Interstate '76: Nitro Pack is a video game for Microsoft Windows. It was developed by Activision and released in 1997. A stand alone expansion pack and prequel for the original Interstate '76, it didn't require the original game be installed to play. It is known as Interstate '76: Nitro Riders in some territories.
Like its predecessor, the game is in the southwest United States of America in an alternate version of the American oil crisis, between the years 1974 and 1976, with the final (chronological) mission taking place just two days before Interstate '76 begins. The game features identical gameplay to the original, but adds several new motor vehicles, new weapons, and new paint schemes for existing vehicles. In a step backwards from its predecessor, most cut-scenes for the expansion were rendered using the games graphics engine as apposed to the originals per-rendered cut-scenes. This limited the setting of the cut-scenes to outdoor areas and cars only; no people were shown and dialog took place using CB radio communication between the vehicles.
There are three play modes available in the game: the "Scenarios", nineteen loosely-connected missions that provide a backstory to the Interstate '76 universe and set the stage for the first game; "Multi Melee", an online deathmatch version of the game; and "Auto Melee", a deathmatch with computer-driven cars. Like the original game, players can choose from a variety of customizable vehicles for the Scenarios.
The game focuses on the activities of the auto-vigilante movement known as the AVG or Auto-Vigilante Guild, between the years 1974 and 1976. Taurus, Jade, and Skeeter (along with allies the Wolf Pack, Radiator Mother, and Hell Toupee), face a variety of auto-villains and slowly learn of the conspiracy that is the centerpiece of Interstate '76. The game's opening sequence features the first meeting of Jade and Taurus, and the final mission takes place two days before Jade's murder, itself the opening sequence of the first game.
- Taurus, voiced by Greg Eagles
- Taurus isn't his real name - it's what people call him. He also goes by the radio codename "Stampede." He lived as a poet in New England with a wife and daughter, before they were killed by criminals. He is fond of the film Love Story. He is playable in six missions.
- Jade Champion, voiced by Lisa Picotte
- Feisty and headstrong, Jade is Taurus's partner and possibly lover. She goes by the radio codename "Vixen." She is intent on discovering who is amassing the army of auto-villains, a mission that will eventually cost her her life. She is playable in five missions.
- Skeeter, voiced by Tom Kane
- Skeeter serves as the mechanic and Greek chorus for the series' heroes. He goes by the radio codename "Monkeywrench." He repairs the player's vehicles between missions and occasionally is the focus of the in-game missions. He is playable in four missions.
- Natty Dread, voiced by Tom Kane
- An auto-villain and member of the "Voodoo Riders" gang, Natty Dread is out to serve his own agenda, specifically, making as much money as possible. He is playable in four missions, which must be unlocked by completing Taurus, Jade, and Skeeter's missions.
One of the most interesting aspects of Interstate '76 is that all the in-game vehicles are based on real-world automobiles, featuring many American muscle cars. This tradition is continued into the Nitro Pack, which adds fourteen new vehicles to the mix.
References to Other Media
- One of Taurus's missions is titled "A New Hope." Another mission, "Velocity," parodies the plot of the film Speed, with Taurus having to disarm a bomb on a bus.
- The mission "Piece Be With You" begins and ends with Taurus and Jade discussing the films Dirty Harry and Love Story respectively.
- One of Skeeter's missions is titled "Mojo Rising," a reference to The Doors song "L.A. Woman." Another is titled "Never Get Out," a reference to the character's insistence that you should never get out of the car, a sidelong reference to Apocalypse Now.
- The game's intro begins with Taurus requesting assistance from Convoy, one of the primary characters in the Vigilante 8 series. In the game's training mode, Taurus mentions that Convoy trained him.
- The mission entitled "Betrayed" begins with Jade asking Taurus if he thinks it would really cost six million bucks to make someone bionic. This is a reference to Steve Austin in The Six Million Dollar Man.