It may not be regarded as one of the greatest games to be released on XBLA, but it was easily one of the most downloaded. Join us as we celebrate 5 years since Doritos Crash Course 2.
In the week that was beginning 6th May 2013 the second film in the rebooted Star Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness, was released, followed by The Great Gatsby from Baz Luhrmann. Sadly though, visual effects master Ray Harryhausen passed away this week also.
The Crash Course series originally started out as an entry into the Doritos Unlock Xbox competition, where the winning entries were transformed into free games available on XBLA for the 360. The first winner was Dash of Destruction, whose only positive was the fact it delivered free Gamerscore. Crash Course was the second winner alongside another, more forgettable game called Harms Way, and released in December 2010. Performing well, it rightly deserved a sequel and Crash Course 2 released on 8th May 2013.
Crash Course 2 is a side-scrolling platformer very much in the vein of Ninja Warrior or Total Wipeout. Players control their own avatars – the user created ones on the Xbox dashboard – and attempt to complete the courses in the fastest time possible. Whereas the first game contained levels based on countries, Crash Course 2 went for locations and themes. It was a much larger game in every aspect.
The game introduced some real competitive instincts within me. It was very simple to pick-up and play, and each level had its own specific leaderboard. As the game was released for free – it did have microtransactions – many of my friends list downloaded it too, so the leaderboards were full of entries. It even included ghosts of your friends to compete against, and really was one of those games where you were constantly thinking ‘Just one more try’.
But this game leaves a bittersweet taste in my mouth, because it’s the only time that a server closure has resulted in me going full Achievement Hunter to make sure I had every last one unlocked before they become unobtainable. And I did it, but my word did I cut it fine.
I had just started a college course which meant one day a week I went there instead of going to work. The announcement came out that the servers would shut down on 15th October 2014 – a Wednesday – and the day I go to college. As this was a game that required to be online all the time it meant that all the Achievements would be unobtainable once the servers shut down. Which was a massive shame as it had been on the Xbox Store less than 18 months and was already set to disappear.
When the announcement came, I only had 19 of the 28 achievements. Normally when a server closure happens I am non-too fussed about it (it’s always a shame but I don’t rush home to maximise my Gamerscore output for that particular game.) Crash Course 2 was a relatively easy completion though, so I decided to put in those final few hours to unlock the remaining nine achievements. Foolish of me to think it would only take a few hours. My ordeal started in the early hours of Saturday 11th October 2014.
First off, I decided to concentrate on completing each level without dying. I could take my time over this and not have to worry about the clock so much. With sleep between sessions, I completed this early Saturday morning. This just left the collectibles, bonus objectives and – what I thought would be the trickiest – the online tournament collectible one.
I thought the latter would be hardest not because the lobbies would be empty – they were full with other like-minded folk concerned about the server closure – but because quite frankly, I was pretty terrible at Crash Course 2.
Whilst collecting the stars in the single player levels, I switched over to the multiplayer as a quick test to see how hard this achievement would be. It popped! First time of asking in the early hours of Tuesday 14th October. That left me with the final night to complete all the bonus objectives and beat the set times. I was on the home straight. It had taken longer than I expected to find all the collectibles, but surely the times are forgiving enough that even I could complete them all within an hour and have this all wrapped up.
I started on the final night at about 10:30pm – which is usually my bed time on a school night anyways – with the intention of having this all wrapped up by 11:30pm, and only missing an hour of sleep. I could live with that. Three achievements to go.
According to the timestamp of my first cheevo unlocked that night it was 00:04am on the 15th October. Things weren’t going to plan but I could see the end in sight. Just two achievements to go.
37 minutes later at 00:41 I unlocked the second one, but by now I was getting into dangerous territory time wise. Anyone who knows this game will know that two hours is a long time sat playing, but by completing all these bonus objectives, I had completed most of the levels and only had one silver medal left to get. But I was really struggling. One more achievement to go.
1:00am, and I had been on the same level for over an hour trying to get one last silver medal winning time after leaving this levels’ challenges until last. Not even a gold medal was required. I had to be up for college in four hours and I was ready to admit defeat. It was already hit and miss as to whether I would make the first lesson that day. I gave it one last go, very flippant in my approach to the level that was going to be my downfall.
It was a flawless run. It could not have gone any better. I was running on pure adrenaline at this point and seeing that last Achievement unlock meant I had just received an extra dose and I was buzzing. The only problem now was trying to get to sleep, which took almost as long as the last few Achievements again due to the ecstasy I was feeling right now.
It’s safe to say I had to skip my first Electrical Engineering class that day at college. Maths, if you are interested.
Most annoyingly though, the servers actually remained open for a day or two afterwards. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the off button wasn’t pressed on 15th October as originally expressed.
Normally at this point we would discuss how you are able to play this game if the above sounded intriguing but yes, the servers are closed, so there is no way to be able to play this game anymore. Since the first Crash Course came out, the Doritos Unlock Xbox competition hasn’t run since, and arguably Crash Course was the best game to come out of this initiative.
Thankfully, developers Behaviour Interactive are still functioning and have been involved recently with such games as Fallout Shelter, Dishonored: Definitive Edition and Defiance 2050, but there is no mention of a Crash Course 3. After how the last one went though – both personally and servers lasting less than 18 months – I am not sure how excited I would be at the mention of a third game.
What are your memories of the Doritos games? Did you suffer as much as I did on Crash Course 2? Let us know as always in the comments below!