It wasn’t so long ago that political figureheads like Jack Thompson were crusading against video games with vehicular violence. They feared that it would warp the perceptions of the eager young minds leaving them unable to function in the real world. Many titles debuted over the years that would make for some undesirable situations if they were mimicked in reality, namely those with characters behind the wheel. One of the early vehicular combat games was the outstanding Vigilante 8 for the Playstation and N64.
In Vigilante 8, a corrupt oil company hires a band of mercenaries to sabotage all the other competing oil companies in the United States. These mercenaries, calling themselves the Coyotes, are led by a man named Sid Burn, and his group goes nigh unchallenged. That is until one brave trucker named Convoy decides to end their tyranny and puts together his own band of drivers known as the Vigilantes. The plot is simple enough, but the game stood out from the Ridge Racers and Gran Turismos of its day.
Released by a very early Activision, Vigilante 8 was the successor to their Interstate ‘76 titled released on the PC. The series went on to release a sequel, Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense, as well as a remake on Xbox Live Arcade in 2008. More than that, it was part of a wave of a number of other franchises and series to put weaponry and combat in driving games. Today we’re looking at 6 games that put as much heat behind the wheel as Vigilante 8 did back in the day.
Similar Games to Vigilante 8
1. Twisted Metal (2012)
- System: PS3
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Developer: Eat Sleep Play
- Release Dates: Feb. 14th, 2012
It’s almost impossible to mention vehicular manslaughter games like Vigilante 8 without Twisted Metal. The original released in 1995, and was the brainchild of God of War creator David Jaffe on the original Playstation. When you think of Twisted Metal, you’re most likely reminded of the game’s iconic clown branding. Needles Kane driving his ice cream truck from hell, Sweet Tooth, mowing down everything in his path. The series has been ongoing for 22 years.
The revival on the Playstation 3 saw David Jaffe return to the helm after a long absence. Like Vigilante 8, the return saw a host of theme vehicles and drivers with nothing but destruction and chaos on their agenda. One thing Vigilante 8 and the original Twisted Metal definitely did not have was online multiplayer. In the form of 16-player online versus as well as 4 player local multiplayer, the game put more into competition than previous games.
The arsenal of guns, which was already pretty extensive compared to earlier games, was expanded in the Twisted Metal sequel. Gamers who might not have had a chance to experience the series on PS1 and PS2 were given a chance on the next generation PS3. It was also a good return for fans of the early games in the series. To fans of non-stop vehicular destruction, Twisted Metal is an absolute must play.
Twisted Metal - E3 2010 Trailer
2. Full Auto
- System: Xbox 360
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Pseudo Interactive
- Release Dates: Feb. 10th, 2006
The Xbox 360 had quite a few memorable games at its initial launch in 2005. While Full Auto was initially meant to launch alongside other games like Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo, and Call of Duty 2, Sega’s racing battle game didn’t reach the 360 until February of 2006. It did, however, bring with it an interesting change of pace from the typical racing game. Project Gotham Racing 3 was already making waves with its photo-realistic 3D vehicle models, but it would be Full Auto which delivered 3D carnage on the freeway.
Vehicles were divided in four classes, and each had its own set of weapons with unlimited ammunition. These guns weren’t with unlimited usage, however. A cooldown mechanic required players to be crafty when trying to take out their opponents. One key difference from Vigilante 8 was that the game took place on an actual race track instead of an arena. However, the game did sport an intense amount of vehicular carnage. Fans looking for a more modern alternative would be interested in checking out Full Auto.
Full Auto Xbox 360 Trailer
3. Mad Max
- System: PC, PS4, XBO
- Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Developer: Avalanche Studios
- Release Dates: Sept. 1st, 2015
The iconic post-apocalyptic anti-hero Mad Max has starred in four films released over the decades, being played by Mel Gibson, and more recently, Tom Hardy. Originally supposed to release in 2014, the video game Mad Max was delayed to coincide somewhat with the latest entry, Mad Max: Fury Road’s theatrical release. While it didn’t tie in with the amazing action film at all, it did bring the famed vehicular carnage from the film series to video game consoles everywhere.
While Mad Max does feature the titular character running around in an open world setting, shooting, scavenging, and fighting numerous foes on foot; more than 60% of the game takes place in his iconic vehicle. His V8 Interceptor, the Magnum Opus, is a highly customizable and upgradable tool with which Max uses to traverse the wasteland and fight heavily-armed opponents. Throughout the course of the game, it’s possible to make numerous additions to the vehicle, as well as completely change its body type via swappable chassis with the familiar look. Adding a bit more than the typical driving game, Mad Max offers vehicular combat alongside a full fledged open world action shooter.
Mad Max Gameplay Overview Trailer
Any Game Like Vigilante 8 ?
4. Cel Damage
- System: XB1, GC, XBO, PS4, PS3
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Developer: Pseudo Interactive
- Release Dates: Nov. 14th, 2001
Cel Damage is a fast paced vehicular combat game with a cartoony twist. Within the fictional game world, the characters of Cel Damage are featured characters in a broadcast on the popular TV channel Toon TV. They constantly battle amongst each other for supremacy in vehicular combat, only to be reborn once they die in a never-ending cartoony cycle of mayhem.
As the name implies, Cel Damage featured a cel shaded look which for the time was very early and relatively new to the games market. It also featured a robust physics engine, that instead of focusing on the most realistic movements of objects, calculated its own warped behavior in a cartoony sense. Up to four players can play in versus style split-screen against each other in a variety of objective-based modes. The addition of bots also makes the action even more hectic at times, allowing for the carnage to be ramped up continuously. Cel Damage is the cartoony alternative to Vigilante 8 you never knew you needed until right now.
Cel Damage HD Trailer
5. Jak X: Combat Racing
- System: PS2, PS4
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Developer: Naughty Dog
- Release Dates: Oct. 18th, 2005
Before Joel and Ellie, Jak and Daxter were Naughty Dog’s original famed Playstation duo. Starring in their own series, Jak & Daxter, they created a trilogy of action platformers which took players from lush and green jungles to futuristic cityscapes. The series had seemingly done it all, until it decided to pit its extensive cast against each other in vehicular combat.
Jak X: Combat Racing wasn’t a wholly unprecedented turn of events for a franchise, especially from one of Naughty Dog’s. Crash Bandicoot similarly got two sequels and then a stand alone kart racing game with the fourth entry, Crash Team Racing. Still, Jak X: Combat Racing was far from a normal kart game. It was over-the-top, pure, unadulterated mayhem behind the wheel. The later two Jak & Daxter sequels completely dropped Daxter off the title and added in guns and vehicles. Many of those mechanics introduced later in the series make up the majority of the gameplay in Jak X: Combat Racing. If you’re looking for a racer that has a demolition derby vibe with guns, this is a definite must play.
Jak X: Combat Racing Trailer
6. Next Car Game: Wreckfest
- System: PC, PS4, XBO
- Publisher: THQ Nordic
- Developer: Bugbear Entertainment
- Release Dates: Early Access 2017/2018
Next Car Game: Wreckfest is the most recent game on this list, and by far the most impressive technically. From the creators of the destructive derby series FlatOut on PS2, Bugbear Entertainment branched off to make their own separately owned IP. As a spiritual successor, Wreckfest holds the same vehicular destruction as the company’s other games, and makes for more than a few hectic encounters as well.
Next Car Game itself was an impressive, early-access racing game with a focus on physics. Wreckfest is the culmination of all that testing and community feedback, making it a more finalized product. There aren’t guns in this game, but the destructive nature and the realism more than make up for any perceived lack of violence this game might have. If you want to see cars getting demolished, Next Car Game: Wreckfest has got you covered.
Next Car Game Announcement Trailer
Sometimes it’s just good to unwind by blowing up other cars (in a video game of course). Games like Vigilante 8 have given fans an abundance of carnage to enjoy over the years, making for a destructive distraction from more typical racing games. Do you have any of your own favorite vehicular combat games? Were you an avid fan of any of the games on our list? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to know!