Thursday, December 18, 2008

doritos delivers delicious digital diversion

You know that they put advertisements in games now? It’s true. Everyone from Adidas to Barack Obama is getting in on it. But, but, did you know that now they sometimes put games in advertisements too? Enter Doritos Dash of Destruction, currently a free download from Xbox Live Arcade. This game was apparently the result of a contest that some criticized, but after more than a year of agonizing waiting, it is finally here for all of us to enjoy!

puts you in one of two roles – you can be a Doritos truck driver, delivering Doritos to the hungry citizens of the generic cities you drive around in, or you can be a T-Rex, tasked with eating said Doritos trucks because, as the game explains, dinosaurs love Doritos.

Driver or dinosaur, you’ve got six levels to play, though they all feel pretty much the same. Between levels, a strange man upgrades your vehicle/lizard, all the while spouting “funny” and “hip” things to get the kids interested. Said upgrades also do little to alter the gameplay. Being a dinosaur is fun because you get to smash the hell out of buildings. The rest of it is an exercise in button-mashing.

What we’ve got here is a game that will take fifteen minutes, tops, of your time to play all the way through, and you’d better bring about that much of your own music because the in-game soundtrack is mostly repetitive drums and toneless guitar crunching – again, probably because that whole “xTreem” thing appeals to the younger set. I just don’t understand them.

Since it’s free, and since it yields most of its 200 Achievement points during that fifteen minute playthrough, it’s hard to pass up. I’ve got to wonder how much these “advergames” really do for the companies that invest in them, though – at least to get Sneak King you had to go in and pony up for a kids’ meal, but they’re not even asking for money. This promotion seems to work on the honor system – in theory, I will buy Doritos instead of Famous Ray’s Cheezy Chipz because, hey, they did give me a free dinosaur game! Can they even recoup the $500 they poured into its development?

The best part of the game is its introduction of the term “Doritosaurus Rex.” This alone is reason enough to forgive its shortcomings.