The Destruction Derby franchise, which debuted on the PSOne, is crashing and burning it's way to the PS2. Developed internally at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe division Studio 33, Destruction Derby Arenas will be one of the PS2's biggest first-party releases coming out this year.
Studio 33 is aiming to offer players both a compelling single-player experience with the game's Championship mode, where you take control over one of the available characters and his or her respective vehicle, as well as providing some gaming goodness to the multiplayer-starved people out there with the game's extensive list of online modes. In total, there are 5 different forms of online mayhem to be had. These include Destruction Bowl, where players duke it out in a big arena filled with various hazardous objects, and the Speedway mode, in which players can enjoy a more traditional head-to-head race. Other picks with names equally telling of their content are Wrecking Race, Capture the Trophy, and Pass Da Bomb.
Resonating with a distinct arcade vibe, the 13 courses and 4 destruction arenas are all colorful and filled to the brim with destructible objects, short cuts, ramps and other fun additions. In the game's current state, the frame rate can be a bit jerky at times, but otherwise the game has very solid graphics, further enhanced by the spectacular crashes which rival those found in fellow street-racer Burnout 2. Destruction Derby Arenas definitely goes for an over-the-top approach that comes together to make for some short but intensive gaming sessions.
The online mode supports voice chat in the game lobbies, but the feature might also make it into the actual races for the retail version. Online play is a pretty smooth, lag-free experience, even with 20 players racing at the same time.
The PS2 could use more online titles that aren't focused on deathmatch shooting events, so it's with pleasure that we await Destruction Derby Arenas. The PAL version is currently slated for a December 3rd release, and although a US date has yet to be announced, it would be strange if SCEA decided not to bring this baby over. Stay tuned.
10/24/2003 Alexander Agren