Road rage required for 'Full Auto'
By Matt Slagle
By Matt Slagle
In the video game "Full Auto," cars and trucks rigged with rockets and machine guns are the ultimate gridlock busters.
Available for the still scarce Xbox 360, "Full Auto" (rated T, for teens) is a fiery, frenetic racing game with no story to get in the way of all the shattered windshields, crumpled sheet metal and pyrotechnics.
Anyone who has wasted hours behind the wheel in a traffic jam will probably find some stress relief in these races.
Barreling through an urban warehouse district at high velocity was fun enough. Blasting obstacles and opponents in my way made it that much sweeter.
There are dozens of game variations available in Career mode. In Hunter mode, one of my favorites, you'll be rewarded for taking out marked opponents before they can blast you. (It's also good to cross this thing called the finish line at some point.)
Many of the modes felt rather redundant, though. Some such as one where you simply race to the finish sans weapons don't fit in a game pitched as an unabashed king of roadway chaos.
Though nothing will satisfy me as much as someday having an "up" gear, "Full Auto" gives the impatient and mistake-prone a unique and often strategic way to back out of wrecks or that jump you just whizzed past.
This so-called "unwreck" feature is one of the game's indispensable tools, letting you literally rewind the clock for a few seconds. It saved my butt on many sharp turns that would have otherwise sent me straight to the "game over" screen.
For obvious reasons, you can't unwreck in the multiplayer modes, which include online and split-screen play.
The graphics are better than anything on the older consoles but can't match the near-photorealism of other Xbox 360 racers such as "Project Gotham Racing 3."
Well-timed shotgun blasts to the various fuel trucks and gas canisters scattered around the courses result in some large explosive fireballs that impressively fill the screen. The frame rate sometimes slowed during scenes with lots of explosions and other racers.
There's a decent variety of races along urban highways, winding canyon roads and through downtown alleys and plazas, but I wish there was more hidden content to discover off the beaten path.
Obstacles like bridges and rock formations open up some mildly interesting racing strategies because they can be blasted, sending boulders and other debris raining down on unsuspecting opponents. But "Full Auto" isn't much of a thinking-man's game.
As with most driving games, there's also a feature to replay your favorite spectacular jumps and driving feats.
It's certainly nothing original and arguably has been done better in other video games.
But if an Xbox 360 is all you've got, "Full Auto" from Sega of America Inc. is the one and only title so far with such a wonderfully outrageous mix of speed and destruction.