A game that shouldn’t exist.
The universe is a big place filled with infinite wonder and mystery. Every day scientists seem to come across more questions than answers. What purpose does the Appendix have? Why do Tetraneutrons defy the laws of physics? What the hell is dark matter? And perhaps, most confounding of all: What sort of God-less creatures live among us who thought Hummer Badlands was a good idea?
Almost as soon as you begin playing Hummer Badlands you want to stop playing Hummer Badlands. The awful soundtrack, a precursor to what horrors lie beyond the main menu screen, sounds like if Papa Roach and Theory of a Dead Man decided to combine efforts to make the lamest fucking instrumental of all time.
There are four different modes but none of that really matters because none of them are different at all. The mode that most closely resembles an actual completed, finished product is Championship Mode but I can whole heartedly assure you there are no champions here. Hummer Badlands is a a place where champions go to die.
Once you start the Championship mode you are tasked with choosing which Hummer you’d like to race with, which is sort of an issue considering Hummers don’t make a wide variety of different models. So you have about seven models to choose from. Another example of HBL completely missing the mark is there is no difference between these trucks. Even aesthetically, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between an H1 and H3 (which would be glaringly obvious in person).
For those of you not very familiar with Hummers, the difference between an H1 Military Grade Hummer and an H3 is about a foot in length and around 3,000 lbs. While I have yet to earn a degree in physics, I have a sneaking suspicion that driving these two completely different vehicles would feel well… different. Especially racing them at high speeds. Down mountains. But they don’t feel different at all. Every truck feels exactly the same.
What’s even more boring other than the fact the game only features seven of the same kind of car is that when you race in the championship you literally race five times on the same exact course just in different directions against THREE other Hummers. You only race against three other trucks. You only race against THREE.OTHER.TRUCKS! It sucks. Plain and simple.
Impossibly, racing the same, three other trucks is still not the worst part of Hummer Badlands. Someone in a coma could win every single race due to the unbelievably blatant, Yo-Yo artificial intelligence. You can spin out a truck (no damage exists in the game) and they could completely be trapped in a dead end while the rest of the racers race on and that same truck would be on your tail seconds later. The same goes for when you wipeout and are completely left behind. It’s as if the AI waits for you to catch up. Approaching the pack of three cars ahead of you, you literally can see the computer cars tapping on the brakes for no apparent reason at all, allowing you back ahead of the pack. This lack of competition makes the game just that more frustrating and dull.
In the early 2000’s the American car industry was in deep shit. Especially the Hummer, with rising gas prices, and a newfound sense of alarm and awareness to climate change. It almost seems as though the era was marked with a new marketing approach through video games. Budget racing titles like Ford vs Chevy, Corvette and Hummer Badlands began flooding the market. All with the General Motors and Ford logo seal of approval. But if I had to guess it wasn’t the upcoming recession that had tanked the Hummer. It was this game.