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In the modern world, cars are freakin money pits. If you don’t have the know-how, a driveway, or (in the case of the ever-growing import market) an engine lift, you’re pretty much stuck dropping your ride in the hands of some grease monkey that overcharges you for a laundry list of parts and labor you’ll never comprehend, or have the balls to argue. In post-zombie-apocalypse world, your car is your castle – a dangerous, deadly castle. Any mechanic worth his salt would be your best friend, turning your wheels into a bladed harbinger of mobile death, and turning you into a weapon-ized speed demon hell-bent on quenching your thirst for blood-soaked action and flesh-shredding destruction. Welcome to BLOOD DRIVE.
Set in the Vegas-inspired fictional town of Las Ruletas, BLOOD DRIVE (Sidhe, Activision) introduces gamers to the not-so-unfamiliar territories of vehicular combat and zombie-infested environments. Players can control one of eight characters, each with their own strengths, weakness, customized rides, and colorful personalities. Competition takes place across various zombie-ridden settings common to a big city (streets, airports, rundown factories, etc) as players compete in 10 or so differing events against AI or 3 other multiplayer opponents. These events challenge players to demolition derbies, checkpoint races, killing the most zombies, and variations of the three.
BLOOD DRIVE is not an ambitious game by any means; and because of that, it succeeds extremely well in giving controllers a button-mashing workout. At its core, it’s the best things about the classics TWISTED METAL and CARMAGGEDON mashed into one game. If you don’t care to complete objectives, you can spend every race mowing down hordes of zombies and still garner enough points to progress. Keeping the car still encourages undead bystanders to dog pile and destroy your ride, so the game-play mechanic heavily condones speed and mayhem. There’s also a beautiful, rewarding hilarity in having the camera freeze-frame on your car while cresting a jump with 3-4 zombies dangling from the hood. On ground, zombies fly with great rag doll effects, and blood sprays in waves heavy enough to make players pine for a special Carwash Level future DLC. While simplistic in course design, the environments are filled with enough jumps, collapsible structures, tunnels, and secret hideaways to keep the drives seeming fresh and exciting. The Vince McMahon-like announcer and the booming soundtrack of splatter and explosion help maintain an above average level of intensity at all times.
The only major drawbacks lie in the graphics and replay departments. While drawing a good depiction of a post-apocalyptic Sin City, the overall imagery feels a little last-gen. From a distance, the zombies and environmental props (oil drums, immobile cars, etc) seem appropriately depicted, but closer inspection leaves them looking sort of cardboard and a little blocky. As for replay, if you’re not a fan of a game style that’s unabashedly repetitive, vehicular combat offers exactly what it states – vehicles in combat. BLOOD DRIVE does little to stray from the course, but keeps you confined to an arena of zombie-crushing, car-crashing, blood spraying enjoyment.
Any fan of vehicular combat, vehicular manslaughter (or zombie slaughter), or ridiculous futuristic extreme sports will enjoy taking a BLOOD DRIVE. The graphic and replay shortcomings aside, DRIVE taps into that thirst for anarchy and wanton lawlessness that all fans of zombie lore hold dear. So hop in, buckle up, take aim, and mow down every shambling meat-bag in your path to victory.
Click here to check out our interview with BLOOD DRIVE's lead designer, Chris Cervantes. The game is available now for XBOX 360 and Sony PlayStation 3.
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