Eve of Destruction
TomChick - :60 Reviews - Comments - 10/08/04

It's a little embarassing that my favorite driving game since Carmaggedon has the Test Drive brand slapped on it. I mean, come on, Test Drive? Acclaim had been pumping out abysmal Test Drive games for decades. So why on earth would Atari want to tar and feather a superlative piece of work like Eve of Destruction with the words 'Test' and 'Drive'? Of course, the subtitle recalls a crappy Gregory Hines movie, so they're not doing very well on that end of the name either.

So what better time than now to invoke the Bard's 'what's in a name?' line? Forget the stupid title and don't mind the destruction derby theme. This is a seriously amazing driving game, with equal parts racing and wrecking. Since you guys are inured by all the empty hyperbole people use when writing about games, let me reiterate: a seriously amazing driving game.

Let's run down the checklist of things you want in a driving game:
* tight controls that make every jump a white-knuckled affair
* realistic physics with a sense of weight and impact so that you don't just slide away from every collision as if nothing happened
* convincing AI that isn't robotically precise
* gratifying career progression
* the-last-game-you'll-ever-need amounts of variety in terms of different ways to play
* challenging meaningful unlockables
* thorough multiplayer support for all modes that let you include AI cars so it's not just you and your buddy on an empty track
* lots of things breaking, burning, flipping over, and hanging around the track to get in your way rather than simply vanishing after one lap
* inspired consistent presentation that manages to wring a lot of variety out of its white trash motif
* rampaging school buses coming to get you
* a hearse with the phrase 'DIRT NAP' spray painted on its hood
* chickens with sticks of lit dynamite strapped to them

All those things are in here and they're here with polish and inspiration. If you want simple speed without much of a challenge, Electronic Arts has the perfect game for you. But if you want a driving game -- one with actual driving and lots of gameplay -- then Test Drive: Eve of Destruction is worth at least a rent. After which, I predict you'll probably end up buying yourself a copy.

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