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     " Let's make this simple: you are Mad Max if Mad Max was a mercenary teamed up with a really annoying and badly acted Scotish stereotype and you're job is to take on all comers. "

      Title: Bandits: Phoenix Rising by Tri Synergy

      Format: PC Car Combat

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: With rumors of a new Mad Max movie in the works and an eternal love of post apocalyptic driving movies now ingrained within Americana, Bandits: Phoenix Rising attempts to let you live out all your Tina Turner fantasies behind the wheel of a rocket packing dune buggy.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: No question about it, Bandits is damned pretty. Sporting some wonderfully fine levels of detail and lighting effects that will leave you giggling between explosions, Bandits is a fantastic example of how we should expect PC games to look from now on. The sky is bright and lush, the vehicles all have great modeling, and the polygon count almost boggles the mind. My only real complaint, however, is the relative lack of variation in levels. I know it's supposed to be "after the bomb", but can't we find something other than sand or snow to drive around on? 4 out of 5

      Playability: More of a FPS with vehicle physics than a driving game, Bandits makes great use of a staticly centered aiming rhetical (like you'd find on an FPS) and standard keyboard controls to get you around. This means that your typical gamer will have a darn short learning curve to jump onto Bandits…but at the same time won't be disappointed in the amount it feels like a car. Smooth traction action, great terrain features, and some down right killer motion physics all lend to a "behind the wheel" feel, which is exactly what a game like this should have. Enhancing the playability is also the choice of weaponry and relative diversity of missions in single player. Sure, the guns all boil down to machine guns, rockets, or mortars but there's a nice mix of all 3 to keep you changing up your variable car configs and swapping out guns to try and get the upper hand on your enemies. And sure, all the missions really do devolve into kill every thing you see, but the nice mix of objectives will mostly make you forget that that's really all you're about. 4 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Bah…story. Let's make this simple: you are Mad Max if Mad Max was a mercenary teamed up with a really annoying and badly acted Scotish stereotype and you're job is to take on all comers. Simple enough for ya? 2.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Sadly, the thing that would have made Bandits the crème of a brand new crop also ends up being it's most disappointing element- multiplayer. While there is a nice selection of maps to choose from, unfortunately the multiplayer experience is so limited it just won't offer any real longevity. It starts with the lack of game types. There's deathmatch and…well, really, that's it. Just deathmatch…and that's baffling to me. How can a game based on car combat not have a tag game, a capture the flag game, a progressive income game (get kills, earn money, buy stuff), or a last man standing mode? Further limiting the excitement is the lack of car choices. There are 3- the light fast one, the medium one, and the heavy slow one. And of those 3, you're an idiot if you play anything but the light fast one. The medium one is totally worthless and the armor and weapons difference for the heavy don't nearly make up for its lack of speed. Further, the aiming mode is, realistically, difficult for hitting fast moving targets and, thus, as the light fast guy the big heavies will never lay a hand on you. I went 45 minutes in an on-line game without a death playing the only light and fast against 15 heavies and mediums. It's a joke and, unfortunately, a feature that will have to be fixed with patches before this game gets any real interest for multiplayer. And, as if that all wasn't enough, the only single player mode is campaign (no instant action) and there are no bots, so once you finish the single player once through you're stuck. 2.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Despite its 3.5 score, Bandits: Phoenix Rising really is an exceptionally fun game to play, unfortunately right now it feels a little incomplete. It's fast paced play, great graphics, and clever control scheme really would make it a contender…if only the multiplayer wasn't so damned limited. Watch this one for patches and pick it up when it gets the features up.

      The Good: Graphics, physics, and car crushing fun

      The Bad: Severely lacking multiplayer and limited replayability

      The Overall Ugly: Patch it, patch it, patch it dammit!

      What it's Worth: 20 bucks now, market soon (I hope!).

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