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30 Genres of Christmas
Vehicular Combat
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 01, 2009   |   Episode 6 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're counting down the days until Christmas by looking at 30 different video game genres. From the most popular games to the tiniest niche titles, everything fits into a genre and we're going to be there to shed absolutely no new information about that genre in this month-long feature. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 30 Genres of Christmas!



I was never afraid of clowns ... and then I played Twisted Metal Black!
How Do You Know You Are Playing a Vehicular Combat Game? It feels like you're playing a first-person shooter ... but you're not. It may involve you looking closely, but instead of seeing some dude's hand or a gun, you're driving a car around causing mass explosions and total carnage. You may also find that you're driving ridiculous vehicles for no reason, such as a man in a giant hamster ball, school bus or a demonic ice cream truck.

Patron Saint: Los Angeles traffic and real life demolition derbies.

Typical Story: The entire world is up in flames, thanks to demonic possession and a horrific oil shortage. As a car junky with a penchant for attaching ludicrous

For many, Super Mario Kart was their first interaction with a 3D Vehicular Combat game!
weapons to your vehicle, you're set for whatever this life throws at you. But instead of dealing with the political troubles at hand, you choose to take part in a free-for-all, guns-a-blazin' vehicular fight to the death.

What Your Dad Would Think: He would wonder why this game was so violent. In his day the demolition derbies were an innocent place where fathers and sons could bond while watching a bunch of clunkers go at it on a dirt course. Nobody cared that the constant fender benders were probably giving these "athletes" terrible neck problems; they just wanted to root for their favorite car and watch everybody else crash and burn. It was an innocent time, when fathers would drink beer, smoke cigarettes and gamble. There's nothing more American than that. But games like Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8 had to add guns and bombs, turning it into an entirely different sport. No longer was it safe for kids. These days your dad just hangs out at the strip club and ignores his first born. Screw you, dad!


After the disaster that was Vigilante 8 Arcade, I doubt we'll see a new installment any time soon!
Not a Vehicular Combat Game: Just because Criterion's seminal Burnout series features takedowns in all shapes and sizes, that doesn't mean that it's part of the Vehicular Combat genre. The difference is the goals of each game. In Burnout you are required to get to the end of the race first, while in a game like Twisted Metal you are meant to be the last car standing. On the other hand, Super Mario Kart is a tough choice. While the core gameplay involves you racing, each entry in the series features open areas where it is your job to pop your enemy's balloons. This is too much of an afterthought to be fully considered a Vehicular Combat game, but I would certainly say that some parts of Super Mario Kart spawned games like Vigilante 8 and Twisted Metal.

Then vs. Now? The sad truth about this genre is that there hasn't been a must-own Vehicular Combat game in Sony's Twisted Metal Black in 2001. At the time it was one of the very first must-own games for the PlayStation 2, but today I view it as the end of an era. Perhaps David Jaffe knew that he couldn't top his darkest Twisted Metal game, or maybe the market just isn't there for this type of game. Whatever the case, it was an amazing game that perfectly wrapped up this genre. Recently we got a remake of Vigilante 8 on the Xbox Live Arcade. However, the less said about that game the better. I don't consider 2001 to be old school, but I'm definitely saying that Vehicular Combat games were better then.
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