History of dangerous driving in videogames

Crazy Taxi - 1999

I know I’ve probably written thousands of words by now on why Crazy Taxi is so goddamn ace, but it is - and its scoring system is yet again a worthy reason for inclusion in such a feature as this. Every racer these days seems to reward you with driving as close to oncoming traffic as possible, but Crazy Taxi was the game that patented the idea.

Picking up a passenger in the middle of a bustling city and literally scaring tips out of them is a brilliant idea for a game. The fact that your score multiplier gets set to zero if you hit anything is the genius part. The taxi’s indestructible, sure. But what about your pride? Nah, didn’t think so, punk...

Copies of the game have been known to go for as little as £0.06 on eBay. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Above: Craziest thing of all? He’s driving a vicar to a church. Like that! That’s CRAZY.


Metropolis Street Racer - 2000

After the demise of Bizarre Creations, it’s sad to go back to Metropolis Street Racer. Oh, but what a game it is. As the predecessor to the Project Gotham Racing series, you’d expect the quality level to be high, but it’s the emphasis on driving on the ragged edge that really stands out.

Kudos points are earned through driving like a loon, without hitting anything like a skill-less twazzock. The longer you can hold a slide, or the more sideways you get the car through a bend, the more kudos you earn. But every racer does that these days. Metropolis still has a unique element up its belt.

The game encourages you to push yourself on every challenge. It’ll give you a set time to beat, or number of cars to pass in a certain time, sure. But what if you think you could do better? You can simply up the figures until the challenge is ridiculously hardcore. Crucially, you then only get one chance at doing it right. Fail, and you lose a truck-load of kudos. Ah, but win, and you’ll walk away a winner.

Above: Sliiiiide! Looks great, feels great... pays great too if you can manage to avoid hitting the wall

Add to this a limited number of ‘joker’ cards that you can play to double up on any of the kudos you win (or lose) and you’ve got yourself a brand new gambling addiction. Hooray!

Interestingly, early screens of the game show buses and other cars on the road - something that was taken out long before the game hit store shelves (as was the replay mode - boo!). We’ll never know how much that would’ve changed the game - or the entire Project Gotham series, for that matter, but it’s probably safest that we’ll never know. After all, we soon had...


Burnout 2 - 2002

Burnout 2 was a landmark for racing games. It pushed the sensation of speed in driving games to such extremes, people's brains gave up trying to process the overload of visual stimulation, instead opting to convey one simple message: "wow". It also encouraged you to ‘takedown’ your opponents by gently coaxing their cars into the path of oncoming traffic, which is awesome every single time it happens.

These days, the game actively encourages you not only to drive as fast as you can around busy streets, but rewards you with extra speed if you do stupid things. For instance, driving along in the oncoming side of the road, while the civvy cars leave scared little oil slicks in their wakes. There’s even a crash mode, where you get judged on how many cars you can get involved in an accident by driving full-pelt into a busy junction. Madness.

Best of all, the tracks are designed so that you only ever have to use the brake to get the back end of the car to step out around long turns. There’s no such thing as ‘slowing down for a tight corner’. Slowing down is for wusses. Just hold tight, and scream if you wanna go faster...

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  • JBizFoShiz - February 23, 2011 10:37 a.m.

    Thank you for including MSR on your list. Few people know of its existence (it was a Dreamcast game, after all), but I wasted countless hours perfecting slides and getting as much kudos as I could. If I remember right, my favorite car was the Toyota Celica - its small-size and nice horsepower led to some exciting races with LOTS of kudos-earning slides. However, no love for Demolition Racer? Sure, I know Carmageddon, Death Race and the like did it better (arguably), but this was the first game in my personal gaming history that allowed me to KILL a driver by landing my car on top of his car. This kill was named "Death from Above", and was the hardest kill to get in any race. The purpose of the game was not to only cross the finish line, but also kill everybody else so you were the only one to cross PERIOD. I personally miss causing a car to spin out and hitting it perfectly perpendicular, causing the driver to die and earning me the "T-Boned" kill. I can't be the only one who remembers this game! I'm not even a driving game fan. reCaptcha: Hunewse Journal "Who news journal?"
  • requiemforaseam - February 23, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    Burnout 3...ahhhhh the nostalgia. Also, FIRST!!!
  • Landshark - February 23, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    I think a possible cool premise for a car racing game would be a co-op versus game in which each car hold 2-4 people, each doing a certain task. Someone is the driver, another does repairs through nifty little retro 8-bit games, someone is co-pilot controlling what radio station/CD is on which give different stat boosts depending on the station/cd and firing a light weapon, and then the main gunner just letting their enemies eat lead. They then either try to kill other teams, capture the flag, kill the most zombies, or whatever. Yeah, it might suck due to lack of cooperation or it's just a bad idea. But this seemed like as good a place as any to talk about it.
  • Landshark - February 23, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    ^Can we report when people claim to be first but aren't?
  • b1on1cman - February 23, 2011 11 a.m.

    Carmageddon was first released in 1997 and not in 1993, as computers weren't strong enough to run this game in 1993. It also had 3Dfx support which came out around 1996 if i'm not mistaken. As for the other platforms, such as Playstation and N64, it was released even later in the decade (1999 and 2000).
  • NeelEvil - February 23, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    @Landshark- I usually do, especially if it's a one sentence statement with barely anything to do with the article just so they can claim first. No love for Postman Prat on the Spectrum? Those were the days, running over cats & old ladies. Never seemed to actually deliver any post though.
  • Goug - February 23, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    I remember playing Road Rash, there's no way it was that ugly! In my memories, it was looking way better than that. I wouldn't mind a new Carmageddon, the driving and damages were really good, in the 2nd one. TDR 2000 was not bad, rather nice looking with nice handling, but more depressing than funny to play.
  • Montag - February 23, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    I urge everybody to try Deathchase even now. Totally awesome game when first released, still a challenge... go Speccie
  • Montag - February 23, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    Oh and did you know the original driver only had right angled corners, no curves?
  • Robx - February 23, 2011 12:27 p.m.

    We could be very good friends, Justin, oh yes...
  • yonderTheGreat - February 23, 2011 12:40 p.m.

    STUNNING CUNT BONUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (for those not in the know, that's what the "cunning stunt bonus" in Carmageddon was referred to as... I'm assuming I won't get put in a time-out for that?)
  • willheuer - February 23, 2011 12:59 p.m.

    Im a little surprised Bump 'n Jump was left out, i realize its for the Intelivision but its like the first Burnout.
  • BeerBaron - February 23, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    Would love to see a remake of the old C64 Racing Destruction Set.
  • YuGiOhisbetterthanMagic - February 23, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    I loved rouge squadron. even the on foot parts were epic. I really with they would make another one.
  • Japanaman - February 23, 2011 3:27 p.m.

    Seriously? You guys TOTALLY FAIL to mention Twisted Metal, Super Runabout (AKA Felony 11-79), Auto Destruct, Full Auto, Saints Row, GTA, Mario Kart, Crash Nitro Kart, Speed Punks, Mod Nation Racers, Street Racers, Hard Drivin', Race Drivin', Chase HQ, Spy Hunter, Bump N Jump, Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer, Motorcross Mania, Dirt, Fuel, Rush 2049, Outrun, Roadblasters, Star Wars Racing (or whatever it was called), Narc (the Arcade game), Mach Rider, MechWarrior/Assault, and every vehicle based military game ever made.
  • Japanaman - February 23, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    Of course, I totally failed to mention Vigilante 8 and Rogue Trip.
  • Sy87 - February 23, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    They do need to make a new Carmageddon. Whats funner than running people over? Can you blame me for wanting to destroy stuff most of the drivers to day are annoying. They either want to drive too fast or go to slow under the limit. Or they rush for a queque stop in front of you that they could have just taken behind you it saves them like no time. Anyway car destroying game is needed. Something cool like driver mix with twisted metal and gta(without the whole criminal activity stuff and all just road rage relief).
  • gazdog9 - February 23, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    Ha ! I'd almost forgotten Deathchase on my old 16K Spectrum. That's right kids , back in the old days this was considered cutting edge . I remember that game giving me a blinding headache. The colours man, so many colours
  • BurntToShreds - February 23, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    What does .06 pounds mean? Do you guys still use pences?
  • bass88 - February 23, 2011 6:12 p.m.

    Twisted Metal? Dangerous driving was encouraged. Even the manual told you not to feel discouraged when running down pedestrians. Nice list however.

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