Insane 2 is a fun arcade style off road racing game set in photo realistic exotic environments. The controls are basic, and feel great. Easy to pickup, play and know what you’re doing. Left and right to steer, gas to go forward, brake is also reverse and turbo to boost forward. The longer you hold the turbo, the faster you go. After time the turbo will regenerate itself. The game is full of insane jumps and you only go one direction in the air. So even a small jump can send you flying straight and costing you valuable seconds. If you wreck your vehicle or flip it, there’s a respawn button that gives you full turbo boost to get you back into the action. There is even a mini map, a full sized map and an 8 way camera to look left, right and behind you. Its a simple game anyone can quickly master. Adults, children, drunks at an arcade. There are a lot of vehicles to unlock in four categories. 4×4, SUVs, pickups, trucks (like dump trucks and semmis), and extreme vehicles with giant tires.
This game would feel at home in an arcade, but there are so many cups with a variety of events that you can play for dozens of hours without playing the same event twice. The game has 10 event types spread out over an overwhelming 150 events on 20 maps in dozens of cups. These 10 event types are where the game shines. This variety kept me engaged.
You have the standard race type that has you racing through checkpoints over two or three laps. Then there’s the knockout that eliminates the vehicle in last place every 30 seconds. Jamboree starts the vehicles facing one another and green lights a random gate out of several, sending vehicles on a mad dash to go through it. This accumulates points, and the first to lets say 100 wins. The racers are quick to react and turn without hesitation. You have a strategy to waste your boost getting to the current gate or wait for the next random gate to go for it. Gate hunt that has 30 gates and the one that passes through the most gates wins the event. Pahthunter forces vehicles to go through all 30 gates. The first one through them all is the winner. You make your own path and do them in the order you want to. Zone Patrol has you capturing gates. The last person through a gate, gets a point for each second that gate is owned. The first to 300 or so points gets declared the winner.
Capture the Flag has you racing to get a flag and hold onto it with each second adding a point to your score. The first to 100 wins. You can get 10 points or so for driving through green light gates with the flag. Its like Jamboree, but only one driver can get the extra points. I found this event fun, just playing keep away from the other drivers. Here’s the thing though, having a GIANT flag on top of your vehicle means it rolls easy. So keep it straight, no sharp turns. If you ram someone with the flag, you get the flag, as long as they’ve held it for a second. This results in some big pile ups.
Now we have the difficult event types. The ones that stand out as challenges from the fun of the others. Greed will drop bronze, silver and gold boxes from the sky. You can see them on your mini map and giant lights leading up to the sky. They’re each worth 5, 10 and 15 points. The first to 100 is the winner. Retrieve the flag has the pack first driving to the flag then taking it back to the big home base for points up to 100 or so. Pursuit is the final and most dreaded event type. You need to follow a helicopter and stay in its spotlight with each second in the spotlight giving you a point. Since its a helicopter, it can turn on a dime. At least the chopper sticks to a set pattern and never deviates. These pursuits are marathons that have lasted up to 30 minutes.
Pursuits manage to accentuate the intelligence of the other drivers. They can adapt quicker than I could after 16 hours, yet they seemed to intentionally let me catch up. I’d be in last place with no points and the leader would have 99 points. Instead of simply winning and forcing me to restart… its as if the game then let the 2nd – 5th place vehicles catch up points wise as I did. Sure when I got up to third place in points, the game gave me a struggle, but its the fact that it let me still feel like I have a chance. It still made it seem like it was struggling to win and wasn’t just stopped like a dog waiting for you to chase it.
Even if the game has only 20 maps spread out across 4 continents (North America, Africa, Eurasia and Antarctica), it felt like with the constantly changing objectives, each objective was like a fresh route. Since this is off road racing, these aren’t just courses, these are maps and you can roam freely and take any path you want to make it through the next checkpoint or objective. Go over a bridge, dive into a gorge, go under the bridge, go up an 80 degree canyon wall with little effort. You can’t get knocked off course, because the entire map is a course. In fact, the entire map loops. So if you captured the flag with the pack chasing you, don’t turn around, keep going to the east, you’ll pop out on the west half of the map still going east. Its seamless and a beautiful way of not having invisible walls or borders.
Because these are realistic environments, the game has limited resources when it comes to diversity with only desert, dirt, grass and arctic tundra. It still felt like they made each map feel unique through gimmicks here and there. A lumbermill, a low riverbed with a broken skyway road over it, a desert ghost town, a railroad with an engine that will ram and destroy vehicles, a beach, a swamp, a desert oasis with rhinos running around, and a freighter stuck in ice are a few examples of the gimmicks. There are even a few challenging maps that have blinding thunder storms, but luckily gates are always lit up on screen and marked on your mini map.
There is a quick race mode and a career mode that spans across four championships. Competitors challenge for beginners, World Tour for the first half of the game. Manufacturers contest has you playing and competing against vehicles of a specific category. Completing each cup and category gives you permanent boosts in one are for all vehicles. For those that like a challenge, there is the Pro Club for the second half of the game. This championship when you’re done with most everything else. The difficulty is amped up. Sixteen hours in, I’ve only just completed a few of the cups in the Pro Club. Each championship has several cups. Each cup has between four to seven events that are themed for the most part. Like Africa, Hostile Weather or Capture the Flag.
When you start a career, you select a faceless gender and then one of three crews that give you a bonus to speed, boost or handling. You’re given an SUV. Every event that you place in the top 3 unlocks a new event or two and gives you cash to upgrade your vehicle’s body, engine or suspension. Each of these three upgrades will increase a few different stats for the vehicle’s speed, acceleration, booster, off-road and durability. You can easily see the stats to compare vehicles. Some events even give you a skin credit to unlock a new skin from two extras per vehicle. The smaller vehicles slow to a crawl in the water, while the big ones just motor on through. Big vehicles are top heavy and can roll over easier to cost you time. I would have preferred that larger vehicles can ram through things for the cool factor, but even the small 4x4s can ram down a telephone pole.
There is a multiplayer mode, but since this game was released in 2012, there don’t seem to be any servers. You can easily make your own or play local co-op. With everything said, four hours into the game, it crashed and I lost my save file. It only happened once, but its a testament to the game that I just kept right on playing.