reviews\ Aug 15, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Butt-Ugly Martians: Zoom or Doom - PS2 - Review

There are racing games that look good and challenge. There are racing games that don’t look that good, but are in incredible challenge. There are games that look good but don’t challenge.

Butt-Ugly Martians: Zoom or Doom, a PlayStation2 release from Crave Entertainment, Vivendi Universal, and Runecraft Productions falls into the latter category. This is a very simplistic game that does not feature a great deal of options, and challenges players to race about a track that has bumper walls - which will slow you down, but you won’t be allowed to leave the track.

The only real challenge to this game is in beating the competition or time set. While that is true of all racing games, something is amiss in Butt-Ugly Martians. This game lacks excitement. There is no hard-driving pulse-pounding music to spur you on to greatness, and the whole game - while is looks very nice - lacks a sense of urgency or excitement.

The controls are simplistic, the music is repetitive and the tracks, strewn with power-ups and obstacles to slow you down, are pleasant to look at. That may be the one word that describes this game - pleasant. Not spectacular, exciting, amazing, eye-popping or any adjective needed to describe a racing game. But pleasant in a very laid-back way.

The viewpoint is third-person, but you can take quick looks behind you. Game modes include single player, assist, multiplayer as well as a look at lap records. In the single player there are six sub-games: Conqueror’s Cup, Practice Mode, Quick Race, Time Attack, Speed Challenge and Battle Challenge. The game features five tracks.

The game is as simple as pushing the X button and steering. Some tracks offer choices in direction which must be made on the fly, but one you have figured out the shortest direction, you are set for the rest of the life of the game. You can position yourself to bump your opponent onto the longer bit of track, thus giving yourself a bit of an advantage.

The game also features five tracks that are all bright, colorful and three dimensional.

Butt-Ugly Martians lacks excitement. It is a simple game in which the only thing that stands out are the graphical elements. This is not a bad title, and might be appropriate for younger players who just want to lean on the thumbstick and go. For experience race fans, or those who want challenge - pass on this title.

Gameplay: 6
This version received had long load times for gameplay that was redundant.

Graphics: 6.5
The graphics look nice and the animation is not that bad. But this is a game that features players racing in a tube. The environments look very good, but the racing physics leave a lot to be desired. This is an arcade simulator.

Sound: 5.5
The music is pleasant but can get stale. It does little to add to the excitement of racing.

Difficulty: Easy
Press the X button to go, use the thumbstick to control - it is that easy. There are three difficulty levels as well. There is little difference in gameplay between easy and hard save that the vehicle is a little tougher to control.

Concept: 5
There is not much here that qualifies as either zoom or doom. This is a very simplistic game.

Multiplayer: 6
Head-to-head is marginally more fun than single-player mode.

Overall: 5.8
Graphically the game looks good, but there are much better racing games on the market. This is a rent game, or just pass completely.


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