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Die in Pain Rest in Peace

Is that a promise or a threat?

Two years in the making, DiPRiP (for that is its equally distressing acronym) is notable not just for its Bruce Willisy name. This HL2 mod is beating id (with Rage) and Gearbox (with Borderlands) to the punch in what looks to be a trend for post-apocalyptic vehicular action games.

The difference is that DiPRiP is really going for it. Weapons include a napalm launcher, freeze ray and thermonuclear bomb, while the cars are built entirely from spikes and guns and death, and sport names such as the Bloody Mermaid and the Ratmobile.

A lot of the look seems Warhammer 40K inspired, in particular evoking the rivets-'n'-steam look of the Orks. Except it's all set in resolutely Earthly locales - they just happen to be ones that have been trashed by war, and are now concrete playgrounds for vehicular madmen.

Zoom

While the full extent of the explodiness remains to be seen, destructible environments seem high on the agenda. Hopefully, trashing the various Shell garages visible in the screenshots will result in the same orgies of splintered wood and flying masonry we've seen in HL2: Episode Two. (Protest against multinational corporations or stealth advertising? YOU DECIDE.) There are also plans for the cars to leak oil as they succumb to damage - if it bleeds, you can kill it.

Then there's the matter of controls. One of the reasons there aren't more vehicular action games on the PC is that so few of the existing ones have ever provided a decent control system. In other words, one that didn't feel clunky, over-sensitive or completely removed from the sense of steering several tonnes of angry metal.

Both Jim Rossignol and I are rather partial to a forgotten car-shooter called Bandits, made by a pre-GRAW Grin. As a game, it wasn't great, but it really nailed driving with the left hand and firing with the right - the sort of thing the Unreal Tournament 3 vehicles provide, but even more streamlined.

And apparently that's the setup DiPRiP is going for: simple, satisfying and excessive. The vehicle code is based on that already built into Half-Life 2 to cater for its airboat and buggy, which means four-wheel physics for a suitably bone-shaking time.

A multiplayer vehicular shooter that doesn't involve a dozen hotkeys and a tedious obsession with accurately modelled suspension? About time, that's what we say. Let's just hope Episode Two's super-car doesn't cause any delay in DiPRiP's release, while the ten chaps from Poland who are coding it work out how to get that in here too.

Type: Multiplayer
Link: www.diprip.com
Percentage complete: 60%

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