RoadKill Review

Midway has created a game that combines the look and feel of the Grand Theft Auto series and the pure carnage of Twisted Metal Black. It’s an “original” game coming from Midway, the company that has thrived on things such as NFL Blitz and NHL Hitz for many years. Does the melding of two great games create a great game here? Time to find out.

This game certainly sits below both games it is trying to duplicate. The car and weapon graphics just do not hold a candle to Twisted Metal Black and the overall character graphics outside of the cutscenes are below Grand Theft Auto standards. There are literally jaggies all over the place in this game and often while I was driving I wondered if the graphics are just PS One quality ones transposed onto this game for the Playstation 2. I can only guess the graphics aren’t stupendous because of the need to have a constant framerate, which this game has. The thing that really disappointed me was that the wheels moved when you started, but then they stopped their animation once you really got going. That’s bad news when you spend all your time in the car pretty much, you know?

The three cities look pretty good, but they just don’t feel as alive as Liberty City or Vice City. Sure, there are people on the road you can run over, but the whole city just seems stale when compared to everything that’s happening in the two Grand Theft Auto new generation games. What this game does do well in graphics is the cutscenes. Basically after every mission you have a cutscene with the character giving you your next mission. Oftentimes these cutscenes are bloody, many curse words are spoken and even scantily-clad hookers are in them. It takes vulgarity to a whole new level not seen before in the likes of the two game series this game is trying to emulate.

I give Midway props for copying the ability to change radio stations (with funny commericals) like Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City did. They even have some licensed music, like Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl”. Granted, the licensed tracks do not even come close to the overflowing 80s songs in Vice City, but it’s cool to hear some songs that I still really enjoy, you know?

The sound is good, but not great. The gun sounds are here, but don’t overpower. There are lots of uses of the F-word and S-word thrown around, some that I’ve never known could be used in a sentence. Obviously this is to make the game seem more mature, but sometimes it can get a bit out of hand. The voices are well done for the most part. You even get to start off getting missions from a Scottish sounding guy that swears like a sailor.

This game is very loosely controlled. I would even venture to guess that the driving engine is based upon a refined Spy Hunter engine. The same types of wide turns are seen here as was seen in that game. The controls are pretty basic, but I had a heck of a time getting my vehicles under control without hitting another vehicle and starting up some riot where everyone wanted a piece of me. X is accelerate, Square is brake, Triangle to see behind you, R1 to shoot primary weapon, R2 to drop secondary weapon, L1 to handbrake, L2 to switch primary weapons and the D-pad to change radio stations.

The controls are all fine and dandy until you actually get on the road, then you’ll find trouble trying to control your vehicles. The firing of weapons isn’t that tough, it’s just driving your vehicle. Luckily there are missions where you are put behind the gun at the back of the vehicle and get to shoot things. This game would have been so much better if the controls were a little bit tighter.

As said in the Introduction, this game is easily seen as a melding between Grand Theft Auto III/Vice City and Twisted Metal Black. The game itself is structured so much like GTA that the game probably should have been called Grand Kill Auto or something. If you hit the Start button you will notice the EXACT SAME setup as in GTA. The different tabs, the font used, pretty much everything is a direct rip-off. In some ways I think they should be paying some sort of royalty to Rockstar for this game. When you look at the game itself you have a map in the lower left hand corner. In this game it is square, in GTA it is round…they have the exact same information on them. Seriously, they couldn’t have ripped the GTA series off more in this case. For the vehicular combat and “mature” feeling of the game they decided to rip off from Twisted Metal Black. Luckily they do not use that game as liberally as the GTA series when making this game.

Getting those things out of the way, the only original thing this game really brings to the table are the cutscenes in-between most missions. This game really brings nothing new to the table other than a lot more blood (you run over someone on the road and your screen will get bloody for instance) and a lot more cursing. It’s not a horrible game, but as I was going through it I just felt like going back and playing either GTA or Twisted Metal Black instead of this game. Basically you are new to the town of Lava Falls, AZ (or Hell as the City Limits sign says) and you go around doing missions, getting cars, getting money for weapon upgrades, etc. Many of the missions are pretty boring and are not as varied as those found in the GTA games. I did like the missions where I was put in the back of the vehicle and got to shoot things up with the gun back there…that was fun! As you get new vehicles they may be aligned with a certain gang and if you happen to fall upon any other gang get ready to run away because they come fast and furious.

This game just chose to go down a road well traveled and not try to stake its own new path. The mission layout is set up the same way as GTA and to be honest I’d rather play that game than this one. If you can stay with this game for long enough, you may end up enjoying it. It does have a good amount of gameplay in it, it’s just that I think everyone that has played GTA is going to feel this game is a far less than perfect copy.

Just like what I talked about above, you will be thinking of GTA as you go through this game. If you haven’t played GTA before you may enjoy this title quite a bit as it is easy to pick up and play, although the missions can sometimes be very hard. It is on the cheap end of things at $39.99, but the value of having a basic carbon copy of another game just isn’t enough for me. If you can make it through the storyline you do get a good amount of gametime out of it, I just hope you aren’t thinking GTA all the time.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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