AUGUST 4, 1997
Computer Game Review: Interstate '76
by Rick Brewster
Interstate '76 dumps you into the role of Groove Champion. Your sister's dead and she wants you to take her car and continue her role as a road vigilante. This is a different 1976, where the fuel shortage never ended and anarchy ruled the road. The cops are out of resources and the roads aren't safe anymore.
The game starts simple enough. You'll drive around the Texan desert in your '72 Picard Piranha, shooting at cars and blowing up firework stands that are dealing in drugs. It quickly becomes more complicated. In one mission, you need to find and rescue your partner Taurus, then quickly drive through a mountain pass to a waiting van.
The pass is infested with enemy vehicles, yet you've only got two short minutes before your waiting buddies are history. Once through the pass, you have to get going fast enough to jump across the canyon.
Between missions you're given the opportunity to salvage items from the enemy cars that you took care of. Eventually you'll have a souped up car with a Flame Thrower, a 590HP engine, and airplane brakes.
There are 16 tracks of '70s style funk music on the game CDs, and it sounds great with the game. The sound effects, from the machine guns to the exploding land mines, are well done and contribute to the game's atmosphere. The acting, from Groove's deep, macho tone to Skeeter's wavy, immature voice, is perfect.
While the game is fun, the missions are extremely tough. It may take you several tries to complete a difficult mission. I suppose if Activision made it any easier it would be too simple, but an Easy mode would have been greatly appreciated.
The multiplayer aspect is extremely addictive - playing over Interstate.NET, Activision's free Internet server, I joined a four player game. It was set in "Vigilante's Paradise" and was a follow-the-leader setting. Quickly, I jumped in and followed over a road course with hills and bumps, into a near vertical jump that sent us all flying and twisting through the air! "Like, watch out for falling cars and stuff," typed one of the other players.
Despite a few bumps in the road, Interstate '76 is a great game I would recommend to almost anyone. You'll need lots of patience, but believe me - it's worth it.
Created by: Activision (www.activision.com)
System Requirements: Pentium 90, 16MB RAM, Win95, SVGA, 4X CD-ROM, 80MB Hard drive space
What you really need: Pentium 120, 32MB RAM, 110MB Hard drive
Highs: Original setting, gameplay; plot is handled well; surprise ending; funky music; good acting
Lows: Tough missions and no difficulty settings; steep system requirements
Content Rating: PG-13 for excessive swearing
Star Rating: IIII 1/2 stars
Next week's review: Sega Rally Championship