Scrap Metal Review
Scrap Metal box art
System: X360 (XBLA) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Slick Entertainment 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 10, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Also, some of the modes are a little gimmicky, particularly the ones that don't involve racing at all, but instead focus solely on destruction. These are a lot like Mario Kart's Battle Mode; they're fun for very young kids, and an adult will find them amusing for a few minutes, but in the end, they're just kind of silly. To make matters worse, you have to complete levels based on these ideas to progress in the single-player career mode.

Scrap Metal screenshot

Of course, old-school games are always the most fun with a few friends. You can play Scrap Metal with up to three other people locally, fighting each other in all the game modes that are available in single-player. This offers hours of shoot-'em-up racing action, though we found the online play a little less entertaining. It's handled well on a technical level, but there's such a thing as too many gamers with high-powered weapons on the same race track.

The presentation is far from great, but it's acceptable. The graphics are a nice update to the 8- and 16-bit visuals we're used to seeing in top-down racers, even if they're nowhere near cutting-edge, and the race tracks have a good variety of environments. There are seven towns to race in, each with a series of races leading up to a boss. You can customize your many cars in countless ways, from paint to decals to accessories. The cartoonish-looking boss avatars and cheesy written dialogue are off-putting, but they don't pop up enough to get in the way of the game too much. The audio provides exactly what it should: energetic rock music, loud engine noises, and no announcer. Yes, Rock N' Roll Racing had a great announcer in "Loudmouth Larry," but we can't think of another racer, top-down or otherwise, that's had one since.

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Finally, a quick note on a bonus feature: Scrap Metal has a 3-D display mode that's compatible with all TVs (and old-school cardboard glasses). While it makes everything "pop" a lot more, it's not exactly a game-changing experience. Nonetheless, we're glad that some developers are working with 3-D in ways that don't require 1080p resolution (as, for example, the Avatar game did).

Scrap Metal doesn't top Rock N' Roll Racing for pure fun, but it's really the only option top-down-racing fans really have these days. Neither Rock N' Roll Racing nor its well-known predecessor, R.C. Pro-Am, is available for download on any of the three current consoles. Taking that into account, Scrap Metal is a decent if slightly overpriced buy.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.7
Graphics
They sure beat the 8- and 16-bit graphics we're used to seeing in top-down racers, and the 3-D effects are nice, but a lot of XBLA games look better than this.
4.8
Control
Finally, a top-down racer without an antiquated steering system.
4.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Loud engines, rock music, no announcer. That's about all we need from this game.
2.8
Play Value
The genre's classics were more fun, and you have to play irritating "demolition derbies" to progress through the single-player mode. Also, it's overpriced. But, it's more fun than nothing, which is the alternative unless you still have a 16-bit console lying around.
3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Racing action: It's fast-paced, top-down racing action with beautiful HD graphics and fantastic racing physics.
  • Story mode: Take on all the cunning villains and defeat the tricky bosses.
  • Awesome, customizable vehicles: Drive everything from muscle cars to monster trucks to air boats and even tanks.
  • Multiplayer: Try split-screen or Xbox LIVE multiplayer modes.
  • 3-D support: Scrap Metal has full anaglyph 3-D support.


  • Screenshots / Images
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