Car Combat
November 5, 2008

After nine years of waiting, Isopod Labs and Activision have come to bring us a fully-loaded remake of the original “Vigilante 8” with online functions.

For those new to the series: an important note to mention is that Vigilante 8: Arcade is not the‚  eighth incarnation of the series. The number “8” in the title refers to the number of drivers in the game. There four good guys called “Vigilantes” and four bad guys called “Coyotes,” with one addition character to add to the mix. The numbers do not add up, but this game is about vehicle carnage, not math, so I think we will be alright.

As the name suggests, Vigilante 8: Arcade is exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade.

There is a story somewhere in this game but it is of little importance since your primary objective is to destroy any vehicle that is not you, unless you are playing co-op. The game is influenced heavily on “That 70s Show” motif, so expect modified vehicles with heavy weaponry from that era and the occasional thick mustache.

Vigilante 8: Arcade is not going to be pushing your Xbox 360 graphics to its limits. Everything does look clean but you can clearly tell apart every object in the scene like props in elementary school play. There are five newly designed environments, each with a lot of open plain areas to drive about in and there is plenty to destroy in these arenas but most of your time will spent driving around restocking your weapon inventory and finding your foes.

There are assortments of weapons to pick up for your vehicle turning it from useless peashooter to death incarnate on wheels. The game will automatically aim any forward weapons for you as long as your target is in front of you, back weapons will be dropped and mortars will attack the nearest enemy. You will be constantly acquiring and shifting between three additional weapons such as cannons, missiles and rockets to blow away your enemies. Your generic machine gun is mapped to the “A” button with the remaining three buttons activating whichever three weapons you pick up.

A great weapon feature that is new to me is that you can hold down any of the additional weapon buttons to charge it to three levels changing it feature to a more devastating blow. A great example is the cannon. With one quick button press, one single cannon shot will fire but if you charge it to level three, it becomes a buckshot causing serious damage to anyone in immediate range of you. You just have to be careful not to overcharge the shot otherwise it will not work as planned. This additional weapon use adds more strategy to combat by making you choose whether you want to go gun crazy or hoard your weapons so you can charge for a more powerful strike.

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