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Dirty Harry’s Thunder Drive Review

Official Score

Overall - 40%


Though Dirty Harry’s Thunder Drive shamelessly copies Burnout’s Crash Mode, the end result lacks the polish that put Criterion’s title on the map.

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Cribbing copious notes from Criterion’s Burnout series, Thunder Clap has players causing mass destruction across the streets of Neon City in their new title Dirty Harry’s Thunder Drive. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but does this title manage to rise above its inspiration?

Dirty Harry’s Thunder Drive Review

A borderline carbon copy of Burnout’s Crash mode, Dirty Harry’s Thunder Drive tasks players with causing as much damage as humanly possible by driving headfirst into traffic. Innocent pedestrians, multiple lanes of cars, and highrise buildings are all ripe for destruction, and players succeed by racking up additional damage.

However, one thing that Burnout had that Thunder Drive lacks is polish. Collision detection is spotty at best – it can be downright bizarre to see cars and people flying about without any actual interaction. The camera also likes to pan around like an excited child who guzzled down three cups of coffee, panning every couple of seconds to show off the next interaction before viewers can even process things. As a result, successfully pulling off the ultimate crash feels more like a luck of the draw than a carefully controlled case of Murphy’s Law.

There is also a lack of detail with the graphics found here. Though the neon-infused backdrop is a stylistic one, the low poly look was likely due to budget constraints, rather than a throwback to days gone by. There’s only one car to choose from, and players will see a lot of elements repeated. Even the crashes come across as underwhelming, which one would consider to be the star of the show. It’s inoffensive, but lazy nonetheless.

Despite only having one “stage” for players to crash their way through, Dirty Harry’s Thunder Drive spices things up with its Chop Shop between levels. By collecting bolts from crashes, players will be able to repair their car, make upgrades to their defense and speed, and buy additional goodies to make everything blow up good. Starting out, your current set of wheels feels like the equivalent of a Geo Metro, so anything from there can easily be considered an improvement. If all else fails, players can also pay a pittance of 15,000 bolts to get their rig into tip top shape.

Though the wrecking ball, truck, explosive truck, and dynamite can all be yours in less than an hour of play, it still does give players a reason to come back for multiple rounds. Just be warned that having all of these upgrades in play borderline breaks the game, but it does make for an interesting, if overpowered, experience.

So what is there to do once everything’s unlocked? For the perfectionists among us, there is a letter grading system that determines how well you did. Just be warned that there are no achievements to speak of, so there’s no major incentive to 100% the title.

Though Dirty Harry’s Thunder Drive shamelessly copies Burnout’s Crash Mode, the end result lacks the polish that put Criterion’s title on the map.

This review of Dirty Harry’s Thunder Drive was done on the PC. The game was freely downloaded.
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Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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