In the days of the original PlayStation, I was a huge Twisted Metal fan. Years later, some friends got me into the destruction-fest that was the Burnout series. So when I saw Crashday: Redline Edition show up on Steam (a game that seemed to mix the two most appealing aspects of those games) I was ready to download it immediately.
To my surprise, Crashday: Redline Edition is a re-release with a few reworks and additions. The original Crashday released in 2006. I had not heard of the series until now. While veterans of the game may have a different opinion, I came to it knowing only what I saw in the trailer.
There were several game modes I was expecting. In standard races you race other cars through checkpoints across a variety of tracks. Wrecking Match is a destruction-like derby mode that has you trying to destroy each other with high-speed rams, mini guns and missiles. Stunt Show has you going off jumps and loop de loops while trying to get the best air time or perform the wildest stunts. As I played, I found several game modes I didn’t expect.
Hold the Flag
Everyone races to reach a giant smiley face. Whoever touches it first gets control of it and it hangs above the roof of their car for all to see. The person with it has to outwit and outrun the other opponents and get the flag through a checkpoint located somewhere on the map. If another car touches the car with the flag, it transfers to the new car. Whoever gets the flag through the set number of checkpoints first wins. Since these usually take place in arena maps, there’s a lot of backtracking while offering enough room to try and avoid other vehicles if you have the flag.
In this modified race, every car as a bomb strapped to the roof. If they drop below a minimum speed, the bomb explodes and they’re out of the race. It doesn’t end there. For every checkpoint you go through, the minimum speed increases. As you go, spinning out or cautiously taking a turn becomes increasingly likely to cost you the race.
Pass the Bomb
In an arena map, someone starts with a bomb on their car. The bomb has a timer and explodes when it reaches zero. Every time someone makes contact with the car holding the bomb, it transfers to him or her. If the bomb is on your car when it explodes, you get zero points. Surviving the round grants you get one point. If you had the bomb last before it exploded, you get three points. It creates a high risk, high reward game that puts your driving and avoiding skills to the test.
Knock Out Race
In this race mode, every car has a bomb on the roof. The twist is that after every lap, whoever came in last for that lap explodes. So each lap, you pass another corpse of a car as you have one less competitor. The only way to win is to not ever be last in a lap and to come in first on the final lap. Unfortunately, from what I could tell this mode is only available in Career Mode.
Career mode offers a nice variety of game types to help get a feel for the game. There’s a story throughout career mode. I appreciated the effort they made in trying to connect the events. However, it never felt like a true story. It offered simple set ups explaining why this event was in an empty stadium or a shipping yard. However, there were no interesting characters or an engaging conflict to follow. It was a series of events and explanations that were understandable at best and disjointed with the connected game mode at worst.
As I progressed, I quickly found myself outclassed by the AI’s cars. I started buying new cars and upgrades with the cash I won from each event. Unfortunately, you need a certain amount of reputation points in addition to the cash. That means you can’t save your money for the right car; you just have to get what you can buy at that moment. Fortunately though, the game gave me a good amount of money, so buying new cars and upgrades was never a problem. Assuming I was smart and didn’t blow it all right away. Furthermore, upgrades don’t transfer between cars. So if you buy missiles for one ride, you won’t find it on any other. The same is true with armor and other kit upgrades.
After stalling out in career mode, I jumped into some online games. There were usually between 3 and 5 lobbies of games available. Over half of them were always in a game, which means I usually had to wait to join. To top it off, my choices were extremely limited. The few games I played had solid connections, but that’s the best thing I can say about them. I didn’t experience any more fun or charm playing with other people rather than it did with the AI.
Crashday: Redline Edition offers three main modes: racing, stunts, and destruction. There are variations for each of those, but every game mode fits into one of those three categories.
Racing seemed the most fleshed out. The size and variety of the tracks made for some interesting races. While hazards like trees and signs could cause problems, the uneven terrain proved to be my greatest adversary. At high speeds, those little bumps in the dirt could send me flying into a wall or way off course. To be honest, I loved that feature. Those small details made a race more exciting.
While the races were my favorite out of the three modes, they quickly stopped being fun. The races didn’t have the high-speed reckless fun of a Burnout game. In games like Mario Kart, there were ways to come back from a bad crash or a serious of small mistakes. In Crashday, unless the person in the lead messes up as badly as you did, you’ll never catch up. Since there are only two weapons, both with limited range, they won’t help you either. Likewise, if you pull far enough ahead, you’re set for the rest of the race. If that’s the kind of racing game you want, you may get more enjoyment out of it than I did. Personally, I think a close race is far more enjoyable than a one-sided one.
The stunt modes were consistently underwhelming. Pulling off a huge jump lost its flash and fun after a few games. I couldn’t find anything specifically wrong with it. But at the same time, I couldn’t find anything enticing about it either.
The wrecking modes were a complete disappointment. Whether it was a free-for-all in an arena or a race where everyone was packing heat, it never managed to excite me. In games like Twisted Metal, there is a variety of weapons with differing levels of range, power, speed, and other qualities. Crashday has 2 weapons: a mini gun and a missile. The mini gun is weak but can shoot continuously. The missiles only fire one at a time with a delay between them. They do more damage, but they’re slow and difficult to aim. They attempt to home onto the target, but they usually fail to do so. Both weapons also have a very limited range, making ramming the most enjoyable and consistent way to deal damage.
No matter what mode I played, the novelty of it quickly wore off. After a few hours, I wasn’t looking forward to buying a new car, upgrading it, trying a new match, playing online, or anything else the game threw at me. Crashday: Redline Edition tries to combine elements of Twisted Metal, Burnout, and an indie racing game into one. However, none of them have enough gas to make the fun last more than a few hours.
Crashday has an established fan base that may get more out of it than a newcomer like me did. Unless you’re looking for a shot of nostalgia or a basic racing game with a twist, there isn’t anything to really recommend. And for $11.99, there are much better games to spend your time and money on.