Variety may be the spice of life, but it's also the key to a solid racing game. While Mindscape's new Dare Devil Derby for the Playstation may not be a photorealistic, pedal-to-the-metal speedfest (along the lines of NASCAR Racing or The Need for Speed), the variety of tracks and racing environments are enough to give it long term replay value.
Dare Devil Derby is by no means a sophisticated sim, nor is it a game where players jump motorcycles over semis, parachute out of airplanes, wrestle alligators, or attempt any other death-defying feats. Rather, Dare Devil Derby is a kid's racing game with cartoon characters, simple graphics, and a solid sense of humor. Even so, the bumper-to-bumper action can be appealing for older, more experienced gamers.
Dare Devil Derby features six distinct single-player modes: Grand Prix - a series of ten races where players must finish in the top three to progress to the next track; World Series - a ten-race season where points are awarded for finishing position (a champ is crowned at the end of the season); Championship mode - a tournament where players race against one opponent on a variety of tracks; Knockout - a race against all other opponents where the last place finisher is eliminated from the competition; One on One - a race against each of the seven other characters, one at a time; and lastly Speed Trial - a one-lap race where the object is to break the track speed record. Pile on the seven different play modes for multiplayer contests, and this proves to be a very replayable game indeed.
Dare Devil Derby offers a multitude of different tracks, each varying in difficulty. Race on canyon roads, freeways in the rain, city streets, snow-covered mountains, underwater (as whales!) and high in the sky (as blimps). The tracks are small yet inventive, replete with movable bridges, steep ledges, intersections, sharp turns, and long jumps. Players face seven opponents (with names like Dr. Diabolical, Oswald, and Blastem), who drive an assortment of dragsters, race cars, and trucks. The view of the action is from high overhead, much like Interplay's great 16-bit title, Rock N' Roll Racing. The graphics are appropriately cartoony and the control extremely basic (steer, gas, and brake).
For those looking for an introductory racing game for a youngster, or simply in need of some lighthearted racing action, Dare Devil Derby is a sure bet.