ferry;;sadhonker;;grip;;vehicular;;combat;;racing;race;;caged;;element;;wired;;productions Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams


By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on November 2, 2018

Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Once upon a time, in the year 1993, something very strange happened in the gaming industry. Now, there had been racing games up to that point in time, but these were mostly simple "who can complete the track the fastest" kind of games. There were a few games that added an element of combat, like the 1983 Spy Hunter game, but no game ever managed to truly capture the essence of vehicular combat. Until 1993, that is...

All of a sudden, one after the other vehicular combat game reared its blood and oil-stained and bullet-riddled head: Rock 'n Roll Racing, Megarace, Wipeout, Twisted Metal, Twisted Metal II: World Tour, Carmageddon, Vigilante V8; the list went on and on, right up until we reach our destination: 1999. It was in this year that a game called Rollcage saw the grimy light of day and made its sizeable contribution to the then immensely popular genre! Now, I know everyone has his or her favorite combat racer and this might not be Rollcage, but this is the game that is almost singlehandedly responsible for the existence of a brand, spanking new title in the vehicular combat genre which is, incidentally, the game I'm reviewing today. As Samuel L. Jackson says, and as he says it very well: "Hold on to your butts" because, ladies and gentlepeople, it is time to get fast and most definitely furious with Grip: Combat Racing!

Developed by Canadian developer Caged Element and published by UK-based Wired Productions, Grip puts the player squarely in the seat of a range of unique racing vehicles for a high-octane, surviving-by-the-skin-on-your-teeth, full-throttle, all-guns-blazing game of what can only be called Maximal Majestically Murderous Motorized Mayhem! The game challenges the player to be the fastest, most bad-ass driver on any circuit on any world, and does this very well and - and this is very important to me - it does so while looking absolutely stunning and handling superbly! So, do you think you have what it takes? Then buckle up, let your engines roar and come with me for some high- speed destruction!

Grip offers the player a number of racing modes and vehicle types. If you want to play a classic race in which your only objective is getting to the finish as fast as possible, no problem! But why not try to finish first by gathering points by damaging other cars and winning because you have the highest number of said points? Or, if you're feeling particularly violent, why not make sure you're the only driver left standing after a motorized brawl in the massive free for all arena mode? There's a race type for every kind of driver to enjoy, so take your pick and try to come out on top. Here's a tip for you: There is a mode in which the driver in last place will be eradicated every thirty seconds. Now, at first, you may think: "Oh well, no problem, I'm in fourth place, so I'm safe" and while this might be true right then and there, fourth place will eventually be last place if enough drivers are eliminated, so never, ever go for anything less than first. And while this is true for any type of race, it has never been as pressing an issue as in this cool and truly challenging elimination mode!

It has to be said that the entire game is quite challenging. I think the simplest track must be the so-called Speed Bowl, a futuristic looking and Indy 500 inspired circular track on which you can really go flat out all of the time. This is a simple track because you're only going in circles. The other tracks that Grip has to offer, however, are far from simple and certainly a lot less circular! I really like the way the tracks are built, incorporating jumps, tunnels, obstacles, tunnels with obstacles, intersections and splits in the road, giving your multiple routes to choose from and, my personal favorite: weapons and armor pickups! And please trust me when I say that just being really, really, REALLY fast isn't enough, so be sure to pick up and use as many weapons as you can!

Now, your standard car has two slots to store these pickups, so be sure to use them frequently. Especially if you pick up a weapon or defensive item that you don't want or need, just use it straight away, for you'll never know what the next pickup might bring you... Your pickups are mapped to two separate buttons, so they're easy to use if you keep an eye on which one is which. There are no elaborate weapon selection menus; an attack is always but a button-press away! The weapons can range from anywhere between a simple machine gun to a cluster of homing missiles.

Don't you just love it when things go KABOOM? Well, I sure do, so I tend to use these weapons as often as humanly possible which, if I'm honest, might very well be the reason I'm almost never in first place. You see, the distraction my trigger happiness provides does, while being enormously fun, influence my ability to spot obstacles on the road, resulting in head on collisions more than once. Aside from that, I've never been much of a racer, to tell you the truth. It's not that I don't like it, it's more a question of being thoroughly unable to keep a car on the track at any velocity above the speed of a brisk run. This is why I almost never play racing games, except when there are weapons involved. If this is the case, I don't care how many times I veer (or fly, as is usually the case) off the track. I just keep coming back for more!

Another fun item on the Grip list is the game's plethora of cars to unlock and customize to your liking. This sometimes results in heinous paint schemes and truly eye-watering designs, but the races are that much more colorful because of this fun feature. And, don't forget to upgrade your vehicle in order to get the upper hand in your next race. Choose your favorite car, paintjob, track and, most importantly, engine power and difficulty and put the pedal to the metal! For those of us that are somewhat less talented in the racing area, the engine power and overall difficulty are the two most important settings in the game. While difficulty speaks for itself, the engine power might need a little explaining. Unless, you've played Mario Kart before, in which case you know exactly what it does! It's quite simple actually; the higher your engine power, the faster your car goes, the less time you have to anticipate upcoming obstacles, enemies or pickups on the track.

Personally, I think the thing that makes playing Grip as fun as it is, aside from obliterating enemy vehicles of course, is the real sensation of speed the game manages to convey every single time without a problem. It's the same trick that Wipeout used to blow our minds back in the day. Even while using low engine power, the track still come whizzing by like there's no tomorrow! So, take a mental picture of this and try to visualize what it's like to play the game while using the highest engine power... Scared yet? Good, you should be! But, all silliness aside; no matter the engine power you choose, the game handles just fine and looks really good. The cars handle superbly, the tracks look awesome and the racing is pure adrenaline-fueled fun! The game even supports up to 4-player splitscreen, so what's not to like, right?

So, if you're into combat racing or even normal racing games, do yourself a huge favor; go out to the store or, more likely, stay inside and visit online store and give Grip a try. If you liked any of the games mentioned in this review, than you're bound to love it to pieces... smoking hot pieces of car scattered across the track, most likely! As said, I was never much of a racer, but Grip: Combat Racing managed to thoroughly get my juices flowing and I, for one, have had a blast playing it!

available on:

Caged Element & Wired Productions
November 6, 2018