Reviewed: November 3, 2004
Released: September 28, 2004
The Dukes Of Hazzard Return Of The General Lee brought back many childhood memories of watching the show on TV and pretending that my sheriff deputy neighbor was Rosco P. Coltrane in disguise. Ubisoft in conjunction with Ratbag and Warner Bros. has presented yet another gaming title in the Dukes series. By far this game is the most advanced of them all.
In this game you are primarily Bo and Luke Duke. It is your goal to make the pre-orange general lee into the racing car we all know and wished we could slide on in and drive. Multiple story lines are involved, from the usual avoidance of viloating your probation to trying to save the town’s orphanage from Boss Hogg at the county derby.
This game follows a TV series generated theme as well as an action adventure game that allows you to utilize multiple vehicles and interact with multiple characters in CG rendered cutscenes.
When the game starts up you are driving a pre-orange/black car and progress through five versions of the General Lee. This game is comprised of fifteen missions in single player mode that utilize five different characters that in turn use ten differing vehicles while trying to outwit Boss Hogg and Rosco.
The cast of characters consist of Bo, driver of the General Lee and youngest cousin, Luke, annoying brother who is constantly giving advice during the game, especially while backseat driving, cousin Daisy, the Boar’s Nest waitress who gives info to her cousins over the CB radio, Uncle Jesse, patriarch of the clan whose word is taken as the law, and finally my favorite Cooter, the happy-go-lucky friend of the family who fixes up the General Lee and aids the boys out of trouble when needed. And we can’t forget Sally Jo, Bo’s girlfriend who is having the problem at the orphanage with Boss Hogg, thus the reason the boy’s are trying to win the ultimate mission of the county derby so she can have enough money to pay off Boss Hogg.
The supporting antagonistic characters in this game were Boss Hogg, the king of crookedness in Hazzard County, Rosco P. Coltrane, bumbling sheriff who is always trying to please Boss Hogg but fouls up most of the time trying to catch the Duke boy’s breaking probation and finally Enos Strate, the most gullible deputy who melts under the influence of Daisy Duke.
The equipment used in this game was comprised of five variations of the General Lee, Uncle Jesse’s pickup that takes a lot of damage and is great to transport equipment that the boys need, Daisy’s Road Runner, by far a nice looking car and other vehicles such as Cooter’s tow truck, police cars, Boss Hogg’s Limousine, Double Zero, and even a bulldozer.
There are a few driving techniques that will assist you while driving the General Lee such as performing 180 degree turns, burnouts, stunts (can you say YEE-HAWWWW!!!). However if your driving techniques are not refined or if you haven’t practiced enough to handle the overly sensitive driving physics be prepared to experience some damage. The nice thing though is that damage doesn’t last too long and the car magically returns to it’s normal self.
As mentioned above, the car is very hard to handle at first, it takes time but it can feel at time like you are driving a truck on ice instead of a car. There is a lot of over steering issues as well as traction problems on the dirt roads of Hazzard County. However once you figure out the micro-movements needed this game was a good bit of fun to play.
Graphics for this game were above what I had anticipated. This game was well created except for the character of Luke, his face was out of sync compared to the rest of the character in real life. It seems as if they had to pretty him up more for this game.
Background graphics were also very well constructed and clearly distinguishable. It was nice that this game seemed more TV-like than just focused on the car. The only drawback was the lack of dust, as the cars seemed to be on dirt roads all the time in this game. Even when you changed camera angle the graphics kept up and the brothers were seen in the car all the time.
The cutscene movies were also well constructed and enjoyable to view. In between every you get to watch the story unfold in a nice CG movie, and a lengthy opening scene for the game gives a bit of series history for those who have never seen the show. It was nice to see that most of the characters were modeled to resemble the actors that portrayed them during the television series.
The good ole’ boys at Ubisoft did an average job on this game’s sound effects. You can tell they focused on the story and graphics more, which they should have done. This game utilizes the same narration-style as heard on the series as well as voices for each of the characters. This feature was good to hear as it could have been just as easy to have the narrator do all the talking in the cut scenes and gameplay areas.
The music was very reminiscent of the series and had many old country type tunes such as the opening theme the good ole’ boys. Compared to past Duke games this one was on the money and the only thing they could have done to improve it was to have Luke talk to Bo more during the game.
This game is comprised of fifteen missing that in the end will determine if the orphanage is saved or not. It also includes a retry area if you do not satisfactorily finish a mission. Thus if you can learn to handle the touchiness of the vehicles this game can be finished in a day or so I imagine. However it is a better estimate that a few days of casual playing are needed to finish this game. Unfortunately there is little or no replay value for this game as it follows the same story line.
Multiplayer gaming is unlocked as the single player game is completed. Eventually three split-screen multiplayer games that utilized ten differing vehicles are available for you and another player to try. The three types of games are 1) Hot pursuit: use squad cars to arrest your buddy. The person with the most arrest wins. 2) Demolition derby: Need I say more but last car standing wins? 3) Head-to-head: Race around the coal mine and the first one to the bottom of the pit wins the race.
Return Of The General Lee is the best Dukes of Hazzard game yet. If you are a fan of the series this games is aimed right at you. However the drawback is that most of the below 25 audience will not fully appreciate the context of this games, as they probably do not remember the series. This is definitely the major drawback on making a game based on a TV show from the 1980’s.
Overall this game was above average but could have been improved sound wise. I would recommend this game for an above 25 crowd and then for purchase if you loved the series. The control of the vehicles is tricky to master but possible if you have the patience. As the show always says, “come back y’all” to this game if you enjoyed the TV show.