I have long believed that vehicular combat games were a great example of what arcade-style experiences have to offer. They are relatively short affairs with intense competition and lots of laughs. The vehicular combat genre is also an accessible fantasy. Just as Super Mario Bros. brilliantly tapped into the fun of running and jumping, titles such as Vigilante 8, Twisted Metal or even Death Race offered an outlet for our annoyances with traffic and the delight of fast driving paired with causing mayhem. Originally released in 2006, Crashday combined vehicular combat with traditional racing modes, stunt competitions and even a few minigames. Fast forward to 2017 and Crashday: Redline Edition repackages classic gameplay with updated graphics and online multiplayer features.
Let’s face it, you are not going to play Crashday for the narrative. The game offers a loose story in career mode about your character proving worthy before joining a racing team and your contact guides you from one event to the next. There is no dialogue outside of your contact talking to you about your team’s efforts to sell DVDs and similar nonsense. None of this has any bearing on the gameplay. You still go from event to event (some with specified requirements to shake things up), win prize money and buy upgrades or new cars. Rinse and repeat.
While Crashday: Redline Edition does feature updated graphics, the game still looks quite dated. The vehicle models, environments and effects use textures that look like they were made somewhere between the PlayStation 2 and early Xbox 360 games. To be fair, there are several vehicle models in the game and you won’t confuse the DeLorean stand-in with the Humvee-type vehicle. Most of the environments are bland textures depicting grass, dirt, concrete and trees. There are no Arctic or tropical settings or other types of environments that are featured in modern racing games.
The soundtrack for Crashday: Redline Edition is one of the highpoints of the game. There are 36 musical tracks and 10 of those make their debut here. A great selection of rock music that nicely accentuates the explosions and mayhem you see on the screen. Unfortunately, the excellence of the musical score is not matched by the sound design of the vehicles themselves. The sound effects of engines revving or missile explosions are fairly generic. In fairness, this game was released back in 2006 but modern racing game developers go to the trouble of placing microphones inside of and around vehicles to capture their accurate engine sounds which make’s this game’s sound design seem lackluster.
The gameplay represents the best and worst of what Crashday: Redline Edition has to offer. You get a single player campaign and you can also play the multiplayer events against bots. There is an online multiplayer mode but no local multiplayer options. The game’s Steam page says there are a lot of game modes and in fairness, there are. However, most of the modes are lacking in depth or playability. For example, there is a racing mode but the game’s physics are geared for vehicular combat and the racing events just don’t play as well as the Wrecking Match mode. Some of the mini-games are laughably shallow. The Long Jump event is literally driving your vehicle down a ramp and jumping for distance. There is a type of Capture the Flag event that plays well enough but this is such a common event in games that this hardly qualifies as a selling point.
I do not mean to come across as if I am down on Crashday: Redline Edition. I genuinely enjoyed my time in Wrecking Match and Pass The Bomb events. I am impressed that the game runs so well on my laptop that has an integrated graphics chip. I only wish that less attention was given to the lackluster mini-games and racing modes in favor of expanding the Wrecking Match game.
On that note, the Wrecking Match event was the best part of the game. You have several arenas to choose from and you can choose parameters such as how many kills you need to win, whether power-ups will be available and the weapons your vehicle can use. This is the mode that fans of Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8 will most appreciate. Unfortunately, the variety of weapons is quite limited. You can use a mini-gun and a missile launcher on your vehicle and that is all the offensive power-ups you will find. There is a blue defensive power-up and a green wrench power-up that restores your vehicle’s health. That’s it. All of your opponents will be limited to the same power-ups but it would have been nice to have the option for more creative weapons. After all, Vigilante 8 had a wider variety of offensive power-ups and that game preceded Crashday by about a decade.
I found the default keyboard controls to be a bit awkward but they are customizable. The game offers controller support and I used a DualShock 4 pad with no issues.
Note: Most of this review was written before the game’s release and I was unable to test the online multiplayer modes due to a lack of players. After the game released I was able to enjoy a number of online matches with no issues but this mode has not received as much scrutiny at the time of publication.
Fans of vehicular combat games can have an enjoyable experience with Crashday: Redline Edition. The game is inexpensive and runs on low powered PCs so there should be a sizable player base and the mod community has already begun creating additional content. However, fans of modern driving games such as Assetto Corsa and Project Cars will not find Crashday: Redline Edition’s offerings to be adequate.
This review was written with a copy of the game provided by the developer.