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by Majesco

Totaled is the game that I wished I was playing when I was playing GT3. Don’t get me wrong, GT3 is a great game. Its attention to detail was astounding, and the options it afforded you seemed almost infinite. Nevertheless, GT3 just isn’t my kind of game. Whenever somebody passed me or cut me off, a virtual road rage would take over, and I would want for nothing more than to ram my car into my opponent again and again and again. I wanted to see the damage that I inflicted upon him. I wanted to see the fear in his eyes as I continued to pummel my car into his. Alas, the windows were tinted, and the cars were invulnerable. GT3 just wasn’t the game for me.

Totaled, on the other hand, is everything that I want it to be--an arena full of muscle cars hell-bent on mutual destruction. The controls are so simple to pick up that your friends will be giving you a good run for your money within a few minutes of grabbing the controller. Even the graphics are much more impressive than I expected them to be on a budget title like this. The cars look quite good at the beginning of the game, but after a few sideswipes and rams they look fantastic; that is to say, they look fantastically beat up. Hoods, doors and bumpers hang on for dear life as you work to remain the last car running.

For just under 30 bucks, Totaled’s real value lies in its multiplayer modes. Because the controls are so easy to pick up, this is a great game to play with friends in between televised Nascar races. The levels are quick and rather mindless, but I mean that in a good way. Unfortunately, the game is plagued by some PS2-like load times. Having given up my PS2, I had really gotten use to near instantaneous load times of my Gamecube and X-Box. The first time I played the game, I thought that there might be something wrong with my console--it took that long to boot up. So prepare to have some reading material handy for when you get this game up and running.

There are a ton of tracks and cars to choose from with quite a number of variations on the car hits car theme. There are a few modes of gameplay that add a little variety to things. But nothing strays that far from the basic premise of the game, which is to damage as many vehicles as possible. Gas, Brake, Reverse, and a little Nitro to make things more interesting. Nothing more.

My one real issue with Totaled is that it feels like a whole bunch of mini games wrapped up into one package. Although one can satisfy one’s appetite given enough appetizers, it just doesn’t feel right to neglect the main course. This should be a really popular party game, but for single player action, there just isn’t enough to keep one coming back for more.

Some people who are accustomed to the overwhelming vehicular choices of games like GT3, might find the selection here a little paltry. There’s no tweaking with the engine or tires to maximize performance. Totaled almost revels in its lack of customizability. This game is, at its heart, an arcade game. The learning curve is low, and the immediate satisfaction is high. The only problem with instant gratification is its ephemeral nature. It seems like the things that you enjoy with the least amount of effort or work never have the ability to sustain interest. The problem is that even though the game is everything that I wanted it to be, what I wanted just wasn’t enough. Even though I enjoyed the game thoroughly, I really can’t give it more than 3 stars. It accomplishes everything that it sets out to do; it’s just that it doesn’t set out to do very much.

Jason Frank   (10/04/2002)


Ups: Lots of crash-up-derby action; budget price; fun multiplayer modes.

Downs: Long load times; single player mode is scant.

Platform: Xbox