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Mayhem 3D Review (X360)

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Mayhem 3D Review (X360)
Rombax
Considering that "destruction derby" is how a lot of folks seem to like to play racing games on Xbox Live anyway, it is about time a dedicated destruction derby game hit the market. Mayhem 3D matches satisfying and hard hitting gameplay with a neat visual style and an attractive $40 MSRP. It is a bit shallow, but for crash-em-up fans, Mayhem 3D is worth a look.
Game Details

  • Publisher: Rombax / Zoo Games
  • Developer: Left Field Productions
  • ESRB Rating: “E10" Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Racing
  • Pros: Neat visual style; fun, hard hitting gameplay; $40 MSRP
  • Cons: Pretty shallow; 3D isn't so hot; poor sound

Graphics

The first thing that will stand out to most people in Mayhem 3D are the visuals, so we'll start there. The game uses a simple red / black / white / yellow color scheme and looks really, really cool. The graphics aren't particularly detailed (everything is fairly simply designed with simple textures), but the visual style does make the game stand out quite a bit. It looks good.

Also, the "3D" in the title isn't just for show. It is the oldschool red/blue glasses-type of 3D (glasses included, of course) and actually does work fairly well. Because of the simple color palate, there is no problem with colors looking off when you wear the glasses or other issues this type of 3D usually has. On the other hand, it is still pretty basic 3D that can't compare to modern 3D games or movies, and the gimmick of stuff jumping out at you gets old pretty quickly. And it gave me a headache. So we didn't use it for longer than our first 10 minutes with the game.

Gameplay

Rombax
The core gameplay of Mayhem 3D is pretty simple, but dang if it isn't satisfying. There are exhibition, multiplayer, and career modes with gameplay modes ranging from races, to true destruction derbies, to "Domination" mode where you try to push other cars off of a platform. Career mode is presented like issues of a comic book and winning events in each issue opens up new issues and more events and vehicles. Career also introduces some additional mini-game variations of the events such as having to collect as many parts as possible that fall off other cars as well as eliminator races among other modes. There are 120 vehicles across multiple classes to choose from, tons of events to win, lots of unlockables, and just plain tons of stuff to do here.

Unfortunately, it is an undeniably shallow concept and you may well get bored of the gameplay long before you see everything. The controls are surprisingly solid - the cars handle just fine, and driving forwards or in reverse (the preferred way to knock competitors out of derbies so you don't destroy your engine) is smooth and easy. The problem comes from the fact that the core concept of all of the modes is pretty much the same - smashing into other cars - and despite having a lot of cars to choose from they don't feel different enough from each other within each class to really keep the game feeling fresh. The mini-games in career certainly help, but after a while it all sort of blurs together and gets repetitive.

With that said, though, Mayhem 3D is definitely still fun. In multiplayer, either locally with 2 players or online with up to 8, it is a blast. Human players give things an unpredictability, but also an enhanced level of viciousness and brutality, that makes each match unique.

Sound

Unlike the visuals that go above and beyond to be unique and different, the sound is pretty run-of-the-mill. The crunch of metal on metal destruction sounds good, but everything else is only so-so. Annoying announcer. Annoying music. Droning engine sounds. You get the idea.

Bottom Line

Rombax
In the end, Mayhem 3D is a solid demolition racer, but doesn't have the depth to hold your attention for very long. It looks fantastic, plays just fine and has a huge career mode, but, and I hate to say it, but wrecking cars does get old after a while. You can scrape out a couple of hours of fun from the career, and another couple from multiplayer, but after that you'll likely have had your fill, which makes it a great and highly recommended rental. Demo derby fans should play this game. Even at the lower than normal $40 MSRP, though, there isn't enough depth for a purchase. A bargain bin pickup later this year isn't out of the question, however.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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