perspective it's far from perfect). Too bad it's the only movie you get to see.
  • New weapons, especially the gas mortar and the caltrops (causes flat tires, which makes driving a car a whole new experience).
  • Keyboard layout and the fact that Activision shipped the game with a handy key-sheet.
  • The new missions include some novel concepts, some stuff that wasn't in the original. Besides the usual escort missions and the ”visit nav-points A, B & C and kill all baddies” (Wing Commander on wheels), there are some racing missions. There's also a mission in which you have to stop a bus with your car (like the movie Speed, except the car is not allowed to go faster than 55 miles per hour). In another mission you have to stop 3 cars that drive in different directions within in certain period of time.
  • After you complete the regular missions (in which you play as either Taurus, Jade or Skeeter) you get some bonus missions in which the player takes on the role of the creeper Natty Dread. As always it's just more fun to be the bad guy!
  • Runs stable under Win 98. Even serious alt-tabbing doesn't freeze the game. Installation is also flawless which really is a rare thing for games in the Interstate series :-). Actually it's rather sad that I should mention this as being “good” isn't it? Also, you can play the game without the CD. Nice for multiplayer games with a friend.


**The Bad**
Interstate '76 had a campaign with an interesting story line (told in several cut scenes) to tie the missions together. The first missions were you faced relatively weak foes. As you progressed you fitted the parts & weapons you salvaged from the wrecks of your enemies on your own car and turned your sister's Picard Piranha into a real killer. Although Skeeter could repair & replace some parts, the car with which you ended mission A, was the car with which you started mission B. So it was important to keep the damage to a minimum. Unfortunately Nitro lacks a story line to tie the missions together. You basically can play any mission with any car at any given moment. Gone are the cut-scenes and the upgrading of your trusty Piranha. This makes the game way to easy because you can play any mission with a big 4x4 equipped with the best parts and plenty of radar-guided missiles. This is so cheap it kind of feels like cheating. The developers seemed to have realized that the game would become too easy and have tried to counter this by outfitting almost every enemy car with a turreted weapon (auto-lock) and a bunch of heat-seeking missiles. So forget about completing the majority of the missions with a regular car with medium weapons. Combat just isn't that much fun anymore when everyone is firing missiles at each other, it requires less skills. More bad stuff:
  • Very rigid mission scripting, missions rely almost completely on triggered events. If you try to complete a mission in a different way than the developers envisioned, you can really confuse the program. Sometimes you can gain a serious advantage by driving around a target and attacking it from another side (catch enemies off guard). More often however creativity is not rewarded and you'll have to replay the mission when you leave the "main path". Another problem concerning the mission scripting is the fact that conversations or remarks are often triggered by certain events although sometimes these remarks are not relevant anymore. Also, when you attack an enemy during an argument and kill him, he sometimes keeps on talking after his death.
  • Some bugs. The game has a tendency to forget settings (especially when setting up an instant melee battle, selecting computer opponents etc.). Sometimes cars are being pulled up a hill by a mysterious force when driving near a steep wall; there's probably something wrong with the collision detecting. Colors are often messed up in the hi-res software mode.
  • Bad graphics. While the car models are kind of OK, the surroundings are definitely not. The game suffers from an enormous amount of pop-up. Explosions are simple sprites (sprites in 1998!). Unlike the original NitroRiders supports 3D acceleration, but don't get too excited. It supports the Power VR and Rendition chip-sets but most people will select the D3D graphics. To be honest, the D3D graphics are a big disappointment. The game is often way too dark, there's a lot of texture-ripping, shadows appear to be solid and there's only one resolution available: 640 x 480.
  • A.I. is a disappointment. By accident, enemies will drive off cliffs or over their own land mines. The A.I. often appears clueless when it needs to judge height & distance. One day I did a little test, I started an instant melee battle against several bots on the Grapevine map (this one comes with the game), drove my car up a steep hill and parked my car near the edge of a chasm. Then I left to have lunch. Half an hour later I returned and my car was without a scratch! All this time the bots had tried to climb the steep wall of the ravine, none of them ever came up with the idea of driving around the mountain and taking the main road I took. Another problem with bot-matches is that the bots all attack at once, don't attack each other and the game doesn't really keep the score. You keep on fighting until the bots have managed to kill you. Why not adopt the more common "first one with 8 kills is the winner gameplay"?


**The Bottom Line**
A mediocre add-on to one of my favorite games. Already looked dated in 1998. The best thing about it? There's not that much like it, I don't know any other vehicular combat game with realistic car handling. There aren't that many games with a seventies theme either. Once there was a great Interstate community, they made some great maps and came up with some new multiplayer events (like the long-jump). Unfortunately I never really got a chance to play the multiplayer part of the game. By the time I got cable the only people still playing the game were a bunch of fanatics in the U.S. and I'm not gonna stay up till 4 o'clock in the morning just to play a computer game. More recently Activision has been shutting down their Interstate '76 & Nitro servers, the final nail to Interstate's coffin.

Windows · by Roedie (5239) · 2002

Keep on grooving.

The Good
As befitting to any megahit title such as I-76, an expansion pack became available shortly that offered more 70's themed automobilistic mayhem, but does it hold up when compared to the original blockbuster? Yup.

For starters you have new cars, weapons, groovy funk/disco tunes, customization options and multiplayer modes, but for as thrilling as those are the most important new feature are the new map textures that take the action out of the deserts and into grassy semi-urban areas and snowy landscapes. It's as if you had been playing Quake all your life and you suddenly realized there are more colors!! Behold!!

The progress of the game differs from the original in the sense that you now play short, single missions as different characters from the original gang that make up a timeline of sorts that predates the original I-76. That's right, Nitro Pack is another one of those "prequels" so you can see just how some characters originally met and generally build the I-76 universe without making a new plotline. (standard M.O. for an expansion pack).

The mission design actually benefits from the approach taken by the mini-campaign layout of the game as you don't have long scenarios as in the original and each mission presents it's challenge directly and doesn't take you on a million-mile chase with 50 cinematics in-between. That's not to say that the missions have taken a drop quality-wise, no siree. The missions are spectacularly crafted and involve all sorts of ambushes, races and more esoteric challenges as in "Velocity" a fantastic spoof on the movie Speed, where Taurus has to somehow stop a bus before it explodes without shooting it or toppling it! Genius I say.

Also the pack comes with off-the-box hardware 3D acceleration support with the obvious quantum leap in graphic quality that involves over I-76.

The Bad
Nightime missions are still a bitch, and that's if you manage to keep your headlights intact, since any shot can still take them out. I would have liked a better 3rd-person perspective camera as it gives you better awareness (but just like in the original you have a flicky non-locked view without most of the hud displays.... And just why do the missions come out of order when taking into account the actual timeline?? Ahh well.. just bitching I guess.

The Bottom Line
Great add-on that gives more of the exciting revolutionary gameplay found on the original hit and builds around it with extra features and better looks. A must for owners of the originals, this is one of those expansions that just can't be separated from the original in terms of completing the experience.

Windows · by Zovni (10503) · 2003

Trivia

References

The mission Velocity parodies the movie Speed in which the protagonists need to disarm a bomb in a driving bus.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by DaHero.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, Roedie, Patrick Bregger.

Game added September 2, 2000. Last modified January 21, 2024.