Earache Extreme Metal Racing

Also known as Extreme Headache Racing.

People who enjoy wearing long dark robes, listening to the kind of heavy metal that makes your ears bleed will love Earache Extreme Racing. At least that's the idea. To get an idea of how Earache handles imagine the car combat of Twisted Metal mixed with a thoroughly unwholesome version of Wacky Races. Instead of Peter Perfect and Penelope Pitstop You've got twins in bondage gear and what looks like the long lost cousin of Pigsy from Manhunt.

The game carries this satanic motif throughout and all the vehicles and tracks sport suitably perverted themes. The designs of the tracks are actually quite interesting, with hazards such as giant mincers, lava-filled caverns and massive mechanical creatures acting as tunnels. But things fall apart quickly when you actually start driving, because the handling on each vehicle is so unyielding. As a result each race becomes a constant battle to keep your car from flipping over every time you turn a sharp corner.


By far the biggest problem Earache suffers, though, isn't the unresponsive handling or the general texture quality and frame rate of an N64 game, but the terrible balancing of weaponry. Earache gives a huge advantage to vehicles with projectiles, as the melee weapons in the game are so cumbersome. Granted, some are satisfyingly visceral when you do connect, but they're rendered worthless by the fact you have to be so close to your opponent to hit them. They also take several seconds to swing. Pointless.

Whether or not you like the music which litters the game is a matter of personal taste, but the gameplay is not. Quite simply it's choppier than the maiden voyage of the Poseidon and, although Earache is only 20 quid you'd be better off with a copy of TwistedMetal Black.

The verdict

A poor mans Twisted Metal.Steer clear.

PlayStation 2
Data Design
Metro 3D
Racing / Driving