|Hummer Badlands (2006)
Publisher: Global Star
Available for: PlayStation 2, Xbox
Hummers are a lame species of motor vehicle. They’re ugly, people who buy them have too much money (and gas) to waste, and the people who drive them often live in the city and will never take their precious piece of glorified junk off-roading. Such is the case with anything fashionable that gets made into stretch limos. But hey, they sell like hotcakes and the soccer moms tend to really love ‘em because it gives them a sense of having finally made it. What the hell ever.
So Hummers are sucky vehicles. Why in God’s green earth did Global Star think, then, that basing a racing game around them was going to be any fun whatsoever? Fact of the matter is, “Hummer Badlands” may be the worst racing game I’ve ever played, period. Even if you had stuck motorcycles in this game instead of Hummers, it would have sucked. Granted, Global Star releases its share of budget and affordable titles, but this one doesn’t even deserve to be given away.
So where to begin? Oh, let’s talk about how lame it is to customize a few versions of the Hummer a-la “Gran Turismo.” Yeah, baby, now you, too can add all sorts of important elements like a sunroof and fancy lights while simultaneously worrying about your transmission and suspension! Just go ahead and roll the damn dice while you’re doing it, as you’ll soon find out that it just doesn’t matter in the end. One pimped-out Hummer drives just like the next in this game. So in that case, “Hummer Badlands” scores because the driving is realistic, i.e. it’s flat out horrible. Thrill to seeing your heavy-as-hell H-3 get spun around as if it were a Pinto. Watch it defy all laws of gravity when jumping over the slightest incline! Groove to handling so poor you’re ready to see 50 clowns jump out of the Hummers at any given moment!
“Hummer Badlands” also tries to be “Need For Speed” in its oh-so-sneaky shortcuts and secrets hidden away in each track. But guess what? Once again, this feature is purely cosmetic, as you’re sure to screw up the steering somewhere along the way, finding yourself going headlong into a tunnel wall, or over-correcting by accident and skidding all over the damn place. Are we having fun yet?
Aside from the expected “championship” mode, which naturally unlocks more horrible Hummers and less than thrilling courses, players will rejoice knowing that there is also a supremely mind-numbing “beat the clock” mode, as well as an “extreme off road” mode that lets you get your Hummer dirty at such thrilling locales as Pike’s Peak! The only thing extreme about this mode is its name. Otherwise, it’s more of the same. But wait! Don’t forget the pulse-pounding “tug-of-war” mode. That’s right, if you’ve ever wanted to really show how brainless you were when buying that Hummer, then get set to pit it against another in a furious match of tug of war. God, just typing that seems pathetically hilarious.
Did I mention the long load times? Well, they’re here as well! How about cheeseball game presentation? It’s here, too! And don’t forget the generic and boring hard rock music blaring in the background as you limp your way across the finish lines! Let’s give it up for General Motors, though, and actually licensing this turd of a title. Is there anything they won’t do lately? Happily, we have now reached the end of this review. If ever there was a racing game you should just point and laugh at as you walk past, “Hummer Badlands” is it.