It is pretty clear why they make bad games from licenses: the name will sell it, not the gameplay. However, it becomes a little unclear as to why they would make bad sequels to bad games with licenses. Let’s just say that if the Dukes of Hazzard had not lent their likeness, names, and voices to this game there would be no reason to make a sequel. But, if you look at sales figures, the first game did very well based highly on the nostalgia factor, and the idea of driving the General Lee. So a sequel seems inevitable. Since we have all now driven the General Lee and relived our fantasies, this game has to stand on something stronger. However, this game falls flat based on a laundry list of terrible features.
The first and worst has to be control. How can I begin to describe this. Imagine trying to drive a Hot Wheels model of the General Lee by taping a piece of string to the hood and pulling it down a dirt road. There is no attempt at having realistic physics and you will heavily bounce off of everything. Let’s be clear. I am not saying that the physics in this game need to be spot-on. After all, it is a game of fun not accuracy, but the control is so loose that it really takes away from the fun. What really upset me was the jumping. Jumping over creeks and other cars was the best part of the show, but the jumps in the game are shallow and meager.
As with the first game, the best parts are the animated CG plot videos between the levels. They do a good job of setting up each of the levels and follow a typical DOH episode perfectly. The plot in this one revolves around a suspicious looking girl that has come to visit the Dukes. Apparently she is from the “State University” and she is in town for a geology study. Right away you can tell she is up to no good for two reasons: 1. She is a blond chick which definitely means trouble in Hazzard and 2.She is with a team of really shady looking “geologists”. The plot unfolds with wonderful narration by Waylon Jennings that seems so real you would think you were watching TNN.
That is until you play the game. All of the missions take place in and around Hazzard county and so are very simple graphically. Mostly just dirt roads and hills. Once in a while you will pass something exciting like a gas station or downtown Hazzard, but those times are few and far between. I will acknowledge that Hazzard County itself is pretty sparse, but they even had a change of scenery once in a while. Another problem that I found is that you are almost always racing in a valley so not only is there nothing to look at, but nowhere to drive off-road. When there are pieces of scenery to look at, there are flat and poorly drawn.
The game boasts 2 player gameplay, and this could have been a redeeming quality if not for the abominable slow-down. The frame rate is so low that you could make a 90 degree turn in 2 frames. This creates much confusion for anyone trying to play, especially on the destruction derby modes where constantly turning around is essential. The poor frame rate makes multi-player gaming nearly impossible.
I have saved the worst for last. This is something that you would have maybe expected to see in a first generation Playstation game. It is this: when you are racing through an area and the game is about to get exciting, it pauses and the balladeer comes on and give some narration. Then the game loads up the rest of the level. IT LOADS IN THE MIDDLE OF A LEVEL. I could maybe forgive it since the show used to use freeze frame right before commercials and it did add to the suspense. But, if that is the case then it should always happen at the most suspenseful part of the game (it doesn’t) and the balladeer should always come on (he doesn’t). The worst part is that after it is done loading, you have to start in a different frame starting at 0 MPH. You go from being in the middle of an exciting chase about to make a landmark jump when the game pauses, changes screens and takes away all of your speed. It is enough to make you want to throw your controller at the screen. Oh, honorable Balladeer, why have you betrayed me???
I really see no reason to buy this game. It would have been better if they would have made a full length cartoon and released it as a movie. The first game had the nostalgia factor--after all, it was the first Dukes game since the 2600--but this game has nothing going for it. Unless you have a strong desire to get into the General Lee and drive around aimlessly, then steer clear of this title and relive your Dukes of Hazzard memories on TNN.
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