God Of War man David Jaffe's new game leaves behind the blood and guts of Ancient Greece in favour of simple, downloadable, multi-player fun. And in that respect, it's a real success. But in many other respects, it falls a bit short.
Calling All Cars sees up to four players in control of police cars, chasing a freshly escaped convict and competing to be the one to finally deliver him to the slammer. The jail has three doorways, offering one, two or three points depending on access difficulty. Some levels see the jail frozen over, denying a way in, (or absent altogether), so you have to get the baddie into a paddy-wagon or helicopter instead. If someone hits you along the way, the criminal is passed to their car. Once one lawbreaker is incarcerated, another arrives. Whoever has most points after four minutes wins. If this sounds like a good idea for a game, you'd be right. It's amusing, competitive and very fast, with the cars handling like rockets - especially when you use your i button for a speed boost.
Problems? There's much more it could have offered. For instance, three weapons are fine, but why not more? Scenery is destructible, but pointless because it's so flimsy it doesn't even slow vehicles down, so it can't be used to your advantage. You can jump, but the cars are so quick your attacker can turn round and smack you before you've landed. It's often hard to see where the paddy-wagon or helicopter is because the icon blends in with the screen furniture and scenery, and it's very messy on a standard-def TV.
Rant over? Not quite. The single-player mode is also very short, but does offer a decent challenge, especially if you want to tackle the extra difficulty options and unlock all the cars. The handful of tracks could easily have been doubled, too. And the AI... well, sometimes it trashed us completely, but then other times it went for the jail even when it was frozen up.
We feel bad about pointing out all the problems, though - there's a lot to enjoy about CCC, and it's one of those multi-player games that brings out the competitiveness in everyone, leading to all sorts of shouting and swearing. And it's only six quid. But if ever a game needed a sequel, it's this one.
Overall Fast and frantic, and great fun with friends. The price irons out the flaws. Get it.