Destruction Derby (1995)

by Nish
6 minutes read


Destruction Derby (1995) is an iconic title in the racing and vehicular combat genre, offering players an unmatched experience of chaos and destruction on the track. Its innovative gameplay and technical prowess have cemented its status as a classic.


Destruction Derby (1995) stands as a hallmark in the racing genre, revolutionizing vehicular combat with its release. This article delves into the essence of the game, exploring its innovative gameplay, enduring legacy, and the impact it had on the gaming community.


“Destruction Derby” is a vehicular combat racing video game that was developed by Reflections Interactive and published by Psygnosis. The game was first released in October 1995 for the PlayStation, with an MS-DOS port and later a Sega Saturn port. The game is based on the sport of demolition derby, where the player’s task is to race and destroy cars to score points.

The game features simulated physics to make the results of collisions easier to predict. The developers kept the game’s tracks small to increase the number of wrecks. The game engine supports up to twenty cars on screen simultaneously, which was a significant achievement at the time.

“Destruction Derby” contains three vehicles. Collisions in the game affect the controls of each car, limiting their steering and maximum speed. Frontal collisions risk damage to the car’s radiator, which causes the car to overheat and stop running.

The game offers four modes: Destruction Derby, Wreckin’ Racing, Stock Car Racing, and Time Trial. In Destruction Derby, the player earns points by destroying other cars in a large, trackless arena called The Bowl. In Stock Car Racing, the player must finish in first place, and no points are awarded for destroying cars. Wreckin’ Racing is a hybrid of the two, in which the player earns points both by winning the race and by destroying other cars. Time Trial is a solo time attack mode.

The PlayStation version features system link play for two players, while the MS-DOS version has an online multiplayer mode. The game started the Destruction Derby franchise, beginning with its 1996 sequel, Destruction Derby 2.

The British development studio Reflections Interactive began creating “Destruction Derby” for the PlayStation in late 1994. It was published by Sony Computer Entertainment’s Psygnosis branch, which allowed Reflections to receive PlayStation development kits long before that console’s release.

The game debuted at the May 1995 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Its initial title was variously reported as Demolition Derby and Demolish ’em Derby. Writers for Edge and Next Generation commented that the game could “trounce” Ridge Racer upon the PlayStation’s release.

“Destruction Derby” was well-received by critics who praised its graphics and car damage system. However, the Sega Saturn releases received mixed reviews. Despite this, the game was successful enough to spawn a franchise, starting with “Destruction Derby 2” in 1996.

“Destruction Derby” is a classic game that brought the thrill and excitement of demolition derby to the gaming world. Its innovative use of physics and damage systems, combined with its fun and challenging gameplay modes, made it a hit among gamers and critics alike. The game’s success led to the creation of a franchise that continues to be enjoyed by fans of vehicular combat racing games.


While the game lacks traditional characters, players encounter a diverse array of opponents, each with unique driving styles and aggression levels, including the notorious ‘Suicide Squaddies,’ ‘Skum,’ and ‘The Optician.’


Destruction Derby features multiple game modes, including Wrecking Racing, Stock Car Racing, and the titular Destruction Derby arenas. Players earn points by finishing races and wrecking opponents, striving to ascend from Rookie to Pro.


Destruction Derby remains a beloved classic, celebrated for its pioneering approach to the racing genre. It set a high bar for vehicular combat games, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to influence the industry.

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