Vigilante 8 Arcade

Classic car combat, but the wild physics and steep price can put a quick end to the fun.

By bluezy, Posted 22 Aug 2010

In 1998, Luxoflux and Activision created Vigilante 8, a car-combat game in a time when Twisted Metal was the king of the genre. I was never too big on Twisted Metal, but Vigilante was where it was at. Many nights were spent totaling my brother's cars, and to this day the two of us still quote various lines from that game. So to mark the tenth year since the series was established, Activision brought it back for Xbox Live Arcade.

As someone who played the classic games, I have very fond nostalgic memories of the Vigilante 8 series. So when I fired up the downloadable remake, I was surprised to find the game still played very much the same, which is both good and bad.

The story is practically the same as the old games, there's an oil crisis in the 1970s and a group of oil companies look to monopolize the trade. They hire a terrorist, who runs with a group called the Coyotes, to destroy stuff the US government finds important, including oil refineries and other facilities. A group of civilians called the Vigilantes, led by a trucker, take matters into their own hands. However, you won't pay much attention to the story, as all you'll really want to do is get to the shootin'.

Vigilante 8 Arcade Review

Right from the start, the game, now done up in a cel-shaded '70s theme, reminds me of the classic game I used to play. The theme music sounds familiar, it's a remix of the Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense theme. It's clear the developers wanted to keep the feeling for fans of the decade-old franchise.

The single player quest mode consists of three levels per car. Each level has a couple enemy cars and is at a different location each time, with the only objective being complete destruction of your opponents. Once the third level as been completed, it's time to face off against a "boss character," with the promise of a car unlock upon your success. The only thing that really distinguishes between difficulty levels is the name, as easy, medium and hard are all fairly simple. The multiplayer offerings are traditional co-op and deathmatch, and while it includes online multiplayer, you're probably going to be hard-pressed to find many people still playing this two years after release.

It's safe to say it kept the feel of the old games, right down to the wonky physics. It's part of the charm and the ridiculous nature of the game, but it can sometimes get very irritating when you drive into a large rock and end up spinning and rolling. It's something that was fairly present in the older games but should've been toned down in a major way for this game. If you drive off a ramp you can basically put your controller down, because your car won't be right-side-up for a couple seconds.

Vigilante 8 Arcade Review

And while there are a number of returning cars familiar to the series that are out to get you, it sometimes feels like the environment is out to get you as well. All too often I found myself bouncing off walls and explosive pipes, sending my car flying back and killing any momentum I had had. Occasionally I even saw through the ground, which is unfortunate to see.

Possibly the most fun I had playing this game was collecting. In each level there are 20 "alien artifacts" hidden in the environment, from buildings to street signs. Luckily there's a free roam mode to allow you to search for them at any speed you wish. The other collectible in the game is salvage, the upgrade currency that spouts from defeated enemies. In the form of hardware nuts, each car usually shoots out 6-10 nuts for you to collect.

While the game is a lot of fun for veteran V8 fans, the nostalgia bone is the only one that will really be tickled with this release. (Note: the giant ant in the meteor crater level did not return.) Gamers new to the franchise may be put off by the price of 800 Microsoft points, which nets you only a handful of cars and arenas. There's downloadable content available which adds more tracks and the like, but it's a tough sell for anyone who hadn't enjoyed the original 10 years ago.

Ian Mailloux, NoobFeed

comments powered by Disqus

  • Nice review, sorry the game wasn't better.

    Posted Aug 22, 2010

  • Actually sounds true to the original, which I was fearing for, seeing the ridiculous new graphics. If I had an Xbox, I'd certainly buy it.

    You're dead on about this being better than Twisted Metal. I enjoyed TM, but I absolutely, friggin' loved Vigilante 8. Shame about the score, but I'm sure you're correct about it.

    Posted Aug 22, 2010

  • I'm never attracted to games like this. Looks like the socre didn't come good too.

    Posted Aug 23, 2010


General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360
Publisher(s): Activision
Developer(s): Isopod Labs
Genres: Vehicular Combat
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2008-11-05

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