In a world of fear and terror, life is far from being safe and fun. A sad, yet undeniable, fact which keeps our spirits constantly rather low. But let’s not fill ourselves with despair and waste our lives away - there is always a bit of hope left at the bottom of Pandora’s charming box.
And until we finally figure out what exactly we should hope and wish for, other than world peace of course, entertainment industry will do a good job in keeping our minds busy, or at least, occupied.
Speaking of Destruction Derby Arenas, here we have a great example of the simplicity of human mind – we create to destroy in order to create again. And since it all makes perfect sense, nobody should shake his or her head in blank astonishment when finding out about the main purpose of DDA – scoring points by destroying (opponents, garbage bins, even controllers and, as a consequence, friendships).
Destruction means criticism and repudiation; it means revolution.
By all means DDA is less a simple arcade style wrecking game, but more a critical essay on the lack of responsibility, social engagement and loyalty in a society that’s been cut off of its moral roots.
After creating your personal log file (which records all of your memorable efforts during your strife through the devastated arenas of DD) the actual game is just about to start. Those who care can choose from a rather limited variety of options (featuring Championship, Wrecking Race, Destruction Derby and Multiplayer Mode), and a numerous bunch of bad-boy/girl, society outcast drivers (who answer to names like Yin Yang, Skull, Supertramp or William Shatner).
Everybody all set and done? Splendid, let’s get it on!
Like mentioned before the goal of DDA is to wreck your opponents' vehicles at all cost, without wasting a single thought on possible social consequences. There are yet, as expected, several ways to accomplish your mission successfully - spinning, hitting, killing and jumping on other cars and, last but not least, performing spectacular jumps (camera switches to a top-down angle!), turnarounds and/or crashing into special obstacles (f.e. gas cylinders, lampposts). Nearly every move you make will be rewarded with certain amounts of bonus points depending on the action you take.
For me, as a pacifist, it was rather sad to find out, that killing a foe by wrecking his/her car completely, easily gets you a maximum score and is therefore necessary in order to advance smoothly. Honestly, who’d ever thought of being rewarded for dealing damage and killing innocents? This is no place for a child to grow up...
Anyway, let’s get back and down to business:
Next to winning races, smashing pumpkins and destroying automobiles, you also have the option of unlocking hidden players by setting new high scores on different lanes. As we all know this popular feature is commonly used for adding a small amount of motivation to an overall rather boring game, hiding the fact that the gameplay itself lacks variety and innovation.
The same goes for both the online and multiplayer modes – of course, it is at any rate more fun to play against human opponents than AI controlled polygon-figures, simply because you are among other people (real and virtual). But simply offering these options without adding new ideas doesn’t save a game from being plain average.
It involves reasoning things out, which is construction.
Controlling your virtual lawnmower through the scenery generally is an easy thing to do, although precise steering, hence driving, is not really possible due to the rather sloppy configured directional buttons. It takes quite some time to get used to the slow reaction of your car, but doesn’t prevent you from winning races right from the start – DDA wants you to destroy your environment rather than to skilfully avoid obstacles.
Even the music is not special in the slightest, just the same run-down-the-mill heavy metal tracks that you will find in any other racing game. Sound effects, as well, are perfectly normal, neither extremely bad nor enormously great. Still, if it wasn’t for the senseless and repetitive commentary, DDA’ SFX could have been slightly above average, due to the huge amount of different crash-sounds.
Put destruction first, and in the process you have construction.
1966, Mao Zedong spoke so at the circular of the central committee of the communist party. However, I guess, that if he’d have known DDA by then he would have thought twice before announcing a mere lie, for there is absolutely no construction in the meaning of innovation to be found in DDA.
This game surely has its moments, wrecking things evidently offers fun up to a certain limit, but the longer you play the more and more it gets apparent that behind the shiny surface there is nothing to be found, not even a sausage.