One of the biggest surprises at this past year's PAX East was the under-the-radar title Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine, a kart racer whose style was like a blend of Mario Kart and Redneck Rampage. It was also my pick for Most Wanted Title during the Electric Sista Hood PAX East podcast episode, beating out the likes of Mortal Kombat, Duke Nukem Forever and Brink at the event. So it came as a wondrous shock that when I went to E3 I stumbled across this game at the Konami booth, who will be distributing the title in America.
Going hands-on with the title again I was excited to see all the new vehicles, tracks and modes that you could play, not to mention the arsenal of weapons you could use. Seeing that you can race with the dumpster, coffin, shopping cart and gold cart made me laugh, but after seeing the crazy college mascot riding a recliner I had to race as that. When racing with the recliner you were given the ability to throw pizzas at your opponent, which not only make them skid off-road but impair their vision with its gooey cheesiness. Controls were still on-key like they were on PAX East, and I even found fixing your vehicle at the Pit Stop to be fairly easier than I remembered.
One of the other modes in Anything With An Engine I finally got to give a try was the Matador one, which has racing going head-on against one another at opposite sides of the track. Here not only do you have to watch the other racers you're going against but also the ones that are pummeling towards you from the other side. I got smashed up big time when the tractor racer collided with my rocket man, losing the race by over a minute. Still it was an exciting twist to a genre that hasn't seen this much originality in a long time. Also on-hand was "Chicken Bomb," a survival mode that turns the last-place racer into a vengeful chicken that lays waste to the opponents. If there was ever a moment that truly left me in stitches at E3 it was seeing that fowl raise its explosive anarchy on the other racers.
The full game will have eight-player online multiplayer, as well as the classic split-screen mode for four players to battle it out with in the same room. You'll be able to race through thirteen tracks and unlock new racers through the title's Career Mode, with possibly new vehicles to be released via DLC. One other bit of news had me do a double-take: instead of it being an XBLA/PSN release Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine will now be available as a physical title on all three current-gen consoles. A release date will be sometime late this summer/early fall, though an official date has yet to be announced.