Destruction Derby Arenas
It's got online play, but little else. You race and you crash, a simple concept really. Just a little too simple, perhaps. Vids included.
Racing (Online Enabled)
By Kikizo Staff
How exactly does one convey the concept of average? The Collins Dictionary defines it as 1. the typical or normal amount of quality. 2. the result obtained by adding the numbers or quantities in a set and dividing the total by the number of members in the set. 3. usually; typically. 4. usual or typical. 5. mediocre or inferior. Yeah, that'll do. Because that is a succinct summation of what Destruction Derby Arenas is; in every sense of the word, the very definition of average. It is the first PS2 title in the series, and the second such title from Studio 33 -- the first being Destruction Derby Raw which saw release on the PSOne. And from the start it is painfully clear that the game was designed to cash in on the growing phenomenon of online console gaming. Players are presented with a token selection of offline modes, the primary purpose of which is to unlock tracks, characters and cars.
The first of these, Wrecking Racing, sees players engaged in circuit-based racing in which the primary objective is to finish with as high a placing as possible, while at the same time causing as much damage to opponents and the track as possible. Destruction Bowl, on the other hand, foregoes the niceties of actual racing. Confined within a small arena (hence the term 'bowl'), competitors attempt to disable one another's vehicles, or at the very least cause extensive amounts of damage to them. The Championship mode combines both disciplines into a four-event, four-tier structure; each tier of the championship comprises three Wrecking Racing and one final Destruction Bowl discipline. Within each event, players accrue score based upon their performance in categories such as Style, Spin and Power (and in Wrecking Racing, Position) all of which are then added together to determine your final score and thereby your ranking.
Wrecking Racing is by far the more enjoyable of the two disciplines, for no other reason than it actually demands a modicum of skill in order to excel. Oddly enough, you need not win the race in order to actually win the event. Your final position is but one of the many factors that decide your final ranking and as such you'll need to strike a balance between racing, earning style points and jostling with the other competitors. Success in Destruction Bowl, however, requires players to do little more than smash into each other as many times as possible. Wheee. Despite a sizeable roster of characters (25 in all), vehicles, tracks and car parts to unlock, the gameplay that comprises Destruction Derby Arenas is too shallow to hold most any player's attention for long, let alone long enough to bother unlocking everything. Two-player split-screen competition and online play are obviously meant to alleviate these problems, but the simple fact is that regardless of the number of human players, the core gameplay is sorely lacking. Something that greatly sours the experience, online or no.
Given its title, one could reasonably expect to bear witness to a fair degree of vehicular abuse. The damage model, however, lags appreciably behind that found in many titles of similar ilk. Burnout for example, features some truly wince-inducing crashes. In contrast, collisions in DDA are a good deal milder, offering little more than a modicum of smoke, sparks, flying debris such as cogs and pieces of metal, and crumpled bodywork. Excessive damage will ultimately cause your vehicle to burst into flames, but prior to that point, all you'll have to show for it is a series of minor dents, bumps and perhaps a missing bonnet or door. Special effects too, are decidedly lackluster. Careening through trackside debris, for example, will often result in said obstacle shattering into tessellated polygonal shards as though it were made of glass. A technique reminiscent of many PSOne-era titles because of the inherent properties of triangles and the advantage of using them in 3D geometry.
The environments, though comprising a derivative collection of urban locales (Airport, Chinatown, Refinery, South Central among others), are the stand-out aspect of the entire visual package, one which coincidentally appears to have been deliberately toned down in order to better accommodate the vagaries of online play. In keeping with the staid nature of much of the game, DDA features a cast of utterly one-dimensional characters, all of whom are represented on-screen by some truly horrendous 2D artwork. Highlights of which include Yin Yang, a schizophrenic Japanese competitor; Cadence, an extreme sports masochist; Lt. Johnson Jr., an ex-air force pilot and 'good ol' boy' American; and Makucha, the only daughter of an African immigrant.
Having come this far, Studio 33 no doubt felt compelled to conform to yet another staple, namely, an obnoxious, highly strung announcer whose repertoire of one-liners is a limited as his ability to emote. Prior to each event, he'll offer a completely worthless rundown of the course, replete with a collection of banal puns and double entendres. During the event itself, he'll shout a series of equally worthless phrases that are only somewhat related to the on-screen action, as well as the name of any power-up you happen to acquire. A standard library of crashing, scraping and exploding sound effects comprise the rest of the aural portion of the title.
Without the inclusion of online play, there would be no reason whatsoever to buy this game, and the developers knew it. Even with it, the game offers little redeeming value, even for the most casual of players. It's completely mindless, and not in a good way, either. In a market teeming with titles of far greater virtue, one wonders what good reason there could possibly be to purchase this game. The simple answer to that, is that there is none.
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Destruction Derby Arenas Edited sequence of game footage and replays
Destruction Derby Arenas Longer sequence boasting awesome replay and in-game footage, without annoying rock music.
|Destruction Derby Arenas - first footage! (Direct feed & hi-resolution).||2.47min||16.9MB||WMV|