Vigilante 8 was originally released on the PlayStation One and Nintendo 64 back in 1998. New boys on the block, Isopod Labs, made up from the key members of the Luxoflux team (the original developers of the game) announced that they would be bringing Vigilante 8 to the Xbox Live Arcade.
The main goal for Vigilante 8 Arcade is to take down your other opponents using your vehicle and its weapons. The weapons include Interceptor Missiles, Bull’s Eye Rockets, Bruiser Cannons, Sky Hammer Mortars, Roadkill Mines and the Special Weapons (probably the most interesting). Each vehicle has its own Special Weapon, so it varies on the car you choose. My favourite example of this is the Camper Van, which produces a bee hive. As for the rest of the weapons, they are pretty easy to follow and nothing we haven’t seen before. It would have been nice to see some additional weapons introduced to the game though this hasn’t been the case.
The weapons are activated using the X, B and Y buttons and A is your standard gun, which never runs out of ammo. As for the rest of the controls, there’s not much more to talk about apart from accelerate (RT) and brake/reverse (LT). I was fairly surprised at the car’s handling as it takes a lot of getting used to. It took me a few battles to adjust to it, though it could take some gamers a little longer. Did handling in racing games used to be this bad?
The game contains four single-player game modes. The first of them is Quest in which players take control of one of the game’s eight characters. Each character has an individual set of three missions. Mission one puts players up against two opponents and there is one additional opponent as you progress through the missions. The fourth opponent on the final mission is a boss, who when defeated is unlocked as a playable character. Each quest will take players around twenty minutes to complete, and with eight quests we are talking around three hours to complete this mode – not the longest of stories then. There is a storyline for these quests, though the actual missions have no significance towards them – deeming the story pointless to some extent.
Other modes in the game include Quick Battle and Custom Battle which are self-explanatory as well as a new game mode to the series called ‘Free Wheelin’’, in which you free roam around the game’s five arenas without bots. The main advantage of this is to find alien artifacts – twenty of which are hidden in each arena. Your only reward for finding all one-hundred alien artifacts in the game is an achievement. Whilst there are no complaints from me, it would have been nice to see a new vehicle unlocked here too.
The game contains five arenas, each of which are based on the arenas featured in the original title and all fully destructible. The arenas are a very good size, though perhaps not for two-vs-two multiplayer.
Vigilante 8 Arcade features local split-screen deathmatch and team co-op – neither of which are entertaining or memorable. The same game modes are also available over Xbox LIVE. The only difference between split-screen and online is the ability to use the Xbox LIVE Vision Camera. Pulling a funny face as you wreck your opponent is a welcome addition to the game, but with a lack of players online this might not prove to be the most beneficial feature.
Graphically, the game is quite impressive for an Xbox LIVE Arcade title. There’s quite a bit of detail though this is most noticeable on the cars. Another impressive feature is the game’s audio. The 60’s soundtracks match the game’s style quite well. It’s a shame it’s quite limited to a few tracks but on the whole I quite enjoyed it.