North American Playstation cover art
Vigilante 8 is a vehicular combat video game developed by Luxoflux and published by Activision, originally released on the PlayStation in 1998. Later ports of the game were released for the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. It is a spinoff of the PC game Interstate '76, featuring several of its theme concepts (auto-vigilantes, the 1970s time frame, and specific fictional vehicle companies).
Players do combat over a number of stages located all over the western United States, whether in Story or Arcade Mode. Each stage has interactive features, such as ballistic missiles and launching Aurora planes for the Area 51 level. Every vehicle is equipped with a machine gun by default, but players can add up to three out of five available weapons - mines, auto-cannons, rocket pods, mortars, and homing missiles, plus a special weapon unique to the vehicle.
Three types of special attacks can be made using each of the five standard weapons, at a bigger cost in ammunition, by performing fighting game-style movements and button presses on the control pad. These attacks may be performed during normal play or to eliminate nearly-destroyed cars in a method called "Totaling." In line with the fighting-game style element, players can also score up to six combo hits called Whammies.
There are special icons scattered across the playing field; wrenches repair damage and yellow zigzag lines temporarily jam the opponent's homing-based weapons. Certain objectives in Story Mode must be completed to help unlock the game's secret characters and stages. The game also offers players the option to play standard music CDs during a match.
The game is set in an alternate 1975, where a global oil crisis occurs and the United States is on the verge of an economic breakdown. A rampant crime wave in the cities prompts the deployment of more security forces, leaving the hinterlands with little or no law and order. A multinational oil consortium, the Oil Monopoly Alliance Regime (OMAR), is determined to control the global petroleum market and wants the destruction of the US to ensure the success of their plan.
Vigilante 8 was developed with a team of only five people - Peter Morawiec, Adrian Stephens, David Goodrich, Jeremy Engleman, and Edward Toth. A commercial for the N64 version was produced for its release in March 1999. It shows a school bus dropping off children at school followed by game footage of the bus in combat. The students wait for their bus at dismissal time, only to find it severely damaged when it arrives. The advertisement was withdrawn following the Columbine massacre. The N64 version of the game also includes a new campaign for Y The Alien and a fantasy stage called Super Dreamland 64, as well as three new multiplayer modes to take advantage of the system's four control ports (2v2, 3v1, and deathmatch) and a two-player Story Mode. It also requires the N64 Expansion Pack to improve the graphics and access bonus content.
The game received good reviews. Ryan Macdonald of GameSpot graded the PlayStation release of the game at eight out of ten, noting the easy control scheme and the well-designed graphics. He noted that the game's offerings would give reason for players to "retire" from Twisted Metal 2. Shawn Smith of Electronic Gaming Monthly noted the N64 multiplayer mode offered more fun and ran relatively smoothly in high-resolution mode.
A sequel was produced, titled Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense, released for the PlayStation, Dreamcast, and Nintendo 64 in 1999. A third game in the Vigilante 8 series was announced for PlayStation 2 early in the system's life cycle, but no further information or game was ever released. A remake for the Xbox 360, titled Vigilante 8 Arcade, was created by Isopod Labs, an independent company formed by the founders of Luxoflux. The game features a high-definition rendition of the past games plus some added multiplayer levels complete with an online mode. It was released onto Xbox Live Arcade on November 5, 2008. The developer of the two Vigilante 8 games, Luxoflux, produced a game very similar to Vigilante 8 using the Star Wars license (and the Vigilante 8 game engine), titled Star Wars: Demolition.
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