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Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense

Score: 100%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Luxoflux
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Shooter/ Racing/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Vigilante 8 took the car based shooter genre to a new level of realism with it's more realistic 3D graphics than the previous offerings in the genre. Well, Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense for the Dreamcast proves to be prettier, more intense, more imaginative, and, quite simply, more entertaining than the first Vigilante 8. The graphics are extremely smooth, with rich textures, great effects, and very little pop-in. The sound in V82O is absolutely magnificent! The sound effects are very good, but the music steals the show. The songs reinforce the 80s theme very well, with wild guitar rock, Motown-style music, and even a song that sounds very much like the "Shaft" theme song (although that was released in 1971). I hooked my Dreamcast up to a new set of multimedia speakers, turned up the volume and fell in love... with both the speakers, and Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense.


How is the gameplay? Hmm... how should I describe it? (Away from computer for 30 minutes) Let's just say addictive. If you like driving around, blowing things up, V82O will give you all the toys you need to stay in Road Rage Bliss* for hours and days and weeks on end. Virtually everything in the game is destructible (if you're stubborn enough to keep shooting), making for a rewardingly realistic interactive environment. The weapon pickups are liberally scattered about, allowing you to amass a fairly nice arsenal in rapid fashion. And, since you can hold several different weapons at the same time, you can attack faster and score better by cycling through your weapons while firing at an enemy. This is called the "whammy." The whammy works very well for quickly destroying a single enemy, but can leave you with nothing but your stock machine gun, so regardless of the result, you'll need to run off to find more powerups soon thereafter.

The background stories are nicely developed, and in Story mode, you can work through a series of missions, playing out your character's storyline. That's a nice feature, especially since the storylines make sense. (Okay - in a sci-fi way, but still. It is more coherent than the storyline for the Twisted Metal games, isn't it!?)

Finally, one feature I have to mention is the hover powerups. These are blue icons that you will find from time to time that are shaped somewhat like an upside-down bowl. These, when acquired, will modify any vehicle in the same fashion that Marty McFly's DeLorean was modified in the Back to the Future series of movies. This cool pickup allows you to fly over rivers, walls, other cars... you name it - giving you a lot more flexibility than driving around. Unfortunately, the vehicle becomes a lot more difficult to control (no contact with the ground... duh!). When hovering, the D-pad is used to turn left and right, and go forward and backwards, while the analog stick will control your altitude. Pushing forward on the analog stick will cause you to raise up higher (and go forward) and pulling back on the analog stick will cause you to go down. Left and right on the analog stick still work to steer you, but it will take using a combination of the D-pad and the analog stick to accurately control your vehicle in the air.

* The term "Road Rage Bliss" is used here in referring to videogames only. In real life, you should never speed, drive recklessly, shoot ballistic missiles at other drivers, or mount military weaponry on your vehicle... unless your driver's license was issued in Mississippi. Just kidding. ;)


Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense takes a bit of work to learn to control your vehicle. Mind you, some vehicles are easier to control than others. The bus should not be attempted by novices. A small, fast car is probably the best car to start with... such as Wonderwagon or Chrono Stinger. Some of the others have various issues, such as over-tight steering and lack of acceleration, and should be tried once you've gained some skill and are looking for a vehicle with better character, or special moves that you like. Even before you gain enough skill to win, Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense is extremely fun to play.

Game Mechanics:

The game's graphics engine is very impressive. However, the game is not flawless. There is a strange issue with the controller that occurs if you try to use a controller in the second port to start a one player game. The game will allow you to get through all of the choice menus, including options, game type selection, area selection, etc. - but then expects you to be using the 1st controller when you start to choose a character. So essentially, using the second port, the game works fine up to a point, then the Dreamcast doesn't respond to pushing buttons... other than the 7-button reset. If this happens to you, make sure your controller is plugged into the first port. Other than that, Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense is an excellent title to add to your library. Luxoflux... yummy!

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

GameBoy Color/Pocket Oddworld Adventures 2 Sega Dreamcast Space Channel 5

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated