This time around Atari has really changed the standard Test Drive formula to a new evolution of racing. Test Drive: Eve of Destruction will not feature any scenic city drives or simple race scenarios. Eve of Destruction, like its title is all about destruction, speed and no fear.

The Game
Test Drive: Eve of Destruction (TD: EOD) is based around the popular southern racing spectacle of demolition derby racing. Demolition derbies have been around since the 1950's and have got wilder as the years go on and it's all reflected in Atari's TD: EOD.

The actual demolition derby is a race where you put a whole whack of cars enclosed in an area, and the let them smash the hell out of each other. It's simple, basic and brutal and the one who is left with a running car is the winner. The craziest part of the demolition derby besides basically asking for a concussion is that most of the driving is done backwards. If you're not sure why, it's because the back end of vehicle can take more damage then the front end where the engine usually is. That's right demolition derby strategies! Who would have ever thought?

TD: EOD has included more racing modes then just the standard derby and interesting enough most of them are really practiced events. One of the most appealing races in Eve of Destruction is the 'Trailer Race' where you attach any type of trailer (boats, skids, wagons) to your vehicle with a steal chain and race around the track with your trailer flailing behind uncontrolled. Similar race to the 'Trailer Race' is the 'Chain Race'. The 'Chain Race' is the same as the trailer; just imagine it's another full sized car inplace of a trailer! This is one crazy manifestation and if you don't believe that they really race like this TD: EOD will show clips of real races through out the game.

Now that I have got myself pumped up about the game, it's going to be hard for me to pen the rest of this review! Test Drive: EOD is split up into two main parts. The first part being the arcade mode where you just go in race in one of the many events, creating your own eve, you can also visit the dare mode where you are asked to complete races or checkpoints in an amount of time, and lastly multiplayer mode.

The second part of TD: EOD is the career mode. In the career mode you play a low income chicken farmer who decides that there is more money in derby racing then breeding chickens. So in grandma's old beat up car it's off to the races to begin your new career. From your small town you will use its resources (mainly Sweeny's Salvage Yard) and start moving up the ranks in the derby eves to become the best in the biz! Besides the main races you can get your reputation raised by challenging other drivers at the malt shop, visiting Troy 's Place or even doing some road racing before you get to an event. The career mode is enjoyable, well rounded, and will keep you interested. There is always something to do, whether it's buying or selling cars, fixing them up and customizing them in the town's garage, TD: EOD offers more than anyone expected in a demolition derby style game.

Test Drive: Eve of Destruction is one the best Test Drive games to be released in a long, long while. I absolutely loved TD: Eve of Destruction and would recommend it to any derby fans. Test Drive: EOD has some great modes and should not be overlooked and is a breath of fresh air compared to the majority of car games being developed.

Graphics & Sound
TD: EOD does a modest job in the graphic and sound department. The technical graphic aspects are great including the frame rates, car models and handling. Where the graphics drop a notch is in the presentation of the game. A little more style and personality would have gone a long way considering the racing in the game is full of life. I could have used a little more variety in the type of cars and environments, they vehicle paintjobs are excellent, but I a little something more.

The sound in TD: EOD could have been better, as I said it's a modest job. The cars sound great, but a little to alike for my taste, more variation in engine tones would have been a bonus. The soundtrack is good with popular artists like Canada 's Sum41, and other rockers like Rob Zombie, but overall it's a little dry. A boost in the amount of licensed tracks would have been great along with some nice southern classic rock would of fit the atmosphere better. The greatest aspect of the sound in TD: EOD is the arena announcer who fits the profile perfectly, and made me laugh overtime he mentioned my characters name. "Its Wrong Way Wily"

Unexpectedly, 'Eve' is innovative when compared to all other car games in recent history. For a "Demolition Derby" game no other developer has dug into the world with this amount of passion, making this entry the top echelon on "derby" games. For specifics, the range of modes and creative races like 'Detention' is a nice twist and delightfully destructive event.... school's out! If driving around a school bus wasn't lunatic enough, the not so safe 'Gauntlet' racing event will test you to complete five laps in a hearse while a dozen or so drivers are out to smash you into oblivion! Overall the 20 plus events is TD: EOD is enough to satisfy most gamers, considering we're used to only a handful of modes in similar games from the past.

The career mode also innovates with a videogame first. Going from chicken farmer to racing champion! The small town idea is classic and reminded me a bit of Tony Hawk: Underground, where it's all about escaping the little town for bigger and better things. The southern feel is complete with not only the racing, but the surroundings and plot. Hey, if I was a chicken farmer I might decide to smash up cars for a living, if the price was right.

Test Drive: Eve of Destruction is gassed up with mojo! Atari is right up in your face with Eve of Destruction. There are so many great moments which are experienced while playing the game. Although you might have a few so-so races, when you have the good ones. All I have to say is "wow!"

Aside from the crazy races, there are so many cool aspects of TD: EOD that its really hard to pin down any negative vibes in the game. Customizing these cool road warriors is awesome, and although no real car names are used you get what some cars where drafted after. The Gremlin is back! The racing modes also keep the mojo flowing, with my personal favorites Suicide Race, Push Off and Trailer Race. I couldn't ask for much more in a demolition derby game that isn't offered up in TD: EOD. Excellent showing! The mojo is glowing.

It's been a while since a good Demolition Derby style game has come out, and I'm glad Atari decided to take this risk on the popular series. TD: Eve of Destruction is the best game of its type on the market, and it's a great alternative to the overpopulated street styled racing games.

Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | September 4th 2004

  • Experience unfettered no-rules competition based on real-life extreme racing events.
  • Unlock real Eve of Destruction video footage, inspiration for the game.
  • Rip through the "car-nage" in 25 insane events!
  • Wreak havoc in over 30 vehicles including cars, buses, hearses and ambulances!
  • Take on single races, a career and split-screen multiplayer races!
  • Jam out to metal-mangling music!

Test Drive: Eve of Destruction
Monster Games
Sept 2004