Smashing Drive (also known as Smashing Drive: NYC-IIxM) is an over-the-top taxi cab racing game developed and released by Gaelco in Europe sometime in 2000. It was later released in North America by Namco on December 10, 2000.
Set throughout the US city of New York City, Smashing Drive has players driving a "super-cab" (a taxicab outfitted with numerous gadgets) as a taxi driver. Similar to the studio's earlier game Radikal Bikers, Smashing Drive has a frenzied over-the-top take on driving (where players dodge traffic while finding numerous shortcuts, sometimes through and over buildings). It also features multiple power-ups, allowing the taxicab to plow through traffic with its gadgets.
The game was later ported by Point of View to multiple consoles, released by Namco exclusively in North America for both the GameCube (on February 18, 2002) and Xbox (on May 13, 2002). This version includes some differences, such as locking most stages from the start, removing the passenger cutscenes, removing the high score system, and adding two new game modes (split-screen two-player multiplayer and a mode where the player fails when the vehicle is fully damaged).
The game also received a handheld Game Boy Advance port by DSI Games and Raylight Studios, released in both North America (by Namco on November 3, 2004) and Europe (by ZOO Digital Publishing on February 18, 2005). Along with including the changes from the Console versions, it is notable for being one of the few racing games for the system that is fully 3D-rendered. It also supports linked two-player multiplayer.
Unlike other taxi-focused games, such as Crazy Taxi, Smashing Drive plays similarly to the studio's earlier Radikal Bikers with linear progression split into multiple laps (or "Routes") per stage. Players are timed on each Route, only extending the countdown timer by going through checkpoints and collecting the Time power-up. Once the timer expires and the cab stops, the credit ends and players can attempt the Route again by inserting another credit.
Players are scored on each Route based on the time taken, the cab's condition (tied to the "Damage" meter), how many shortcuts (or "Risky Routes") were taken, and how many Turbo power-ups were collected. The Damage meter depletes as players bump into obstacles and walls. When the meter is fully depleted, the vehicle explodes (stalling the player as it recovers).
Continuous (Body Mod)
Only one Body Mod can be active at a time.
- Glider - Extends glider wings from the sides of the cab, improving its air maneuverability.
- 4x4 - Extends over-sized tires to the bottom of the cab, allowing it to drive over obstacles with ease.
Continuous (Front Mod)
Only one Front Mod can be active at a time.
- Crash - Extends a snowplow from the front bumper of the cab, allowing it to smash through obstacles with little speed or damage penalties.
- Cutter - Extends dual sawblades from the hood of the cab, allowing it to cut through certain obstacles.
- Turbo - Ignites the rockets from the trunk of the cab, significantly increasing its speed with a non-stop turbo boost.
- Sonic - Extends a pair of oversized horns to the top of the cab, allowing it to obliterate numerous obstacles in its path with sonic blasts by honking the horn. Unlike other power-ups, this one is used (and its meter depleted) by pressing/holding the Horn button.
- Repair - Replenishes the Damage gauge.
- Time - Extends the game timer by five seconds.
- Bonus - Adds bonus points.
- ? - Activates a random power-up.
The game includes four stages, or "Working Shifts". In the Console versions, players must progress through each stage in order. The first three stages are split up into three separate laps, or "Routes", with the fourth and last stage including one longer Route.
The first three stages also have a "Bonus Route" that is played once a player completes all three Routes with a high-enough score. Bonus Routes are modified versions of each stage's last Route with an abundance of power-ups, forced use of Risky Routes, and a more strict timer. Bonus Routes are played only once (with failures still ending the stage while continuing the game) and give a large amount of score (which is determined by how much of the Route is completed).