Shallow but fun drive 'em up
A racing game with a difference, FlatOut combines standard lap-based contests with demolition-derby deathmatches where the winner is not the first past the line, but the last driver still rolling. Featuring 16 cars, each of which can be fully upgraded and customised, 45 tracks and epic levels of destruction, where every collision impacts on your environment and the subsequent racing, FlatOut is an entertaining diversion that provides a lot of fun, but lacks the depth to satisfy those looking for a true driving sim. The game features great graphics, with high levels of detail and an excellent sense of speed, while the complex physics and damage modelling recreate your finest (worst moments) in realistic glory. The handling of the various cars is also well done, with each feeling suitably different, and while the tracks are certainly challenging enough, they lack variety both in visual terms and in their layout. The AI is also a little inconsistent but the music and sound are satisfying and appropriately meaty. FlatOut doesn't pretend to be anything but an arcade-style racer, akin to the Burnout series, and in this it certainly succeeds. It is undeniably enjoyable blasting around the game's many tracks, causing mayhem and knocking seven bells out of your opponents, but the lack of depth means that many gamers will find FlatOut's appeal waning fairly quickly. It sure is fun while it lasts though.