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About a year was necessary for British developer Reflections to come up with a sequel to last year's PlayStation hit, but the few improvements brought to the game justify the wait. Converted as well for the PC market, Destruction Derby 2 (DD2) follows the same concept as its predecessor for a violent car smashing game where the only goal is to damage your opponents' car as much as possible, while keeping your own vehicle in good shape.
If DD2's basics remained the same, this is not the case for the car physics model that has been changed to allow the car to be manipulated in three dimensions. Forgotten are the times when your car could only stay in a horizontal plane, because now it moves along the Z-axis as well. This not only means your car will flip, roll or turn upside down, but also jump in the air after passing over a bump for example. The resulting crashes are nothing but spectacular, with realistic effects such as friction sparks, smoke and fire. Also new to DD2 are the light effects that, to give you an example, add light haloes on the screen when you are facing sun.
The game offers one more racing option than the first Destruction Derby (DD), the Stock car, in which you must place yourself among the best and earn the most points by hitting other cars. Points will be awarded when you wreck another car, or spin another driver's car by 90, 180 or 360 degrees. If you finish the race in first position, points will be then doubled. Both Wrecking Racing and Stock Car races offer the possibility to repair car damages at the pitstop for five seconds of your time. To help you figure out the damages of your car, a car representation with six points that successively turn from green to orange, red, white and black, is displayed at the bottom right of the screen. As in the first game when cars become damaged it will be visible with traces such as body damage, blown out tires, hoods missing, etc.
The number of tracks in DD2 have increased, but more importantly, their length and characteristics have been revised. With new features such as hills, bumps, tunnels and bunked jumps, DD2 provide players with more challenging driving. At first, only four tracks will be available, and as you rank higher in the divisions of the championship, three new tracks will be unlocked. There are also four arenas filled with dips and bumps, in which the Destruction Derby takes place. Before the races, you can choose your car among three sorts (Rookie, Amateur and Pro), differentiated by their acceleration, top speed and grip performances.
Regarding graphics, DD2 doesn't bring much of a difference except for the lighting mentioned above, and a few additions such as spectators along the circuit. The PSX version is of course, far more beautiful than its PC counterpart, and even switching to the SVGA mode won't make a difference. It actually makes things worse, in that it renders the game virtually unplayable on anything less than a Pentium-166. Whether or not it is a consequence of the game being played under Windows 95 exclusively, we can only regret that the speed is not as fast as DD that was a DOS game.
The only advantage of the PC version versus the console one is the multiplayer capabilities. Indeed, the link option that was allowing two people to play together with two consoles no longer exists in DD2, forcing players to fight against CPU adversaries. On the PC, up to nine players can compete simultaneously through Direct Play, the multiplayer component of DirectX included with the game. Note that on the reviewable copy we received, it was version 2.0 of the Microsoft library that was included on the CD.
Note: There is an enhanced version of Destruction Derby 2 that fully supports the 3D accelerator cards on the PC. As for Tomb Raider or Hyperblade, the result is simply stunning, and literally turns your PC into an arcade-like machine.
Written by Frederick Claude
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