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(hx) 02:49 AM CEST - Jul,06 2004

Developed by Supersonic, Mashed is a multiplayer based top down racing game that pits up to four players against each other in a gladiatorial racing battle. The game subscribes to a very similar concept to that seen in Micro Machines. In most races, you must must battle your way to the front of the pack in any way you can, with the ultimate goal to be a screen's length ahead. When you reach this point, the game stops, you're awarded a point and then dropped back onto the track to give it another go. This battle continues until either yourself or your opponent has picked up the required amount of points to win the match.

Mashed takes place over 13 tracks (including training ovals, sandy deserts in Egypt, icy mountains and twisting forests), each level has a different vehicle whose handling is slightly different to the others but not impossible to master. Each track consists of three challenges; Bronze, Silver and Gold and each of them are progressively harder than the previous challenge. The tracks are detailed and well designed - the layout of the tracks are easy enough to remember after a few goes.

There's a plethora of power-ups, ranging from homing missiles, mortars, shotguns, landmines (which can be pretty tricky when you drop one only to drive straight into it during the following lap), oil slicks, and miniguns. They are not too overpowered and make the game more juicy. Besides, each track has various obstacles that can be crashed into or pushed on or off the track such as stone pillars and crash barriers. The controls are very simple and they operate on a standard rotational control scheme. Basically, there's one trigger to accelerate, one for braking and a button to deploy your weapon.

In single player, there are various game modes on each level - Challenge Cup, Quick Race and Time Trial. You must finish the Challenge Cup mode to unlock tracks, game modes and power-ups. In multiplayer the game is pretty entertaining and quite addictive. There are some more additional modes in the multiplayer - Battle Game, Hold The Flag a Fugitive (you team up on an opponent who has to escape from you, only the fugitive can score points...) The four-way multiplayer mode is where the game shines the most - if you can get the opportunity to try this, you most certainly should.

While the gameplay is pretty good, other aspects of Mashed are less inspiring. The graphics are clean and sharp, but totally lack the "wow" factor of cutting-edge competitors. The game's sound is as mediocre as its graphics. There's some occasional explosion, car revving and so-called "insults" the drivers can throw at each other during the races.

Another thing keeping it from earning a higher score is the fact that there is no multiplayer through LAN or Internet. Unfortunately, the multiplayer (up to 4 players) is offered only on the same PC and each player must have his own controller (four players = keyboard + 3 external controllers/pads). That mean you can't really access multiplayer without a second controller, leaving you to only take on the single player.

Overall, Mashed is a racing game in the old school sense, it reminds me of simpler times when games were addictively simple. This is arcade racing at its most basic and it's fun like it should be. If you liked old-good Micro Machines, than you are going to love this game too. If you've got a console, you'd be better off getting one of those versions over the PC.

Related links: homepage, movie trailer (WMV ~ 1.58MB)

System requirements:
Minimum: CPU 1 GHz Pentium 3 or AMD, 128MB RAM (256MB for Win2k/XP), graphic card with 32MB RAM, keyboard
Recommended: CPU 2 GHz Pentium 4 or AMD, 512MB RAM, DirectX 9 compatible graphic card with 128MB RAM, 4x USB gamepad.

snd: 3/5 - good
gfx: 3/5 - acceptable, clean and sharp, levels are detailed and very well put together, cars lack great detail, some camera issues
playability: 4/5 - pretty good, four-way multiplayer mode rocks, brutal AI, no multiplayer through LAN/Internet (only fours players on the same PC + requires a pads), no support for Steering Wheels
genre: arcade racing
platform: PC (also available on PS2, Xbox)
release: June 2004
developer: Superonic
the game is similar to: Micro Machines
publisher: Empire Interactive
Overall: 70%

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