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Roadkill Package Art
 GENRE
  Action
 DEVELOPER
  Midway
 PUBLISHER
  Midway
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1-4
 CONNECTIVITY
  no
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Roadkill

Everyone knows the formulas that made Twisted Metal and Grand Theft Auto such classic franchises. So what if you were to combine the two for some all-out apocalyptic mayhem? That’d certainly be interesting. Can’t wait until someone thinks that up? Well, Midway apparently beat everyone to the punch with Roadkill, a car combat game that shares the same free-roaming environments of Grand Theft Auto. Does the genius idea work in practice as well as theory? Only somewhat. The gameplay is fun, but only for short periods of time. You’re not likely to want to sit and play through the whole game in one sitting. In fact, the game takes roughly 10-15 hours to complete, so it would obviously be a chore. With average visuals and a cool soundtrack, Roadkill isn’t the worst for wear but a few improvements certainly wouldn’t hurt.

visuals

The overall quality of the visual stylings in Roadkill aren’t going to win any special awards, but they pull off what little they can. The character and vehicle models work well inside the environments. The gritty textures of each vehicle lend a little bit of Mad Max into the Twisted Metal mix. The areas themselves look moderately detailed. The whole post-apocalyptic look is lost with several blocks of houses, shops and parking structures. There are not enough degraded, scorched plots of land. Even rotting, newly built housing units can be found. It’s basically a city found in Grand Theft Auto only it’s always dark and only a little bit grittier. The computer animated cut scenes are a little on the cheap side, but they tell what little story there is at the cost of a low attention to detail. Well, that’s not necessarily the best excuse.

audio

The production takes a slight turn for the better in the field of sound. The sound effects themselves are great, featuring several explosion and weapon effects. The vehicle sounds are good but there can be some slightly annoying bugs like a sudden adjust in volume. The best aspect has to be the music, which is featured in the same radio concept as the GTA series. Weird, huh? There’s a hilarious talk station, a couple of original music stations, and some classic rock stations that use licensed music. The soundtrack is great but you’ll probably just want to listen to the talk radio station after a little while. The music is crisp and clear and you can easily hear it above any intense action. The voice acting within the cut scenes and in-game as well are okay at best. There’s not a whole lot of instantly recognizable talent but they do a good job. The comedy is nicely timed thanks to a keen-eared director.

gameplay

The Twisted Metal and Grand Theft Auto comparisons continue into this section like never before. You’ll take your extensive variety of weapon-toting vehicles out for a drive through a few different cities in order to gain a reputation for yourself as you rise to the top of the gang syndicate. Throw in some vehicle combat and several side-missions and you’ll have Midway’s Roadkill. It’s a simple game with simple controls and design. Think GTA only instead of carjacking and running around shooting people, you’ll shoot from your car and run over people in your collection of decked out vehicles. Just like in Twisted Metal! The missions are extremely similar to GTA or other clones like The Simpsons: Hit and Run. You’ll hunt down and kill someone, destroy something, chase someone, track someone down, etc. After all of these missions it’s hard to see anything remotely original in the mission design.

However, whatever Roadkill lacks in originality, it makes up for in fun. There’s nothing better than impaling a virtual person with your virtual spikes on the hood of your virtual hood and dragging his virtual carcass across the virtual street. Unless you’re not into that sort of thing, in which case you certainly will not enjoy this title. The controls, thankfully share no similarity to GTA’s. They’re precise and fluid, which makes each vehicle simple to maneuver across each city.

The action can get rather repetitive and stale after only a couple hours. Roadkill may not be the most groundbreaking title to come along since GTA or TM but the combination of each titles’ play mechanics proves for a great action title, especially on the GCN.

multiplayer

Ever played a Twisted Metal multiplayer title? Well, you have the general idea of what the four-player Roadkill is like. If not, you’ll basically take on up to three of your friends in an all-out vehicular combat free for all. The maps are large but there are just not enough power-ups to keep the action going. Compared to Incog’s Twisted Metal Black, the multiplayer can become extremely boring. However, since this is the only alternative on the GameCube so far, you may want to look into it if you’re into the car combat genre.

overall

After “borrowing” several different ideas from several different famous franchises, Roadkill is obviously not the best stand-alone title available today. It’s unoriginal, but there’s easily some fun to be had after you get past the low production values. Once you complete this title, though, there’s really no reason to go back. Even the multiplayer is a bit of a drag. Roadkill is a great alternative to GTA and TMB on the GameCube. While certainly not as stellar as these two hallmark titles, we’ll just have to stop complaining that there are no extremely violent games on the GameCube. Now we can complain that there are no great, extremely violent games on the GameCube. When will this madness end?

final score 7.9/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"


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