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Review by: Brian Pipa
Published: June 17, 1997
The economy is in the throes of a deep recession. Flames of riot rule the cities. Gas is expensive and scarce. Crime is rampant. No one seems to care. This is a time for vigilantes. So begins Activision’s Interstate 76 (I76).
You are Groove Champion. Your goals are to find out who killed your sister, Jade; to uncover the reason for her death; and to avenge that death, if at all possible. With your trusty pal, Taurus (“I’m so good, they should name a car after me”), your handy mechanic Skeeter, and your rugged Picard Piranha, you set out to right the wrongs of the alternate universe that is Interstate 76.
I76 is a series of 17 interconnected missions that must be traversed sequentially. Missions range from destroying known thug hideouts, to racing for pinkslips, and of course, destroying anyone that gets in your way in every mission. You start off with Jade’s Picard Piranha armed with the basic weapons. As you complete a mission, your mechanic, Skeeter, will salvage parts from the cars you’ve destroyed, so it pays to kill off as many as possible. If the parts you salvage are damaged, you can ask Skeeter to repair them for you. It’s important that you equip your car with these salvaged parts because some missions can’t be completed without them. You can choose where the parts are placed on the car (within reason) and you can also modify your chassis’s suspension.
Weapons? You want weapons? I76 has about 25 different weapons. Slug throwers, SPP Pods, Flamethrowers, Mortars, Droppers, and even a hand-held 45 caliber automatic pistol are there for the taking. There are about 15 different views to choose from to set your sights on the enemy, and there’s even a Missile Cam, for a rocket’s-eye view of the mayhem. When you target an enemy, you see a status bar around that enemy, much the same way the Command and Conquer-type games show damage to the enemies. As you inflict damage, the bar changes colors and shrinks.
The physics of the game’s engine are very good. Take a sharp corner going too fast and you’ll find yourself in a ditch. Drive through an enemy’s oil slick and slide around in a believable manner. Make a jump and your car will bounce and rock appropriately and sustain damage to the chassis and suspension.
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