Hummer Badlands Review

Developer: Eutechnyx Publisher: Global Star
Release Date: April 11, 2006 Also On: PS2 and Xbox

My hometown of South Bend, Indiana is home to GM’s Hummer. In fact, just a few miles down the road is Hummer’s corporate headquarters, as well as a plant. Hummer Badlands is a game built around the Hummer brand. Sometimes branding a product can be a good thing, other times things don’t turn out too great. Hummer Badlands is in-between the two extremes. While it does seem like it was created almost for the sole purpose of promoting the Hummer brand, the game has fairly good presentation value. It has several distinct disadvantages, but for a budget title, these are to be expected.

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Starting off with graphics, Hummer Badlands looks better than I expected. Past budget racers from Global Star/Gotham Games have been less fortunate. The levels are pretty well designed, there is a low-level of environmental destructibility (unfortunately no explosions), and the tracks are covered with various objects like trees, rocks, buildings, etc. The cars don’t look too shabby either.

Hummer Badlands features a few different gameplay modes. You have single-player and multi-player gameplay to choose from. The single-player modes include Extreme Off-Road, Beat the Clock, Championship, Quick Race and Time Trial. Extreme Off-Road has two modes: Granny Gear and Pike’s Peak with both having four different difficulty settings. Granny Gear is a slow race to the finish over logs and other obstacles. Pike’s Peak is a race to the top of a mountain within a certain time period.

Beat the Clock, as the name implies, has you racing until the clock runs out. Your goal is to complete a certain number of laps and reach a certain number of checkpoints. Think of this as your classic arcade-style racing game where you insert 50 cents to race until the clock runs out. In this, you race until you have reached all of the checkpoints or until the clock runs out (whichever comes first). Checkpoints add time to the clock. There’s nothing special about this mode, it’s the same as Championship without A.I., but it’s a nice mode anyway.

Championship is where the bulk of the gameplay is offered. You race in a championship of five races, earning points for ranking in each race out of the four racers. The racer with the highest point value at the end of the five races wins the championship. The A.I. isn’t all that challenging and the tracks, as long as you stay on the right one, are rarely a problem. The steering could use a little tightening though.

My primary complaint with the whole game is the lack of tracks. You start off with Arizona and Peru in Championship mode, having to unlock California, Colorado and New York. That seems fine, considering each has five individual races, except for the fact that you will often race over the same segments of track over and over again. Arizona is the worst offender; how many times do I need to drive over the Hoover Dam? Last I checked, the Hoover Dam wasn’t in Arizona anyway, it’s in Nevada.

Overall, Hummer Badlands is a decent budget title that I could recommend to the three Hummer owners that are reading this review. Global Star has an honorable history of quality racing games for a budget price with the likes of Ford Racing 2, but Hummer Badlands isn’t one of them. Developer laziness with the levels (or lack thereof) is the biggest problem I had with this game. Unless you’re a die-hard racing fan with low cash or have some kind of fetish with big gas guzzlers, there’s really no need to invest in this game.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 6
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 6.2
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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