The Xbox Live Arcade always receives an influx of
heavily promoted titles at least once a year to instill awareness about
Microsoft’s much-appreciated Xbox Live service. In 2008, the Summer of Arcade
debuted with Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, Castle Crashers, Braid and many
others. In 2009, Microsoft brought back the same program with Marvel vs. Capcom
2, Trials HD, Shadow Complex and a few other titles. Now, in 2010, they have a
similar program that kick-started last week with Toy Soldiers and, for this
week, Scrap Metal, a top-down racer that is a mixture of RC Pro-Am and Twisted
Created by Slick Entertainment, Scrap Metal is a
feisty racing title of sorts that offers a wide variety of options and race
types. Race types include: Elimination Races, Last Man Standing derbies,
Paparazzi (keep away from a particular vehicle and spotlight), Time Trial,
guarding specific vehicles, straight-up races and much more. In general, there
are enough modes to keep the player interested from beginning till the end –
though, not a single one stands out above the rest.
Mr. Awesome is easy to overcome
The single-player campaign is the heart and soul
of the offline experience. Allowing players to upgrade a maximum of four
vehicles at one time from their garage, Scrap Metal has a large amount of replay
value offline to keep players coming back for second and third helpings. If
players are unsatisfied with a particular car, they can enter the junkyard to
find enemy cars that they “scrapped” in any of the missions.
The cars found in Scrap Metal range from strange
to exotic including the following: extreme hotrods, offroad buggies, bulldozers,
drag racers, semi-trucks, monster trucks, cruisers, muscle cars, hover cars,
import tuners, and even the van that was down by the river. Each car is broken
down into classes and rated on speed, grip, and armor. Players are able to
upgrade each car by earning currency, which can also be used to buy nitrous
oxide for a quick speed boost on the track. If that isn’t enough to attract
racing fans, then perhaps the ability to select from six paint colors, an
assortment of decals (flames, racing stripes, etc.), and adding accessories will
entice them. The accessories range from turning their semi-truck into a garbage
truck or even their bulldozer into an excavator.
There’s a good assortment of tracks to play on
The campaign itself is at least six hours of the
player’s time with eight towns to race through and defeat individual bosses with
“rad” names such as Jane JunkTrunk, Semi Slapshot, Mr. Awesome, and Alex
Alternator. Each town has five to nine individual missions/races that need to be
completed along with allowing players to play through again for a better
score/time to earn gold, silver and bronze medals. If not for the single-player,
there’s the multiplayer as an option that allows players to play through the
race, derby and king-of-the-hill race types through all the maps online, though
the cars available are limited to three to five per track.
While racing around the track, players are able
to use stock weapons. Weapons provided include a wide variety of grenade
launchers, shotguns, machine guns, chain guns, chainsaws, flamethrowers, and
even a pulverizer (think of a farming tractor’s combine). In addition, players
are able to pick up special weapons such as mines, oil, a thumper and a missile
alongside receiving speed boosts, shields and nitrous on the track.
Lastly, for Xbox Live Arcade players who are now
searching for every title that includes Xbox Live Avatar Awards, Scrap Metal
puts forth two in the form of a skull t-shirt and an RC car their avatar can
drive. This feature, along with the support of 3D anaglyph support, drives home
Scrap Metal to the hardcore gaming audience it is trying to reach out to.
The controls are somewhat tricky in the start, but once they are mastered, it’s
a downhill thrill ride.
Every map has a unique and distinct feel to it.
Nothing extraordinary here; basic sound effects and soundtrack.
Not many developers and publishers are experimenting with the genre.
For the majority, it’s an entertaining romp that fills a dire need for a genre
that is fairly ignored.
There’s not much else out on the Xbox Live Arcade like Scrap Metal, so it’s
definitely an unique experience.