History of dangerous driving in videogames

FlatOut - 2004

You would be right to point out that there were minigames that saw you trying to throw your driver the farthest, and while they were admittedly fun, I still believe seeing it happen during the race itself was more awesome.

The way the limp body’s ragdoll effects let it wrap itself around tree trunks and parked JCBs was one of those scenes of such grotesque suffering, you just had to watch, even though your mind told you to look away. It’s something that PSN title PAIN stole for its sole gameplay mechanic, but it was great in FlatOut just as a side-note.

It’s also worth noting that FlatOut was one of the first racing games to litter its trackside with thousands of physics objects. Stacks of logs, individually-modelled tyres in the tyre walls - even some shop fronts in the city could be driven through with reckless abandon - and it would all be there just as you left it (unless someone else had done the same thing in your absence) the next lap.

Above: This is from the Xbox 360 sequel, but every version of FlatOut has similar carnage at every turn

MotorStorm - 2006

The original Motorstorm is one of the most perilous racers you can buy. Racing along on the side of huge ravines, taking blind jumps and passing within centimeters of jutting boulders is great when it's going well, but soon gets frustrating, especially as one small mistake will see the rest of the field come flying past, rarely to be seen again.

But the thing that encourages you to drive the most dangerously is the boost mechanic. It’s great - you can just hold down the 'go faster' button and rocket along at a zillion miles per hour. Ah, but there’s a snag. It’s basically a bomb waiting to explode. Using boost heats up your engine. Push it too far and it literally explodes, sending your hapless racer flying through the air and trying the very latest brand of muddy face pack. Filled with plenty of exfoliating teeth, no doubt.

Above: Dangerous driving? No, officer - my car is meant to be airbourne. Yes, I'll come quietly

This risk/reward mechanic is superb. Do you slow down and let your engine cool, or keep blipping the throttle on the very edge of control? We’d go for the latter - especially as every MotorStorm racer knows you HAVE to cross the line while halfway through exploding yourself. Anything less than a flaming finish is a loss. Right?

23 Feb, 2011

By the way, if you like dangerous driving and reckon you've got crazy MotorStorm skills, don't forget to enter our MotorStorm Apocalypse competition where you could win a Sony Bravia 3D TV, Sony PS3 games and even a trip to E3!

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Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine, Traxion.gg, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.