Ever since my youthful days of playing Car Wars I’ve been on the lookout for a video game that captured the joy of driving along blowing shit up that I got from the card and graph paper experience. Interstate ’76 (and its less satisfying sequel Interstate ’82), came closest, with a storyline, similar damage allocation (in ’76 anyway) and scope for customisation and level building. The Interstate series still has a loyal following and has inspired such homages as Battlefield Interstate ’82, a Battlefield 1942 mod. Sadly, I’ve long since lost my I76 and I82 disks. I may have to get myself new copies.
Full Auto isn’t a pretender to the Interstate crown- it’s more Burnout with guns- but it’s still a satisfying diversion. It combines many of the standard racing game formulae with a highly destructable environment and sets you loose with twin M60s on the bonnet and a mine layer in the boot (or other weapons combos, but that’s our favourite). The aim isn’t just to finish first. In the same way that Project Gotham has Kudos points, Full Auto doles out Wreck points for maximum carnage. The coveted Full and Semi Auto ranks usually require minimum amounts of wreck points, so you can’t just plan to get ahead and stay ahead, you have to shoot everything that moves as well.
One of the best features of the game is Unwreck, which allows you to rewind back from a cock up or destruction. We thought it was a bit of a gimmick, until we tried it. It’s been our salvation several times when we’ve found subtlety and precision haven’t quite worked.
There’s supposedly a storyline to the game- something to do with gangs of homicidal street racers trying to take over your town and the only way to stop them being to cause even more damage than they do- but I’ve yet to see evidence of it. We’ve worked our way through series for the three different classes of vehicle and now we’re moving on to themed races. Maybe they’ll provide the story, but who cares?
There’s a sequel- Full Auto 2: Battlelines, but it seems to only be available for the PS3, which is disappointing for 360 owners such as us.
Now, if we could only get Damian to let us mount shotguns on his car……..