Description official descriptions
In a dark alternate vision of 1976, the Federal U.S. Government has faltered and the world suffers from the effects of an oil crisis. Armed gangs terrorize the roads of the American South West. You are Groove Champion - when your sister Jade is killed you inherit her custom-built Picard Piranha and become a vigilante, with only revenge on your mind.
Interstate '76 is a vehicular combat game with a 1970s theme which means muscle cars & funky disco music. Hit the road and seek the killer of Groove's sister in 17 scripted missions across open-ended trackless areas, or battle creepers in the instant melee mode, against up to 7 other human players. The player can equip their car with different weapons, like machine guns, turrets, grenade launchers and mines. Although the game world is not intended to be realistic, the car handling and collision physics are.
Credits (Windows version)
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Average score: 85% (based on 23 ratings)
Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 61 ratings with 5 reviews)
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!
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.
Windows · by Les Nessman (265) · 2005
For one thing, the 70's motif is incredibly fun. All that funk music, 70's slang, big hair, and big cars. It's like being in a 70's tv show. And what's more, you get to drive a car around the American SouthWest and blow things up with it. That's enough reason to buy this game on it's own. Of course, if you're going to drive around destroying things (with a delightfully varied and destructive arsenal, which this game provides), you might as well look good doing it. And in Interstate '76, you do. The graphics are beautiful and even more so if you can get your hands on the Gold version, which has 3d acceleration. Gameplay is good, too. You've got two primary modes of play: The Trip (the main game) and Melee (which is just what it sounds like). The Trip features a great storyline with fun characters (my personal favorite is your afroed, poetry-writing partner, Taurus) as well as missions that have a feeling of purpose to them. Melee mode allows you to cut-back and have fun trashing either computerized enemies or real people over the net. Great fun, I'll tell you.
Alas, the game seems to have some very annoying technical problems. The biggest problem is that the game is just generally unstable. It has a tendency on some computers to crash randomly (which is very annoying). As well, it's even more unstable if you are using a 3dfx graphics card with the Gold version (to relieve this problem, play the game in Direct 3D mode). One major gripe I have is that the characters seem to have a penchant for using the word "sht" in every other sentence. Is this necessary? And my final gripe: I am upset that there isn't a sequel out yet.
The Bottom Line*
A combat-driving sim full of fun and funk music.
Windows · by Steelysama (82) · 1999
The atmosphere of Interstate '76 is both fantastic and unique. Instead of making yet another Sci-Fi themed shooter Activision did a great job by creating an alternative 70's game world. And they got all the details right: the funky music, the cool intro that looks like it came from a 70's TV show, the clothes that the characters wear, the way they talk (you dig!, Taurus is great) and of course those powerful muscle cars. I really love cars like the Dodge Challenger, Chevy Camaro and the Ford Mustang (too bad you don't see them too much here in the Netherlands) and you can drive them all in this game although the names have been changed. Before I played this game I saw the 70's cult movie Vanishing Point, which is like one big car chase through the desert. After watching this movie I just had to have this game. On the Internet there are home-made levels available in which you can drive your own white Dodge Challenger through endless deserts & ghost towns and trailer parks. The entire atmosphere is what made the game so appealing for me.
This game has really superb audio. The music is some of the best I've ever heard in a game. Sometimes I play the CD in my audio set, something I haven't done with any other game. The voice acting is just as good, especially Greg Eagles as Taurus. Also when you press c while you are driving Taurus (who reminds me of Shaft) will tell you a poem. It has no use at all, but it is just one of those little things that strengthens the way you feel about a game.
The game has a good storyline which is told in a lot of cut-scenes. The cut-scenes integrate perfectly with the in-game graphics engine to create a coherent whole. Moreover the missions, well at least the vast majority of them, are interesting and actually make sense in the context of the main storyline. Playing a mission means advancing the story. You get to know this story in the campaign-mode, called The Trip. In the first missions you face weak foes. As you progress you fit the parts and weapons you salvage from the wrecks of your enemies on your own car and turn your sister's Picard Piranha (the only car available in The Trip) into a real killer. Your buddy Skeeter can repair & replace some parts (not all, you'll have to decide which spare parts and weapons you take with you in Skeeter's van and which stuff you leave behind), but largely the car in which you ended mission A is the car with which you start mission B. So it's important to keep the damage to a minimum and salvage as many good parts as possible (kill an enemy with a headshot instead of blowing up his car).
The implementation of both driving and combat has been done in very satisfactory fashion. The car handling is great and a lot more realistic than one would expect in a shoot 'em up. It's obvious that the developers put a lot of effort in getting both the physics and the damage model right. The realistic in-car graphics (seeing your hands move the steering wheel etc.) make the game even more immersive. All this helps to make the battles great as well. Interstate '76 let's you kill with style. First you use your machine guns and cannons to strip your opponent of all his armor, then you take your colt .45 out of the glove box and aim for a headshot. When your enemy's body collapses on the steering wheel you'll hear the horn!
Well, the game is very buggy. I had some serious trouble trying to run this game and downloaded several patches to avoid crashes. After I downloaded the Gold Edition patch (80 meg) the game ran stable in Direct 3D mode. This patch is supposed to give you 3Dfx support but when I tried that, the game crashed every time. The main problem is that the game is optimized for Win 95, and you can expect some weird installation problems and bugs when your OS is Win 98.
When you play Auto Melee against bots you will notice that the A.I. of the computer opponents isn't that great. And in this mode there ain't no great story line to hide this. Even in a very weak car it would take at least three stronger computer opponents to kill me. A problem with the Auto Melee is that the A.I. cars all attack at once and don't fight amongst each other. Also the game doesn't really keep a score so bot-matches loose their sense of purpose.
I guess some people hate the lack of a in-game save option. You can only save your game after each mission. Some of the missions are pretty hard, but I didn't mind replaying them cause I like the game so much. Just change the set-up of your car and give it another try!
Finally, the box says you can play this game on a Pentium 90. Don't even try. You'll have to turn of many details and play it in 320 x 240 resolution which sucks.
The Bottom Line
This is a very good game, one of my all time favorites. It has a unique setting, great voice acting & music, realistic physics and a great campaign mode. I love Interstate '76 unconditionally.
Windows · by Roedie (5221) · 2001
1001 Video Games
Interstate '76 appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
Cancelled Playstation version
The game was in development for the Playstation but never released.
The cars that appear in Interstate '76 are all based on real cars (of course the names had to be changed because of copyright/trademark issues): * Courcheval Cavera - Chevrolet Camaro. * Courcheval Courchelle - Chevrolet Chevelle. * Courcheval Manta - Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. * Courcheval Royale - Chevrolet Caprice. * ABX AMZ - AMC Javelin AMX. * ABX Leprechaun - AMC Gremlin. * Dover Lightning - Dodge Challenger or Dodge Charger. * Picard Jackrabbit - Plymouth Superbird. * Picard Piranha - Plymouth Barracuda. * Phaedra Palomino - Ford Mustang. * Phaedra Pony - Ford Pinto. * Phaedra Clydesdale - Ford Bronco. * Phaedra Rattler - Shelby Cobra. * Phaedra Coupe - Ford Coupe (Street Rod). * Glenn Inc. Bushmaster - Jeep. * Jefferson Sovereign - Lincoln Continental. * Vikea 420 Wagon - Volvo 420 GL. * Moth Truck - Mack Truck.
To promote the game Activision made what has to be the most extravagant videogame contest ever: Purchasing specially marked boxes at Electronics Boutique gave you the chance to enter a sweepstakes were you could actually win the official Interstate '76 car! (the blue muscle car in the game's cover). 50 3rd prize winners would get the soundtrack, 25 2nd prize winners would get a CGW "prize package" and 25 first prize winners would get a Sidewinder 3D pro joystick, BUT if you found a golden key in your game box, then you could visit the Activision HQ along two other contestants, have dinner with the production team at Hard Rock cafe, visit Universal Studios, etc.
It is a common misconception that the cinematic cutscenes are performed in realtime by the 3D engine of the game. Although they use solid-filled polygons and low-vertex models, they are pre-rendered and compressed with the Cinepak codec. They are not rendered in realtime. The blocky appearance of the cutscenes is intentional.
There is actually a Interstate '76 (Gold Edition), which is the game with GLIDE and Rendition 3D support. However, the name was later reused to re-release The Interstate '76 Arsenal.
One type of wheels you can put under your car is the 15 inch Krager. A reference to the producer of this game; Scott Krager.
For Interstate '76's soundtrack Kelly Rogers, director of music production at Activision, recruited among others songwriter and former Santana keyboardist Tom Coaster as well as Third Eye Blind's Arion Salazar.
- Computer Gaming World
- March 1998 (Issue #164) – Artistic Achievement of the Year
- May 2005 (Issue #251) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
- GameStar (Germany)
- Issue 12/1999 - #83 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
- PC Player (Germany)
- Issue 01/1998 - Best Atmosphere in 1997
- Power Play
- Issue 02/1998 – Best Racing Game in 1997
Related Sites +
Designer's Notebook: Interstate'76
A feature article on the industry website Gamasutra, which makes use of <em>Interstate '76</em> to illustrate the game design concept of "Harmony", in which each part of a game feels as if it belongs to a cohesive whole (Jan. 15th, 1999).
IGCD Internet Game Cars Database
Game page on IGCD, a database that tries to archive vehicles found in video games.
Interview with Scott Krager, Interstate 76 Producer
on Gamezilla.com (1996)
The Local Ditch presents Interstate '76
General site that has maps, codes, pre-release screenshots, strategies, and other trivial I '76 items.
- MobyGames ID: 347
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by robotriot.
Game added November 1st, 1999. Last modified August 25th, 2023.