Dorito’s Crash Course (XBLA)
There’s one show on TV that I’ve become a fan of and wanted a real, good video game version of and that’s Wipeout. The obstacle course show reminds me of my younger years when I watched things like Double Dare on Nickelodeon. The Wii and DS both received video game versions of the show that seemingly got everything wrong. Now, thanks to Dorito’s we’ve got another version of that show in the form of Crash Course on XBLA.
What You Need to Know
Crash Course is essentially Wipeout, the video game. You’ll run along a raised platform above a huge pool of water avoiding foam hammers, jumping over large gaps and be lofted in the air on huge fans. Chances are you’ll end up in the drink a lot, but you’ll have a lot of fun doing so. There are 15 levels themed across three different regions of the world; The United States, Europe, and Japan. You can play on the same console with up to four players or online with three friends. You’re limited to one user per console online, though.
That’s the biggest plus for the game. It’s basically a video game version of Wipeout, the popular ABC game show. You’ll spend the entire time you have with the game running across the top of a platform. You’ll have to dodge huge foam covered hammers, run across conveyor belts going at different speeds in various directions, leap over huge gaps in the platform and slide down 20 or 30 foot ramps. The obstacles you have to overcome aren’t are crazy or insane as the ones featured on the TV show. You’re not going to be jumping off a platform onto a huge air pillow to launch a partner across a pool, or run across the top of giant inflatable balls. That doesn’t mean these obstacles are easy; far from it actually. The way the obstacles are laid out means you’ll have to do things like ride the air waves of a giant fan to land on a tiny platform right in front of a huge hammer. If you plan your jump too early you miss the platform and fall 20 feet into the water. If you plan your jump too late you land right in the path of the giant hammer which sends you flying towards the TV screen. You’ll have to climb up chains while avoiding water balloons being shot at you. If they hit you you let go of the chain and fall to the water.
Luckily there are checkpoints placed at nearly perfect intervals along the track. There aren’t too many areas that you’ll have to back track through. It will cost you precious seconds on your time, but little frustration because you don’t have to replay huge sections of the level. Reaching these checkpoints sets off a huge plume of fireworks so you know when you’ve reached them. If you get too frustrated with a section and you fail at least five times you can chicken out by hitting the right bumper and it will move you to the next checkpoint. You don’t get any credit for finishing the course, but at least you can continue on.
It seems funny to mention this in a review, but it’s worth noting. The game is part of the yearly Doritos game design competition. In the past these games have been little more than shameless commercials for Doritos and the chance for an easy 200 achievement points. That’s been scaled back this year and there is very little mention of the chip company outside of the loading screen and the starting blocks of each level. It feels more like an actual game release rather than a commercial.
In terms of the rest of the game’s visual they’re somewhat mixed. The background elements to each of the environments is great. They’re themed to the area that you’re competing in. For instance at one point in some of the Japan levels Godzilla was roaming around the background. The platforms themselves could have used some work as they’re all essentially identical to each other, with the exception of the color palette. The platforms in the United States look exactly like the platforms in Japan, except that one is blue and the other is red. They have the same patterns on them in the same places.
The avatar’s look great and fit right into the game. They’ll do little animations at the beginning of the race and they’ll be different each time. The running motions are fluid and look great. When an avatar has been running too long they’ll flail their arms as they try to catch their balance. It’s little touches that really give these on screen avatars some real character and they’re fun to watch.
The game won’t take you very long to complete. There are only, as previously mentioned, 15 levels set across three different environments. Each of the levels will take you no more than about four minutes to complete on your first run through. There are some exceptions. Level 4 in the Japan section, for instance. You can get an achievement for completing it in under 1 minute and 40 seconds. It’s so brutally difficult on the first run that it took me over eight minutes to complete. I was able to shave four minutes off my time on my second run through the level, but it was still difficult.
There is definitely a lot of replay value to be had because of the presence of the leaderboards. It’s very easy to see how well you compare to your friends and to see when they’ve beaten one of your times.
This is a free game. It’s part of a competition, but even better than that it’s a really good game. There are some shortcomings that I’d love to see addressed in the future, but they don’t impact my enjoyment of the game in any way. Things like a level editor, or DLC that brings in additional levels would be a great bonus. I don’t know that it would ever happen, but you never know. For fans of the Wipeout tv show, or really good challenging time attack platformers you definitely get more than your money’s worth. They could have easily released this as a full retail XBLA release and charged 800 points for it. Instead the developer has given you a fun, arcade experience for the price of nothing.
Final Score: 4/5 Above Average
Review copy of the game downloaded via Xbox Live Arcade.
Played through every level of the game 4 or five times, both online and offline.
Total Play Time: 4 hours