Destruction Derby

Destruction Derby
Game Name: Destruction Derby
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Publisher(s): Psygnosis
Developer(s): Reflections
Genre(s): Racing
Release Date: 1996
Serial Number: T-11303H-50
Region: PAL

Destruction Derby ScreenshotDestruction Derby is a converted from a PSX car-combat game which evolved into a whole series with the DD Arenas for PS2 being the latest entry but only the first one made it’s way to the Saturn.

The gameplay is simple; you race with 19 other cars and your main task is to either (depending on the game mode) wreck other cars and get points for it trying to get on the top position at the same time (wrecking racing), race for the highest position (stock car racing) or just mess with other cars (demolition derby).
However, you don’t get points for causing damage but for making rival cars spin out.

If you make opponent’s cars do a 90 degree spin you’ll get 2 points, but for a 360 you’ll achieve 10 points, same amount for destroying the car.

And that’s quite everything you can say about gameplay. But before writing about other aspects such as game modes and “Is this game any fun?” I’d like to talk about the bad points of DD, the problem is that there are many of them…

Destruction Derby Gameplay Screen ShotThe PSX version wasn’t that pretty already but the Saturn conversion makes the game look even worse. On static screens it may look identical on both consoles but if you start playing it you’ll see the differences from the first second.

Firstly the framerate is far worse, if the PSX version had 30 fps for arguments sake, then on Saturn it runs on 15 fps and it still chokes when the track is too crowded with cars.


Second thing is the pop-up which you’ll notice after the very first lap when the crowd will appear from nowhere just before you which is very common phenomenon on “The Bowl” arena, the same goes for about half objects that surround every track (of which there are 7 in total).

Really, there’s no excuse for why the game looks so bad on Saturn.

When it comes to other things that suck in DD there is unpolished collision detection, cars sometimes go through each other or crash even though there’s still a noticeable space between them.

Destruction Derby Sega Saturn ScreenshotDD also suffers from rather slow-paced gameplay, a commentator that sounds like a drunken redneck and repeats the same 4 lines constantly, and when you end the race before time because you wrecked your car you’ll have to wait for the game to ‘simulate’ the remaining laps in real time, this can sometimes take a minute or more during which time all you can do is sit and watch the list of drivers and the ‘please wait’ sign!

DD has no multiplayer split-screen action either, suffers from rather large game saves (113 blocks each and you’ll need at least 2 of them) and few other minor cons including some things that exist only in the manual, such as the “pit compound” option in the championship mode menu, there’s no such thing in the game itself!

Few words about music; nothing special, all the tracks fit in generic techno/electronic genre tracks, you’ll probably won’t remember any tune after playing DD, plain averageness.

So is Destruction Derby any good?

Well, it’s a car combat game so it should be despite all the flaws. Wrecking other cars is always fun, ’nuff said.
I like how damage affects your car’s performance (for example it turns left all the time when you have a broken wheel) and that you have to be careful not to wreck your car before the end of the race which is sometimes a more of a challenge in itself.

Destruction Derby Sega Saturn Screen ShotThe championship mode is simple, you race on 6 tracks per season trying to get the 1st place in your division (starting from 5th) and finally struggling for the championship which awards you with the bonus track.
Time trial, well it’s obvious just trying to beat the best time, no that much fun, the tracks are average and this game isn’t about best laps.

The one mode that kinda saves this title is ‘Total Destruction’ or in other words survival mode. Trying to keep yourself alive as long as possible on a track with 19 mad drivers is enjoyable and I’m sure you’ll spend most time with DD playing this mode, trying to beat the record.
There’s also a replay mode where you can change camera angles as you like and then save it. Nice addition but nothing else.

To sum up, Destruction Derby is only an average title that you can hate or… no, not love but maybe like at least.
The good thing is that DD is really cheap so you can always give it chance, but only if you already own all the cheap must-have titles like Daytona USA and Sega Rally, besides there’s no other game like DD for Saturn anyway…

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