DEVELOPER: Specular Interactive
PUBLISHER: Raw Thrills
RELEASE: September 2011
PLAYERS: 1-8 (linked)
HARDWARE: Custom PC based
ARCADE EXCLUSIVE?: Yes
RATING: Green – Suitable For All Ages
SYNOPSIS: From the Specular Interactive Page about the game:
It’s time to get dirty!
Dirty Drivin’ is a high energy combat racing game that combines classic arcade ingredients. We’ve got insane custom
vehicles, devastating and devious weapons, epic environments sprinkled liberally with power-ups and a reckless
disregard for the rules of the road. All of which boils down to a deliciously sweet ride
REVIEW: By Adam “Arcadehero” Pratt”
I created an extensive preview of the game after I had the opportunity to visit Specular Interactive in Southern California not long before the game was released. Some changes were made to the final version but for the most part it is all the same. Read it here.
After the development of H2Overdrive for arcades, the development studio Specular Interactive set out on their next project, a driving game that at first was supposed to be H2Overdrive with wheels but evolved into something a little different changing the focus to vehicular combat. Players race down one of fifteen different tracks and have to “drive dirty” to get ahead, smashing into their opponents or blasting them with power-ups picked up along the way. A hall-effect dashboard crank device is located on the right-hand side of the driver’s seat that the player pulls to activate a collected item. It is also used to spin a bonus wheel at the end of each level. There are 12 monster trucks to choose from and 14 tracks to race on.
When the game starts you can create a profile to save progress on the machine. You select one of the tracks and then move onto selecting your vehicle of choice. After that you can modify it (I guess I should use the more current “trick it out” term) to your liking from the available options. As you progress in the game you earn money to spend in the Gearbox so you can unlock more content. Like with H2Overdrive, there are different ranks to aim for., given out at the end of each round. The game also possesses achievements as an incentive for repeat play.
Some of the tracks use the Crusin’ USA kind of idea where you don’t race in a closed circuit, you just go from one point to another with plenty of twists and turns in between. There are three tracks which are closed circuits however, where you have to lap it three times to reach the finish. There are a number of secret paths to take on each track and as another incentive for repeat play, secret power-ups.If you race in single player, one CPU truck will be your “rival” that will make a point to pick on you through the race. I found the AI to be well-balanced, never coming across a situation where it was patently ridiculous that the computer won when I was on the top of my game.
Normal power-ups are placed gratuitously around the track giving players ample opportunity to pick something up to give themselves an advantage. What you can pick up is determined by the “Jerk-O-Meter”, a gauge that measures how aggressive you are racing. The best way to get this up is by smashing players to drive next to. A icon will appear on the screen when that happens and if you quickly shift the steering wheel in their direction you will smash them up without changing direction on the track. With a little practice you can even smash an opponent multiple times which is a lot of fun and it changes the dynamic of a standard racing game. It solidifies something I pulled off once racing a friend on San Francisco Rush 2049 by accident when we both were aiming for a narrow pass right at the beginning of a race and I timed it just right to send him flying into a wall, exploding in a fireball of hilarious glory (for me, not him so much but his reaction after having trash talked a little bit right before that was delicious). That wasn’t the main point of Rush but it was awesome and Dirty Drivin’ opens up for many more moments like that since its an essential part of the game. Sure you could race through the game without doing any of that but doing so misses the point and the fun.
I could detail the weapons in text or you watch this video put together that just shows the weapons in action. I particularly like the land mines which shoot out in front of your where you can see, you can sort of kick them along like soccer balls into your opponents.