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PAX 2009 Impressions: Scrap Metal

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Slick Entertainment showed up at PAX. Literally. The entire studio is two men, Nick Waanders and Kees Rynen, perhaps best known for their work on the Xbox Live Arcade title N+. This year at PAX, Slick Entertainment had their newest title, Scrap Metal, on display, and fans of old-school games like Super Off-Road and Rock 'n' Roll Racing (like I am) will love what this game's all about.

Scrap Metal is old-school racing split into two parts: an arena-style demolition derby mode and a racing mode. The game's look is very dark and dreary, almost post-apocalyptic, in a sense. Even with its point of view above the action, Scrap Metal looks very well detailed, from the smallest details on the paint job to the flames emerging from your car's hood as it takes a beating.

Demolition derby mode in Scrap Metal has players in a vehicle (in my case, the monster truck), trying to smash into other vehicles and take them out. Destroying a certain number of rivals within a set timeframe is needed to successfully complete a level — in my case, 10 rivals in 3 minutes. From the word "go," demolition derby mode and the circular arena are chaotic as cars fire their weapons at each other, slam each other around and try to reach the scattered med packs that pop up every once in a while. It's fast and its very fun, something that would be even more fun with online multiplayer. I'm not yet sure if this mode will have it, but I'd be shocked beyond all reason if this Xbox Live Arcade title didn't include multiplayer support.

The next part of the game saw me hop into the race mode behind the wheel of the muscle car. It's short on tracks (there's only 8 in the game) but Super Off-Road didn't have many more tracks and it was a great game. However, making up for the shortness on tracks are a deep field of many different cars that you will be able to pick from.

The track I raced on had definite shades of Super Off-Road, from the nitro power-ups in the middle of the track to the jumps from one part of the course to the other. Playing as the muscle car, I got a feel for how the game plays. Cars are damaged as they progress around the track, mostly because each car has a weapon that it can use to slow down and/or take out rival racers. Slick Entertainment mentioned that each car unlocked in the game will have different attributes; for example, the muscle car was fast, but had very slippery handling. Upgrades will be made available as you progress through the game so you can adjust the performance of your machine, though I didn't get to see those in the demo.

I've long been hoping for a Xbox Live Arcade port of Super Off-Road, and Scrap Metal is pretty close to it. Scrap Metal is set for a release on Xbox Live Arcade some time early next year, so keep an eye out for it!

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