Impressions: Insane 2

By Craig Pearson on January 26th, 2012 at 3:09 pm.

Air is being had

I don’t drive. I get scared just pondering what arcane knowledge is required for a gear change (seriously: how?). I’m unable to appreciate the basics of realistic car physics, and I can only turn in a serious racing game when the side of the track is pushing me in that direction, scraping off adversing slogans in a slow, spark-filled cornering manoeuvre I like to call “The Pearson Gambit”. I need something unsubtle and exaggerated. So I’ve spent a few hours with Insane 2, the car basher that surprisingly appeared on Steam this morning. I have some thoughts!

It was a few races before I needed to use the brake. I finally managed to locate it after taking a hit from a rhino crossing in front of me in an African racetrack. The collision threw me just a bit too far out from the checkpoint I was aiming for, and I was unable to cajole myself back in the correct direction by my usual tactic of blasting the booster rocket to overcompensate. It’s that sort of game. You accelerate into corners. Your four wheels are rarely on the ground at the same time. Races drag you on and off asphalt, in mud, over ramps, through Baobab trees, around Antarctic research stations. There’s plenty of invention.

There’s also a number of events to choose. Career mode has the advantage of unlocking spendable points to improve your ride. Tuning your car means adding points to certain stats, suspension, boost, etc. There’s no need to worry about balance, really, as it seems every addition is a positive. I was a bit worried that it had locked me into a series of prescribed events on repeating tracks until I discovered that the menus were quirky. In order to select other events, you highlight Career then use left and right to scroll through the other options. It’s not highlighted very well, but from the main menu you can hop into any specific race type.

Pile on!

They include driving in the beam of a helicopter’s search light, arenas with randomised checkpoints, capture the flag, and more. I haven’t had the chance to attempt them all, but a quick drive in the helicopter chase was hilarious. Cars aggressively force their way into a moving circle of light, bashing each other to bask in the chopper’s beam. I ended up being pinched between a monster truck and a roadster, being squeezed inbetween until I popped out the car pincer and out of the light. Aggressive AI never shirked the chance to bounce me out the way, but the exaggerated physics let me wrestle my way back.

After a few races I thought I decided I was ready to take it online. I flicked through the menu and hunted for a server and ended up howling into the empty void. Don’t buy it hoping to make friends or to trade car tips. There doesn’t appear to be any online presence at all. I guess it has potential as something a few friends get together now and again to play, but it’s too quiet if you’re looking for something they can just pick up and hop into a server to play. After all, Steam’s is a few months after its official launch.

But online paucity isn’t a reason to dismiss the charms of Insane 2. And if I had a few more hours to spare, I would not be begrudging if I had to spend them unlocking cars and bombing around the tracks. There looks to be a lot of entertainment here.

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21 Comments »

  1. skinlo says:

    1nsane is one of my favourite racing games!

    • mrwout says:

      I think it is pretty obvious what the inevitable sequel is going to be called…

      (pro-tip: 1nsane, In2ane,…)

      EDIT: Yay, first reply-fail…now I truly feel I belong here !

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      jezcentral says:

      That works all the way to “6″. What are they going to do then?

      I suppose they could try “6oing insane”.

    • Chris D says:

      7nsane. Bit of a stretch but are we claiming the others weren’t?

      Edit: Oh, you meant 6 doesn’t work. How about Ins6ne? I’m sure that would work if you just played around with the font a bit.

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      lhzr says:

      You can replace ANY letter with ANY number. See: Thi4f.

    • LionsPhil says:

      This doesn’t really sound quite like 1NSANE, though.

      Really, what’s needed is a WIT from someone who liked the former and its glorious random maps, deals-with-random-maps AI, UT99-like bountiful harvest of game modes, sublime force-feedback, LAN-happy crash-bash racing, and I-crashed-so-my-car-now-it’s-a-banana-and-I-can-feel-it-in-the-handling physics.

      Because 1NSANE was bloody good.

    • Machane says:

      @LionsPhil – While this game isn’t exactly like 1nsane, it is definitely much closer than I expected from a budget ninja release and honestly closer than I ever thought I would see again.

      Sure, the physics are now more fast and loose than grip-and-flip, but you still get to see some of that in the capture the flag modes where lighter cars carrying the flag flip over much easier.

      This does have most of the game modes that I loved from the first game, and a few new ones that mix up the pot. Once I got into a CTF match all of those wonderful 1nsane memories came flooding back. Greed and the helicopter chase are a couple new great additions.

      I do miss the random terrain, but so far I’ve played the career mode for over 6 hours and I’m only about 40% complete with several cars still to unlock and modes that I haven’t touched. Lots of fun here.

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    Kemuel says:

    This reminds me oddly of Big Red Racing. Looks pretty fun, I much prefer these kind of arcadey racing games to the ultra-sims.

    • Skabooga says:

      Big Red Racing and the original 1nsane were remarkably similar games, at least in the general fun, care-free atmosphere they had. One notable difference between the two is that in 1nsane, the AI is not a cheating bastard.

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    Chaz says:

    You can’t even drive! Are you a fool?

    • noodlecake says:

      You want the moon on a stick, you do! The moooon on a stick.

      Funny, but not a patch on Stu’s new solo stuff.

  4. Blackcompany says:

    Reminds me a bit of Fuel. Also, of that other destruction-based racing game on Steam. Or should I say the racing based destruction game, which seems more apt. All things considered this seems like a solid game.
    .
    On the other hand, there is Sol: Exodus, Oil Rush, King Arthur and others to consider. As well as this little game with dragons allegedly getting a modding kit soon. So many decisions, so many games and so little currency.
    .
    Its funny…as a 30-something American chap I clearly still recall driving to town just to play Street Fighter IV at the shopping center arcade. Now, I have a video game store in my living room, available 24/7. I once thought that was a good thing….

    • InternetBatman says:

      Are you talking about Post Apocalyptic Mayhem?

    • Trelow says:

      Naw, he talking about the FlatOuts.

      Also Fuel could have been the best racing game ever. Goodness, give me the world of Fuel and drop in any game. That’d be great. I love that world so much, just wish there was something to do in it. Want a shooter mod, or rpg mod, or anything

    • LionsPhil says:

      Flatout 1 and 2 are both excellent arcade racers (and available on GOG!), but not quite the same kind of beast as 1NSANE. They focus more on round-a-track racing, even if the tracks are very rally and crash-happy, whereas 1NSANE is off-road and sometimes happens to have a track marked on it somewhere. Also Flatout has very pretty damage modelling but physically the effects are all predefined based on “hitpoints” and never get more extreme than the suspension getting very bouncy in 1 and losing a wheel in 2.

  5. Screamer says:

    Is there anything resembling a damage model? Was quit fun in the first one when driving off mountains!!

    Also Capture the Flag multiplayer was the awesomest mode ever!!!

    • Davee says:

      ^ Please answer this question.

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      Kelron says:

      Also randomly generated terrain.

    • Machane says:

      The vehicle damage is sadly nothing like the first game. Your cars can lose doors, hoods, etc, but there is no dynamic deformation. Also, when you lose your wheels you need to just respawn, unlike 1nsane that let you drive around with missing wheels.

      Despite that, the game is actually quite good and a lot like the original. It has most of the modes that made it so unique and the maps are a big wrapped tile so you can drive fast in either direction to get to the same checkpoint.

      As a big fan of the first game I’m actually having a lot of fun with this one, despite the changes in handling and damage.

      Oh, and no option for random terrain that I’ve seen, though there seem to be quite a few maps.

    • irongamer says:

      @Machane

      “but there is no dynamic deformation. Also, when you lose your wheels you need to just respawn, unlike 1nsane that let you drive around with missing wheels.”

      “no option for random terrain”

      Dang it, no sale. Sad… =(

  6. Shortwave says:

    My first thought was that this game seems like the Flatout 3 I failed to receive. Heh.
    I look forward to buying it, you’ve confirmed my suspicions.