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Rage: The Scorchers

I was enjoying RAGE before, almost mimicking death itself, it abruptly finished without the option to continue. The Scorchers goes some way to healing the mental wound inflicted on players who were similarly irked by the experience. Costing a mere 400 MS points, offering 2-3 hours of decent playtime and allowing the game to continue once it’s finished all contributes to a satisfying DLC pack. The featured segment was originally included in the main game but was severed from the whole at some point and only grafted back on now like a bionic implant improving the host organism.

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The Scorchers brings you back to the Northern Wasteland found in the game’s superior first half. A new prompt appears suggesting you investigate the newly-added Hagar Caves where you’re introduced to a tough NPC, Sarah, who helps you take out a slew of mutants before bestowing a new weapon, the nailgun, upon you. Excellent. This self-referential device of death-dealing (See id’s 90’s classic Quake) will make you laugh (the steel-rod Rebar ammo sticking foes to walls), cry (shooting the nail ammo is akin to peppering enemies with, well, actual pepper) and cack yourself with glee (railgun slugs – no spoilers on this one).

“Accessible style ”Although I hadn’t played the game for over a year, it wasn’t long before the multi-ammo type, noggin’ exploding shootouts were back in full effect and RAGE’s accessible style enveloped me once again. The story soon reveals the titular Scorchers – an asteroid-worshipping pyromaniac bandit army who were previously only encountered through vehicular combat sections in the main game. They’re by no means an original clan – they’re a blend of Gearheads and Wasted, but they can be a high-powered force in squads and the fortified Scorcher Jets are especially fearsome. This toughness, however, is easily bested by the content’s other new foes, the armoured mutants.

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Possessing preternatural speed and a granite-like carapace, swarms of these nightmarish beings will easily bring you down should you become disorientated by a flanking scoop mutant attack (especially on a respectable difficulty). As for the Scorchers themselves, it’s a shame you can’t loot their gear and acquire a jet-pack and flame-thrower/launcher for your own fiery exploits, but that’s probably asking a lot considering the game contains two-foot high boxes you can’t even jump over, lest you defect from the game’s rigid pre-aligned paths.

“New locations”The DLC contains a few new locations and these are bolstered by the unlocking of some previously off-limits doors, such as the Jackpots casino in Wellspring. RAGE has such an abundance of these doors that, although it’s unlikely any will come to light, future DLC could open them up and there’d be plenty of new space to blow apart. Another wish-list item for the DLC would’ve been an option to exterminate the encroaching Authority presence from the locations they’ve occupied, although this is a minor gripe.

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Presenting the aforementioned worthwhile content and also including another round of the compelling and darkly comic Mutant Bash TV, ultra-nightmare difficulty mode, new mini-games (poker addiction, anyone?), beautiful landscape vistas (for those who appreciate such sights) and an actual boss battle – The Scorchers is a fine way to re-familiarise yourself and extend the run-time of this under-appreciated throwback shooter.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2009. Get in touch on Twitter @p_etew.

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