Destruction Derby Raw Review

For PlayStation

Rating: Average
   Most companies couldn't spiral out of control like Psygnosis if they 
tried.  In the past five years, Psygnosis has gone from being one of the top
developers in Europe to one of the laughing stocks of the industry.  It's
hard not to be considered a joke when you release games like Rascal, 
Psybadek, Chronicles of the Sword, ODT, Adidas Power Soccer, Spice World,
and Rosco McQueen: Firefighter Extreme (no, I didn't make that last one up).
   Much like the company as a whole, the Destruction Derby series has slowly
but surely been going straight to hell over the past five years.  The 
original game was right up there with NFL GameDay as one of the 
PlayStation's best first-generation games, while the sequel was a step down 
in nearly every way.  This third incarnation of the series continues the 
downward trend.
   In a nutshell, Destruction Derby Raw is Destruction Derby without the 
destruction.  The emphasis of the game is now on the actual rating, which 
makes about as much sense as the average episode of WCW Nitro.  Any long-
time fan of the series will tell you that racing has always been the 
Destruction Derby series' weak point.  In Raw, your car accumulates damage 
so easily that the game (intentionally) discourages you from hitting other 
cars during races.
   In one of many self-contradicting decisions made by the developers, even 
though the game discourages you from hitting other cars in the racing modes,
you're still penalized if you don't get enough "battle points."  A lot of 
the game's modes are ruined by the fact that battle points mean a lot more 
to the final standings than they should.  For example, the Skyscraper Mode 
could have been great if the winner was the last car remaining on top of the
skyscraper.  Instead, the winner is determined by a combination of battle 
points and order of elimination.
   Another balance problem is the fact that the game makes your car much 
faster than any of the computer-controlled cars.  You'll be able to go 
faster than all of the other cars and pass them if you're able to master the
subtle strategy of holding down the X button and... uh, holding down the X 
button some more, and if you really want to mix things up, you can hold down 
the X button.  This ease of gameplay is "balanced" by the fact that you 
start every race in 20th place (in a field of 20 cars).  
   Everything else in the game is straight out of 1995.  The high amount of 
loading time was acceptable in 1995, but it's not today.  The graphics 
aren't significantly better than they were in Destruction Derby 2 several 
years ago.  Some of the courses are NASCAR-like in design, meaning that the 
whole course is one constant left turn.  The loose control makes it very 
easy to get spun around into the wrong direction if you make the slightest 
   The developers' half-hearted attempt to modernize the game consists of 
nothing more than a new mode for buying and upgrading cars.  This mode seems
like it was thrown into the game at the last minute when the developers 
realized that racing games are expected to have these kinds of options 
nowadays.  The car customization options are as primitive as can be, 
basically amounting to pressing a button to move an attribute meter a little
bit to the right.
   Midway is the new publisher of all Psygnosis games in the US, and true to
form, Midway has given Destruction Derby Raw the well-known Midway standard 
of quality.  In other words, it's a generic, average game that you probably 
won't remember a few months from now.

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