Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 4, April 2011, Posted On: 5/2/2011
Coin-Op Gameplay: Namco's Dead Heat
by Evan Kirby
Evan Kirby, Namco, Dead Heat, coin-op video game, arcade video game, video game review, Vending Times, coin-op news, interactive entertainment, driving game, driving simulator, racing game, arcade game machine
Namco's newest sitdown racer brings more to the table than the standard driving game. Dead Heat maintains typical traits of arcade racers, blasting through elaborate racetracks at over-the-top speeds. Realism is also left behind in Dead Heat, as players perform massive jumps and stunts. But what puts Dead Heat ahead of the rest is its focus on head-to-head competition.
When a player starts up Dead Heat for the first time, an onboard camera takes his or her photo and that snapshot is added to their profile and stored in the game. Snapshots are displayed over players' cars, identifying them to angry opponents as they burn past them. This feature helps add that extra competitive dynamic of knowing exactly whom players are racing against, creating a more fun multiplayer atmosphere.
While Dead Heat is making a big push for competitiveness on the multiplayer front, an equally big effort has gone into providing a topnotch racing experience even when the player is going solo. As more players race and save their PIN files at their locations, player data and behaviors are added to the game's artificial intelligence. This analyzes the way each person performs behind the wheel. Using this information, games played in the future will have the same tendencies as the games played right before them. By doing this, Namco has simulated head-to-head competition with real players even when they aren't physically present.
What Namco has done is taken the necessary steps to advance the multiplayer aspect of arcade racing and combined them with an already successful formula for driving games (insanely high speeds and crazy stunts, among other attributes). Beautiful high-definition racetracks based in such well-known cities as Chicago and San Francisco, along with licensed Ford, Toyota and other major car companies are the icing on the cake for a game that will keep players coming back for more.
EVAN KIRBY is a 22-year-old journalism student from Bridgewater, MA. A former editor of his high school newspaper, Kirby has been an avid coin-op game enthusiast for his entire life.