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July 23, 2007
E3 2007 - Death Track: Resurrection Preview (PC)

By Jason Van Horn

There's something about the act of driving that just brings out the worst in people. You don't go fast enough and someone gets mad. You get cutoff and you speed in front of them just to get even and do the same to them. You feel wronged by someone else on the road, you curse under your breath, flip them the bird, and honk your horn in frustration. It's no wonder road rage is so prevalent in the world. And though hearing on the news about instances of road rage is never a good time to be had, at least it all leads to some fun and frivolity once you head into the world of videogames…and add in some rockets and machine guns.

Death Track: Resurrection is a sequel/reimagining of the Death Track game that came out a long time ago. In the game, you'll play as one of ten different cars in the game, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, weapons, and car skins. Much like regular fighting games, the same characteristics are here too: you've got the average, normal cars; speed demons who are easily destroyed; and the slow moving tank that does a lot of damage.

1C Company stressed that in some automotive destruction games such as this, players were often able to make it through the game strictly on racing, failing to ever focus on the shooting aspect of the game. With Death Track, they wanted to make sure combat was always on the mind of players, so they've included several means to get you to want to blow everyone up. For starters, destroying someone will obviously slow them down, letting you get ahead while they load back up. The most important reason, however, to engage in the combat is that oftentimes you'll miss and end up hitting the environment, which will help you create shortcuts and quick paths to put you in the lead and have you blasting to the finish line in record time. In one instance, we saw a building getting targeted, and after its destruction a new path was open to players; plus the debris in the road helped slow enemies up whenever they hit it. The weapons of the game were almost strictly rockets and bullets in regards to the cars we saw, but as evident by the skyscraper blowing up, they were more than able to get the job done.

Though the sound was absent from the version we saw, we saw both displayed in actual gameplay as well as movie footage, several different racing levels in the game (100 km in all) including runs through several different futuristic modeled real world cities - London, Moscow, New York, Paris, etc. - all featuring different race track environments, including different barriers, background settings, interactable environmental hazards, and conditions such as day, night, sun, rain, and snow. Many games will give you different layouts, but much of the same background ambience; Death Track bucks the trend, making every track seem different and new, instead of merely being tweaked slightly.

The game also had a good sense of speed, even if it was lacking the revving motors needed to really portray the horses thundering through these engines. The game wasn't quite F-Zero speed, but it was faster than many of the others racers out there. In general, the action was quick enough to really get a sense of the adrenaline pumping, but it was never so quick where things were mere blurs, making it hard to focus on the action and what exactly you were shooting at.

With five different racing modes to keep you busy and switching things up, it looks as if automotive combat fans might have something to look forward to coming up next year. Death Track: Resurrection isn't exactly an evolution of the genre, but it does enough things right and well to be worthy of some attention. Just remember: leave the road rage for the videogames, because where else are you going to be able to destroy a building onto a car that just passed you?


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