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Fatal Inertia is a futuristic hovercar racing game set in a 22nd century version of Earth where wealthy corporations provide ships, hire racers, and let them race and fight each other for entertainment because people got bored with the regular sports. The game provides six racing environments with 51 courses in total. The ships are based around four classes (Phoenix, Aurora, Mercury, and Titan), each with their own statistics based on top speed, acceleration, handling, braking, mass and strength. Each ship can be further customized through visual upgrades with emblems and paints, or technical upgrades through engines, brakes, hulls, wings, fronts, tails, side panels, cockpits and spoilers. Some of these are unlocked through achievements and trophies.

The weapons are non-lethal and make use of magnetic behaviour to hinder opponents. Racers can for instance launch magnets to weigh down ships. These last over time and eventually overload the system causing it to explode, but barrel rolls can be performed to shake them off. Magnets can also be launched as a cluster. There are rockets that ignite the opponent's thrusters to throw the ship off balance, force blasts provide explosions that disrupt the course, smoke bombs create smoke screens, towlines can stick enemies together or anchor them to the terrain, EMP disrupts magnets and shuts down other crafts, and the time dilator slow downs opponents. Most weapons have a secondary fire mode that launch the attacks backwards or provide an alternate use. Rockets and force blasts can then be used to launch the own craft for instance, and the alternate towline function is selected that way. Defence is provided through a force field with temporary protection from incoming attacks and environmental hazards. Weapons are picked up as power-ups during the races. Ships take damage and can be destroyed.

Races are organized around three leagues with sixteen racing series and different types of events such as Combat Race, Knock Out (elimination), Velocity (there are only power-ups that make the crafts go faster) and Magnet Mayhem (only power-ups that distort ships). The courses include Devil's Summit, Lost Canyon, Paradise Isle, Glacier Bay, Deepwoods Pass and Dragon Peaks. They consists of large natural environment with lush growth, many obstacles through natural formations and height differences. The course path is linear but often fairly wide and the crafts need to go through barriers that act as checkpoints. When they are missed, a reset is needed and valuable time is lost. The time of day for each race can also be determined. Some of these are unique and tied to a course, such as a blizzard for Glacier Bay. Courses include boost pads for extra speed. Multiplayer is supported for up to eight players.

The later released PlayStation 3 version is download-only and has a number of tweaks and additions, such as a training venue with eight new tracks (Fatal Inertia Proving Grounds Facility), a tweaked difficulty level with a new Master difficulty for veterans, and various adjustments to the gameplay, weapons and physics.


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Alternate Titles

  • "Fatal Inertia EX" -- PlayStation 3 title

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Critic Reviews PlayStation 3 Jul 24, 2008 75 out of 100 75 PlayStation 3 Sep 08, 2008 70 out of 100 70 Xbox 360 Nov 15, 2007 68 out of 100 68 (UK) PlayStation 3 Jul 17, 2008 6 out of 10 60 (UK) Xbox 360 Sep 14, 2007 6 out of 10 60
Consoles Plus Xbox 360 Nov, 2007 9 out of 20 45 PlayStation 3 Jun 26, 2008 Unscored Unscored


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Fatal Inertia was the debut title for the development studio KOEI Canada. It was first officially announced in September 2005 as a PlayStation 3 exclusive title with an expected launch in the spring of 2006. The initial date was missed and in November 2006 KOEI announced that the game would no longer be platform exclusive and come to the Xbox 360 as well. It was eventually released as a retail title in September 2007 for the Xbox 360. Problems with the UnrealEngine3 on consoles initially delayed the PS3 version and it would last until May 2008 until the PS3 version was released. It became a download-only title and has some tweaks compared to the Xbox 360 version.
Contributed to by Sciere (739122)