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September 28, 2004
Mashed - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
30/7/2004Red AntEmpire/Supersonic1-4GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
173KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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Boom... He's gone!
Have you ever heard of Supersonic Software? No, don't worry nor had we here at Future Gamez. A bit of a history check discovered that they were the developers behind Breakout on the PC and PSOne, and more recently Antz Extreme Racing on PS2 which wasn't exactly the most exciting game ever. But go back a little more, back to the MegaDrive days and then another game leaps out at you - Supersonic Software were the developers of Micro Machines 2. This is arguably the most fun multi-player top down racing game of all time. Indeed, its not hard to see that Mashed is very much inspired by the Micro Machines games which is no bad thing given their almost legendary status among gamers.

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Smashing the barrier.
Essentially Mashed is a racing game set across 13 different levels such as training ovals, sandy deserts in Egypt, icy mountains and twisting forests. But rather then being a normal car race to the finish line there are a couple of twists. Most of the races are scored with a points system, while others are races against the clock. If you get far enough away from your opponent the race ends and, assuming you are ahead you are awarded points. In some races it's one-on-one, others you may be against two other cars, so must defeat both of them while in other races you'll be up against three other racers.

The levels in Mashed are also littered with many power-ups, or should that be weapons. These nine power-ups include machine guns, mortars, missiles, shotguns, oil slicks, flamethrowers, mines, barrel bombs and blinding flares. While not crucial to winning races they can certainly improve your chances.

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A timed race...
While the single player is fun and will take some time to unlock everything it's the multi-player where this game shines, and shine brightly it does. You see not since Micro-Machines has a game been so frantic and fun - and that's saying a lot. Fortunately those without a multi-tap will be pleased to hear that two players can use a single PS2 controller with one analogue stick each for steering and acceleration etc. Of course multi-taps are also supported.

There are a couple of small niggles with this title, the biggest being the ease in which you can get stuck on a small piece of scenery and within a second you're far enough behind to lose the points. It becomes a little frustrating, but does make you learn the circuits and where to be careful. The biggest disappointment is the lack of online gameplay - this game would be perfect in that regard!

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Behind the car viewpoint.
The most important in a game like this is that the graphics are clearly defined so each of the 4-players knows exactly which car is his/hers at all times. Fortunately Mashed succeeds in this area and also manages to hold a fairly steady frame rate even with all the explosions and cameras zooming in and out from the action as cars move in close or separate.

One of the more annoying aspects in this game is that 90% of the time the viewpoint is top-down, but very occasionally when the racers are very close together it will change to a much more traditional "behind the car" view which is quite annoying - it's almost like jumping into a new game. Also annoying is that when you are quite a distance ahead of the opposition it's virtually impossible to determine where the hairpin bends are and you often end up off the cliff before you can react. It's fine when you learn the tracks, but until you do that you'll be throwing your control at the TV.

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Green car is too far behind!
Sound, even with Dolby Pro Logic II support, isn't going to stay in your mind after you turn the game off, it's pretty generic. During the races the different vehicles can send "insults" to the other racers. Some are funny, but most fall pretty flat and remain somewhat unforgettable. So it's OK, but not great in the sound department - in a game like this, that's not such a big issue though.

If you have a lot of friends around to play games on a regular basis then there is no reason at all not to pick up Mashed - especially at $AU79.95 (or only $71.95 through Games Warehouse). An excellent game.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSNever going to win awards and camera need some improvement.
SOUNDOnce again it's functional, but never memorable. Effects are OK.
GAMEPLAYSingle player is a good, but multi-player is where it shines.
VALUEQuite a few tracks and modes to unlock which will take some time.
OVERALLMashed is a game that I expected nothing from but what I discovered was a wonderful update to the classic Micro Machines games. Another game for the "party" people on Playstation 2.

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