Saved Games: Interstate ‘76 is the game worth saving from 1997

Every game released before 2015 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games.

There’s a moment just seconds into Interstate ‘76’s intro cinematic that I think neatly captures its spirit: two American hot rods are racing along a desert highway, one firing its roof-mounted machine guns perfectly in sync with the wacka-wacka funk guitar underpinning the scene, while the other weaves from side to side in front of it, also in time with the music. There are probably a total of seventy polygons onscreen, and yet the game’s stylistic vision and world of bizarre menace are communicated instantly.

Set in an alt-history southwestern USA in which the 1973 oil crisis provoked the rise of criminal gangs and a resultant vigilante uprising, Interstate ‘76 is a vehicular combat game as concerned with nailing an aesthetic as it is with the mechanics of cars shooting at one another. It’s a game that achieves remarkable harmony between its visual style, narrative and what you do as the player, and it does so in a world that’s not quite seventies pastiche or fantasy dystopia. Instead, it’s something strange and distinct in between the two. It is the game release of 1997 that should be preserved forevermore.

Settings and plot arcs in vehicular combat games are preposterous by necessity, of course, because they have to accommodate a) the existence of wholly impractical machines and b) people solving their every problem by driving those machines. Interstate ‘76 is preposterous, then, but because its visual design, soundtrack and core mechanics reinforce its ideas so well, it’s the kind of preposterous you can get behind.

Player-character Groove Champion is mixed up in all this highway warfare by sheer chance. He finds himself behind the wheel of a modded, weaponised Picard Piranha after his vigilante sister ticks off the wrong crime lord and winds up catching a fatal (or is it, etc.) bullet. He’s horrified to learn she was caught up in that world, but at the same time feels an irresistible sense of duty to follow the same path. Mentor Taurus, who partnered Groove’s sister before she died, is there to make sure he fulfils that obligation. Keep in mind that this is a driving-shooty game from 1997; it would have been ample exposition to tell the player, ‘You’re a vigilante. Go shoot these cars.’ Instead, Interstate ‘76 strived for something with more character.

Talismanic of that attitude is the now legendary poem button in the controls list. You press the ‘x’ key and Groove asks, “Hey Stampede, how about a poem?” Taurus obliges with one of 15 different pieces, and he’s not half bad at waxing lyrical. Playing in situ at age 11, it was probably the best poetry I’d ever heard. “I’m a storm torrent across a slate-gray sea,” he might begin. Or, “They twist like quad-coiled vipers, feeding on combustion’s waste.” Taurus’ unwavering commitment to fulfilling Groove’s request can lead to moments of unexpected poignancy – he’ll recite lines even when coming under heavy attack from landmines, machinegun fire, or helicopters. I’m not proud of it, but I used to ask him for a poem when his smoking car appeared to be in real trouble in the hope of seeing him explode mid-verse.

The options menus and map screen are worthy of mention too, if you can believe it. Graphical options, control customisation and all the rest are written out as items on a menu from Joe’s Fish Shack, while maps for each mission are scrawled on restaurant napkins. When you exit the game, a note from someone presumably under Joe’s employment asks “Are you leaving me, sweetheart?” These are small details, and they wouldn’t save Interstate ‘76 if the fundamentals weren’t in place, but they do demonstrate how far that commitment to stylistic consistency runs in this game.

The inhuman angles, featureless faces and girder-like fingers of Interstate ‘76’s low-poly cast of characters should by all rights make it look as dated as snap bracelets, yet it’s employed so effectively to tell the story of alt-seventies vigilantes that it looks in many ways perfectly modern, even now. However restrictive the hardware of 1997 may have been, its early 3D character models appear sculpted by artistic imperative rather than necessity. Notably, it’s not a million miles away from some recent indie games.

As the story goes, the concept came about when designer Sean Vesce and lead designer/writer Zack Norman had just shipped Mechwarrior 2 and were flicking through listings for used muscle cars in Auto Trader magazine. While the vehicles in Interstate ‘76 are all unlicensed, that doesn’t diminish its enthusiasm for hot rods and their component parts one bit. A surprisingly sophisticated vehicle salvage system for the time lets you harvest parts from opponents you shot to smithereens in the previous mission, designate them for your mechanic Skeeter to repair, and gradually upgrade your own Piranha on a granular level, from guns to brakes, mine dispensers and nitrous oxide canisters to armour distribution.

I haven’t mentioned what you actually do much, have I? Perhaps I’m slightly loath to admit that shooting at other cars from inside one of your own is a fundamentally awkward experience, and that Interstate ‘76 doesn’t offer a particularly elegant solution to that problem. Aerial dogfights in space shooters and combat flight sims enjoy the significant advantage of additional axes of movement. You can loop-de-loop out of trouble to emerge behind your foe, undertake a twisting evasive manoeuvre, and you can use vertical distance, as well as horizontal, to hide when your health bar gets low. There’s none of that when you’re stuck on the ground like a schmuck. Your options are limited to lining yourself up directly in front of or behind a target, and in Interstate ‘76 most conflicts are resolved by two vehicles trundling in gradually slower circles as they try to get behind one another.

I always preferred the moments of calm. If Interstate ‘76’s influence can be found anywhere in the modern era, and you have to peer quite closely, it’s the way it treats long drives as an opportunity for exposition. It’s a staple of open world game design now, the drive-and-chat on the way to a mission, but I found a thrill in hearing Groove and Taurus discuss life and crack wise with each other over their CB radios with nary a foe in sight. It’s another tool Activision use to maintain that tonal unity.

Interstate ’76 got a sequel in 1999, although Interstate ‘82 suffered a fate of obscurity after failing to heed the advice offered by Skeeter in the first game: never get out of the car. After that, it’s hard to trace a line of heritage down the years. The vehicular combat genre survives on the fringe, sustained only by those inclined to put up with its inherent frustrations. Despite critical acclaim at the time, Interstate ‘76 doesn’t come up in conversation much these days. In the end it’s managed the same sort of cult status as many of the exploitation films and gaudy TV shows it drew influence from, and it’d be happy with that, I suppose. Its petrolhead poetry and ludonarrative consonance (my fingers just did little sicks as I typed that) certainly won’t be forgotten by anyone who played it.

85 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    It also got a spinoff game on the PS1- a dreary Twisted Metal clone called Vigilante 8 that was more concerned with 1990’s commercial nostalgia for Blaxploitation than I76’s genuine reverence for the era’s aesthetics.

    • C.J.Geringer says:

      I would say that they really got the combat done well in Vigilant 8 Second offence. And both the first and second had Very fun Maps, which I found more fun to play in then most of Twisted Metal´s, with fun secrets and interactions.

      • Amstrad says:

        I have very fond memories of playing the N64 release of Vigilante 8 with 4 player split-screen multiplayer. Considering the dearth of car combat games for the N64 Vigilante 8 really hit the mark.

        • April March says:

          Yeah, my N64 was my only gaming machine so as far as I knew there was no Interstate 76 nor Twisted Metal. Vigilante 8 was the car combat game, period.

    • spaced says:

      Vigilante 8 FOREVER.

  2. UncleLou says:

    “Think about it, Groove.”
    “I think better on the highway.”
    /roars off

    Oh how I loved this game. And there’s nothing even remotely similar out there, 20 yesrs later.

    • roryok says:

      there was a biker game that looked like it might recapture some of the feeling, I forget the name of it now. Sort of like Full Throttle meets Interstate 76. Don’t think it ever got released though

  3. Someoldguy says:

    I’d have been tempted to agree, but instead I picked up my turbo plasma rifle from Fallout 1 and melted it into goo. Now there’s a game that spawned a great legacy.

    • King_Rocket says:

      You missed the disclaimer “Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from.”

      • Someoldguy says:

        Well spotted, I withdraw my objection. I don’t think I’ll ever play Car Wars 1997 PC edition, because I’d much rather play the original boardgame with friends, but for nostalgic gamers who don’t have a cupboard full of cardboard games and occasional gatherings of friends to play them with, this could be good.

        • maxcolby says:

          Funny, a friend plays car wars and was trying to get me into it. I always said it reminded me of I76. There is also some modern PC game that reminded me of it that he played.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I am pretty sure it was the C key that did poetry.

  5. Fitzmogwai says:

    Still in my top three favourite games of all time. An extra bonus was being able to rip the entirely magnificent soundtrack off the game disk.

    • Xerxes says:

      I signed up just to agree with you, easily one of my favourite game soundtracks. The amount of effort put in to make it sound authentically of the era really makes it.

      • Papageno says:

        Yeah, the soundtrack was the best, and since it was good ol’ uncompressed Redbook? audio you could grab the tracks right off the CD, and burn them to another to play back wherever/whenever. I liked to listen to it while driving around–made me feel like I was driving one of those 1960s/70’s behemoths.

        • MacTheGeek says:

          I built a CD-sized MP3 playlist of funk songs, from P-Funk to Kool & The Gang to Brand New Heavies. The entire I-76 soundtrack was included. I could pop that disc into my car stereo, hit shuffle, and drive all night.

        • Werthead says:

          Oh really? I still have the CD, so I’ll just do that now :)

        • roryok says:

          In my experience there was no need to do that, you could play Disc 2 directly in any CD player I had. i76 is still on my car tunes, though its transitioned to mp3 now of course. There is a special edition soundtrack on the web with snippets of dialogue

    • Fitzmogwai says:

      And the “TV show” opening credits absolutely nailed it.

      linky

      Years ago now I tried to acquire the film rights from Activision. Sadly someone else already had them at the time, but considering the treatment they were working on, it was actually a merciful blessing that their version of the project never made it out of development hell.

  6. jellydonut says:

    I remember playing this game and being fond of it, but I was much too young to appreciate it or remember any details. I’m pretty sure I never hit the poetry button, not even by accident.

  7. Kefren says:

    Currently £1.59 on GOG
    link to gog.com

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Beware, that version just plainly doesn’t work properly (for most people, I believe). There used to be an unoficcial patch/frontend kind of thing that allowed to run it more or less on a modern machine, but it seems to have disappeared off the face of the web some years ago. So the game is quite dead, sadly.

      • Kefren says:

        You may be right. Seemed to work fine for me though (Win7).
        GOG would probably refund if it didn’t work for someone else.

        • coldvvvave says:

          If I remember correctly cars behave like bricks on rectangular wheels even on flat surfaces unless you do some patching and/or modify CPU speed. You can play the game until you hit a mission that requires you to make a huge jump across the canyon. Thanks to screwed up wheels it’s just not possible since you can’t reach needed speed even with nitro.

          • apa says:

            I wish someone would mod or patch this to work with modern systems :) If the source code was released it would be easier but that doesn’t happen often. The iD games and Enemy Engaged are the only ones I know of.

          • ansionnach says:

            I got the gog version at the weekend and finished almost the whole thing in one sitting (on badass) it was so good. Physics seemed a bit weird (wheels, anyway), so I installed the dgVoodoo Glide wrapper and ran i76.exe with the -glide option. This seemed to restrict the frame rate and spinning the camera around the car in the external view was no longer way too fast. Wheels on the cars stopped spasming, too. There was still one issue, which was that the game would often crash if you used the binoculars. Haven’t compared it to how it should run on a slower PC from around that time, but I could. Maybe not what you’re paying gog for (doing the config for you) bit it is cheap at the moment. Would be nice if their release came with the original CDs for people like me who don’t care for their config.

      • Premium User Badge

        Waltorious says:

        I got the game from GOG when it was released but never got around to trying it (I’d played it before, around 2000 or so). But I did download that fan-made launcher and could probably provide it if people are looking for it. My memory from the discussions was that it was able to fix most, but not all, of the problems.

        • Michael Fogg says:

          Could you please upload it somewhere public? I’d love to give it a spin.

          • Premium User Badge

            Waltorious says:

            Where’s a good place to host it? Alternatively I could arrange to send it to you privately.

            I looked through my files and the one I have is v20 from 2011.

          • Michael Fogg says:

            Drat, I don’t want to trouble you too much, maybe just shoot me the file at ‘michrzesz FUNNY SYMBOL gmail.com’. Thanks!

          • Premium User Badge

            Waltorious says:

            Sent, let me know how it works!

        • jozinho says:

          I’m dying to get this working. Can you post it on a dropbox or something, or is email easier?

          • Premium User Badge

            Waltorious says:

            Didn’t expect so much interest! Ok, I’ll share it via Dropbox tomorrow when I’m back at my computer.

          • Premium User Badge

            Waltorious says:

            OK, sharing it via Dropbox. The link is:

            ‘https [colon slash slash] www DOT dropbox DOT com [slash] s/thdpjrq4j3e4p50/I76_Launcher_v20_Setup.exe?dl=0’

            Hopefully that works. This is v20 from 2011, I don’t know if it was the latest version or not. Please let me know how it works! I would like to play Interstat ’76 again, so it would be good to know if this will help it run properly.

  8. identiti_crisis says:

    Great aesthetic, lovely salvage / repair / upgrade / loadout mechanic (should have guessed the MechWarrior connection), stonking funk-reverential soundtrack by Arion Salazar and co. and a real formative favourite of mine!

    I even got into the tricksy map editor at one point.

    Vigilante 8 did have better combat.

  9. Derty says:

    This is still my favorite game ever made. It had a button that’s only purpose was to tell Taurus to tell you a poem.

    Looking out the window of your room onto a wet rainy day
    Main street under a slate gray afternoon sky
    The light on your face is soft and dim under the lace curtain
    And the streets are empty
    In the distance, there is a flash and a rumble
    Clouds sail the sky like giant wooden ships
    On a blackened evergreen sea
    Capped with foam

    • wldmr says:

      Really? You’d think that a significant enough feature to be mentioned in the article …

      • Derty says:

        You’re right. In my excitement, I jumped the gun on that. Here is something that isn’t mentioned though. You could take the game disc, put it in a cd player, skip the first track, and then listen to the entire soundtrack via standard cd player. The soundtrack was fantastic.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      It’s a high pitched sound
      Hot rubber eternally pressing against a blackened pavement
      A wheel is forever
      A car is infinity times four

  10. Vesuvius says:

    This game allowed you to assassinate a driver by handgun at the precise moment you pulled alongside their car. I still vividly remember my go-to trick in multiplayer. You see, when a driver was killed a car would shut off, coast, and the horn would blare (signalling their final slump over the wheel). You manually simulate all of those conditions within the game as well, so I always felt particularly clever when- as someone attempted to assassinate me- I would cut the engine, let the steering go loose and blare the horn. They’d assume a kill and as they turned away I’d fire up my systems and let loose. I don’t think I’ve played another vehicular game that’s had that sort of interaction ever since.

    (another great thing about cutting the engine is that you could break the lock on heat seeking missiles, at the cost of being otherwise helpless for precious moments while you’d cycle things off and on).

    • Moonracer says:

      I also remember that mechanic (though I wasn’t smart enough to feign death). What I remember is you needed to damage engine parts to a certain level before the pistol assassination worked (and realizing that flame weapons did this while bypassing armor). It made flame weapons OP as hell in MP and allowed you to salvage much more parts in single player.

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        When I used to play it online most people would out of courtesy not use the flame trail, cluster bombs or turrets just to keep things more interesting. They also used to use the landing strip on the airport map for drag racing.

        Turning your engine off was also used to stop homing misses from tailing you, which I always thought was a cool mechanic.

  11. udat says:

    I loved this game. It was a pack-in title with my Microsoft Force Feedback joystick, and the force feedback effects were implemented brilliantly. You could feel which quarter of your car was being hit, or which wheel had gone flat. I’m not sure I could play it again now without that feature.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Also got this game with a MS Sidewinder (I think) Force Feedback joystick. I think a remake of the game would work well with a controller since the modern controllers can do quite well with feedback. Also the control scheme would work a lot better than a stick.

  12. The Sombrero Kid says:

    This game had no right to be as good as it was, i got it free with my first graphics card, the diamond monster voodoo 1.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I got the expandalone with my Voodoo 2 along with Heavy Gear which I played more of, sorry to let the team down.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Am I the only one who enjoyed the first Heavy Gear more than the second? I guess I really DID just want more mechwarrior with a different coat of paint…
        Both were effing great though, shame they’re impossible to get and/or run nowadays.

  13. HegemonyCricket says:

    Even the install process was fully themed with a little radio play. It was sublime. Fine choice.

  14. haradaya says:

    Surprisingly to me, it supports analog steering, throttle, and brakes. Had a great re-visit to the game last year by using a PS3 pad as a directinput pad.

  15. CriticalMammal says:

    Really liking this series of articles. It’s great to see some of the interesting things these games did that would be easily forgotten otherwise to people who didn’t own them back then.

  16. shagen454 says:

    I love this game, definitely one of my favorites of all time. I even remember finding out where some of the developers went off to, found their facebook that had a whopping 4 posts and posted REBOOT INTERSTATE ’76! Seriously, out of all of the shite that gets rebooted, this game could actually do a reboot justice.

  17. jeremyalexander says:

    Good game, but this is where this series went off the rails completely. Some other selections from 1997- Final Fantasy 7, Fallout, GOldeneye, Jedi Knight, Myth, Grand Theft Auto, Quake 2,Blood, MDK, X-wing vs. Tie Fighter, Blade Runner, and so on. I’m not saying you’re wrong, because you can’t be in this situation, I’m just saying think about it.

    • elevown says:

      You are forgetting his initial criteria.

      ‘We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give.’

      Fallout and ff7 would be certainly ruled out there. He is talking about more obscure games.

      If it was just pick a game to save from a year – it would HAVE to go to ff7 – though fallout would be close 2nd.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        While I adore FF7 in itself, I really do, it’s one of my fav RPGs of all time, I’d be more interested in seeing, at least for a while, a world where it was NEVER released, rather than a world where it was the only game from that year. If ever there was a game that was aped too damned much (without the people doing the copying really understanding what made it good), it was that one.

  18. elevown says:

    I really remember this game as being fantastic though It’s been so long I forgot most of the details.

    There hasn’t been a game really like it ever since – the closest I’ve seen in recent years was the mad max game (when in your car not doing the bases).

  19. robby5566 says:

    Oof I dunno about this one man. We’re talking about the year of FFVII, Dungeon Keeper, Turok, Goldeneye, Fallout… lot of stiff competition for “the one game to save”.

    • BooleanBob says:

      They mean ‘save from obscurity’, not ‘save from the flood’. Or they ought to, anyway. It’s kind of a confusing premise.

  20. Menthalion says:

    I wanted to say that although there were quite a lot of good games in 97, there hasn’t been a game like Interstate 76 since, making it more important to save.

    The other games there were more, though certainly not plenty. Where’s the modern X-wings and Myths ?

  21. Xwing Pilot says:

    I loved Interstate ’76.
    Of course I’d played CAR WARS tabletop game by Steve Jackson Games for many years (I reckon I still have all the sets I had in a storage box with Illuminati, and Ogre/GEV)

    Phil re: ‘only turning battles’. I think your younger self missed a few tricks.
    TURRETS!
    I usually went with a 7.62mm machine gun I reckon, cause of the large ammo store & range. You could start pinging enemies at range. Mind you the cannon (20mm was it?) I think had real penetration power.
    Then when they were in front of you, I think the weapons were set to the number keys, so I remember driving with keyboard, and holding down various number keys as targets went in and out of firing arcs, while the turret kept on wearing them down.
    Homing Missiles: What else is there to say?

    And of course once you had upgraded you engine, suspension and wheels with scavenged stuff, you could easily maneuver, accelerate, brake, and don’t forget the handbrake button. To really twist and turn.

    Plus the environment – buildings, bridges, amany destructable things.

    And droppers – let em get on your tail, and drop mines or other fun. Just put heavier armour on the rear. Add an even modest gun, and you could clear out gangs coming in, in no time at all.

    Nothing that I saw came close (ignoring the sequel Interstate ‘8X with the ?Miami Vice? styling)

    Until the Auto Assault MMO in the late 90s/early 00s. Which was quite different, but I enjoyed hugely until it was shut down. (Go Team Mutant!)

    • Fitzmogwai says:

      Two forward-facing 7.62mm would go through anything like a hot knife through soft butter.

      • Mr. Perfect says:

        I’m really late to the party here, but can anyone explain why everyone used the 7.62mms over the .50cals? I didn’t have internet at the time, so didn’t play much MP, but in SP the .50s seemed far superior. Sure, the 7.62mms had twice the ammo as the .50s, but the .50s did so much more damage that it more then made up for it.

        It wasn’t until a friend had this wonderful world of online I’76 to try that I noticed everyone using the lower DPS 7.62mms. There must have been some other reason people where using them, I just don’t know what.

  22. Xwing Pilot says:

    Another thought: Why cars?
    Or as a younger person asked in a forum, “you had all those great space games back in the day, but hardly any now days?”

    As Phil alluded to- polygon count of course. So much easier to make a good enough looking car or space ship with a small polygon budget, on those super early days of 3D, than people.

    Now we can have million+ and greater polygon counts in a scene we have much better looking people, creatures etc.
    In fact I think the version of Interstate I had, the startup menu included options of SW rendering, Voodoo native, the native Nvidia, a very early Direct X I think, and must have been at least another option (maybe openGL lite?). Because it was pre-Direct X standardisation.

  23. stahlwerk says:

    Fun fact #1: After December 21st 2017 it will be a longer time since the day of release of the game than the time from the day the story begins to the day of release: 20 years, 8 months, 25 days in each direction.

    Fun fact #2: The soundtrack was written by Arion Salazar (bass, later founding member of Third Eye Blind) and performed by Salazar, Bryan Mantia (drums for Primus), and Tom Coster (keys for Santana) under the name Bullmark.

    • identiti_crisis says:

      This soundtrack cemented my subconscious love of the bass guitar, which I would later pick up and have yet to put down.

      I also have a fondness for Mantia’s style, and the overall tightness in all the tracks, both imprinted on my young mind by this game :D

  24. coldvvvave says:

    Believe it or not my most fondly remembered game from 97 is Dark Reign. Sure it was a CnC clone with questionable unit balance. But it managed to portray a really bleak picture of a war in the future with no good guys at all. It also had so many cool features.

    I played I72 but RTS games were much more interesting to me at a time.

  25. mont3core says:

    Yessss, one of the greatest games, I76 still remains unparalleled in many ways. It was surprisingly easy to mod too…

    • durrbluh says:

      One of the few issues with the multiplayer was just how easy it was to mod the game, unfortunately. Monstrous behemoths bristling with tank turrets where their wheels should be, skins stretched and smeared over mutated frames, unlimited health and nitro, and acceleration from 0-60mph in .02 seconds… those pretty much killed the deathmatch scene, unless you could coordinate people to vote-kick them out.

      But this allowed the racing enthusiasts and obstacle course map-makers to take center stage, so it wasn’t a bad thing overall. I’76 and the Nitro Pack expansion had a really strong core community built around those types of players that lasted up until the week I’82 was released.

      Still, pretty good run for a reskinned Mechwarrior mod.

  26. comic knight says:

    This is in my top 5 favorite games of all time. It came free with my voodoo rush graphics card that I had bought. It was my first 3d accelerated game and it was fantastic.

  27. DEspresso says:

    You’re the chromium reaper!

    Oh no wait that’s Death Rally ;)

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Sigh. I unashamedly adored the writing in the original Death Rally.

      “Body and soul, yin and yang. You, my roadward apprentice, are the soul in this exponentially accelerating equation. Your vehicle is the body. Can you feel that precious equilibrium slipping and tail-sliding from your grasp? Don’t lose it now. Race time.”

      It’s such a shame the eventual remake was so soulless. Death Rally was not original, it did not redefine genres or advance tech, but it had, haha, soul.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Waltorious says:

    I adore Interstate ’76. First played it around 2000 or so, still have the CDs. I remember being mildly disappointed at first that the story mode is all in the same (albeit upgradeable) car, since I loved trying out all the different mechs in Mechwarrior 2, and Interstate ’76 had a similarly huge roster of cars. But that feeling faded quickly as I got really into the sheer style of it’s story-focused campaign.

    And yes, I do still rock the soundtrack regularly. Decided to fire it up right now, in fact! It was a big part of establishing my love for funk.

    I got the GOG version on release but never got around to trying it. I did follow the forum debates on how to fix the issues it has with modern CPUs, and I got a fan-made launcher that was supposed to fix a lot (but not quite all?) of the issues. But I’m not sure how well it actually works. It would be a real shame if it’s impossible to get it working right these days. It’s a great game that deserves to be remembered.

  29. etaXdoa says:

    Loved the driving, loved the funk… but after 20-30 minutes into the game and a few shootups realised I was stuck endlessly driving and gave up. Was massively disappointed due to the soundtrack and the reputation the game had. Sounds like it was just me though!

  30. bill says:

    This is the best game.

    I’d love a modern remake, but as none of the sequels even came close to capturing the style/funk/magic of this game, maybe it’s better that we don’t get one.

  31. the poison king says:

    Interstate ’76 has a special place in my heart. I bought it in my early teens, not long after its release, and it was one of the first games I really took to. I spent god knows how many hours playing it in multiplayer, where I got into the community, joined clans, and played by player-agreed division rules. Holla to the AVA members out there.

    Contrary to what was said about the controls, the game had its own rhythm, though it might’ve taken some getting used to. My style was using cannons up front and a mortar in the back. I’d charge with the cannons, then turn, spin, and spray my opponent with mortars.

    I also remember hacking was a huge problem in the game, because all the car values could be modified in a hex editor. So, people ended up with cars that had like, six turrets, maximum speed, and maximum armor. But the people who played these vehicles were usually not any good, so community players would go on hacker hunts, ganging up on them until they left the game.

    Good times.

  32. roryok says:

    Interstate 76 is my favourite game of all time, bar none. I grew up listening to Taurus’ poems, wasting creepers, salvaging parts. I used to take my sweet time getting to the mission objectives, just enjoying the scenery, the ambiance, the story.

    The mountains and the horizon were just a handful of polygons. There was no steering wheel – I was sitting at home in a squeaky office chair with my hands on a beige keyboard, cables at my feet, dog barking outside at the overcast Irish weather. But every time I gunned that piranha engine and headed down the road, I was there, – “somewhere in the southwest”

  33. vahnn says:

    I never played the full game, but I got a demo on a PC Gamer demo disc (I think?) and played the HELL out of that.

  34. Atomic Playboy says:

  35. ansionnach says:

    Super game! Finished it last night and was only a few missions in when I started. It’s got something that’s often lacking in games these days: the desire to simulate, which means all sorts of unintended things can happen for good and bad (enemies almost kill themselves sometimes). The mission I found the most challenging had a barn in the corner of the map so I hid inside to get away from helicopter fire. The aggressive enemy AI then couldn’t find me and I was able to pick them off.

    The ending is perfect. Everyone else should watch and learn.

  36. canmihci says:

    alright now, about the soundtrack: it’s been recorded by a band names Bullmark. Some songs are simply rip offs or alternate takes on late 70’s funk hits. I remember identifying half a dozen back in the day, but I forgot all except for the couple below:

    1. Title track (never get out of the car) : Brothers Johnson – Get the Funk Outta My Face

    17. Parlay’in : The İsley Brothers – Who’s That Lady

    Anyone else identify any other song with real world hits?

    I’ll finish with a quote:

    “… Jade built a good car. She’ll get you through.”

    “Jade or the car?”

    “… yes.”

  37. Wayek says:

    Hey guys, the game is still very much alive and there is still a very active online community since 2001 – We have figured out how to get the game running on most operating systems and have even patched the game to support router connection for multiplayer and 30FPS – However right now we are just specializing in Nitro only at this time but original I’76 will work as well. I’m a little surprised we were overlooked, if you search Interstate 76 on google we are right on the first page.
    Check us out at http://www.interstate76.com
    see you on the highway…

    -Wayek(Tech Support moderator at interstate76.com)