Review by: Mike Laidlaw
Published: August 14, 2001
As a longstanding fan of the Mad Max films, I strongly believe that the world needs more vehicular mounted weapons. Well, perhaps not on the highways, but you have to admit that it would be one heck of a lot of fun to watch on TNN, or perhaps in your local stadium. Of course, one would tend to worry about the human factor; participants of such games would likely be severely hurt in the proceedings. Enter the dark world of Motor Mayhem, where enterprising television producers have found a workable solution to this problem by placing “people,” who barely qualify for the title by their world’s standards, into the arena. While humanitarians would shrink away in horror at this situation, we gamers can recognize the benefits of a bit of segregation, so long as it’s kept to the realms of science fiction, and the end result of this bigotry is another reason to riddle your opponents with shrapnel on your PS2.
According to the back story of this combative racer, the crust of the Earth is riddled with massive tunnels that stretch down towards the molten core and house a race known as the Duvo who have secretly developed in parallel to our own technology and military might. After a misplaced oil rig drilled down into a massive Duvo tunnel, flooding it with sea water, the Earth erupted into the last war it would ever know. With their hive mind, the Duvo seemed sure to defeat the disparate human forces, but massive advances in bio-engineering turned things to the humans’ favor. New, genetically tailored warriors were raised from birth, where their modified natures soon earned them the nickname “minduals.” With their help, the human forces slowly moved the fights into the Duvo tunnels and eventually delivered a crushing blow to the hive mind. As is so often the case, however, heroes soon become despised and feared for their combative natures, and the minduals were eventually confined to government-controlled interment camps for further study.
That is, of course, until humanity’s thirst for battle, spectacle and distraction from an oppressive world-regime launched the newly formed Vehicular Combat League into the entertainment stratosphere. Part of the allure for the spectators was the opportunity to see the powerful minduals in their combative elements, while war veterans and minduals alike flocked to the league for the solace it offered from the government labs. Each driving their own custom-designed vehicles, a group of contestants have fought long and hard for the right to stand at the pinnacle of their sport. One of the most hotly anticipated VCL events ever serves as the inspiration for the title, Motor Mayhem; and as spectators from across the war-torn world tune in, players are offered a chance to seize all three of the VCL’s title belts — an unprecedented opportunity.
Those looking to participate in Motor Mayhem will have to decide which of the drivers they will control before unleashing their genetically modified wrath upon the competitors. Two human veterans are available for the conservative crowd, and they match each other’s capabilities almost as much as they loathe each other for reasons that are, of course, highly classified. Driving highly modified burn cycles, which were designed to take the fight straight to the often-tight Duvo tunnels, these two can turn on a dime and fit in places where drivers with larger vehicles dare not go. Speaking of larger vehicles, some of the drivers wouldn’t even be able to fit where the agile cycles travel; case in point is the 1200 pound Grok, who stands eight feet tall and travels the league in his highly modified steamroller, complete with pile driver and rock breaker built into the front assemblage. Fans of Star Wars will appreciate the lizard-like Rancor, whose muscle car screams over-compensation but still ranks as deadly at close range. For those seeking a bit more refinement in their competitor, the lovely ladies Chromium and Volcana blend allure with high-caliber firepower to make a combination that no super spy could resist. That the former is a spy herself, sent to identify the true motives behind the VCL, and that the latter can project fire from her body at will, makes these fatal femmes even more appealing.