THE NEXT LEVEL
"Hummer: Badlands," a GlobalStar racing game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, should have shortened the title just a little to "Hummer: Bad."
The repetitive graphics, annoying announcer, generic rock soundtrack and simplistic gameplay all make this budget title into a wreck.
The game supports both single and multiplayer gaming.
The single-player game features two off-road challenges: Granny Gear, a timed challenge where the obstacles become increasingly difficult and Pike's Peak, a climb against the clock.
There's also a "beat the clock," "time trial" and "quick race" mode in single player, as well as "championship," which is the main portion of the game.
"Championship" features five different locations with five races each. Unfortunately, the graphic similarities keep this from feeling like 25 different experiences. The gamer's Hummer will race against three others in each race.
The game's artificial intelligence is set to avoid blowouts, so it will keep the three opponents right on the gamer's tail regardless of maneuvers. As the gamer wins races, he can unlock new options for the Hummer; however, the control doesn't allow for many differences despite model or upgrades.
The multiplayer game features quick race, in which two gamers can race any unlocked track; pursuit race, in which the gamers begin at opposite ends of the track; and tug-o-war, in which the gamer tries to drag his opponent toward him.
While playing "Hummer: Badlands" is better for the environment than racing an actual Hummer, there's not much else to recommend it. The game is rated E for everyone.
Matthew Price: firstname.lastname@example.org