Looking back to 2010 and the free feast of Doritos Crash Course

Xbox One

There’s nothing better than munching on a bag of Doritos, preferably Cool flavour, with a cheesy dip while having a night in watching films. But did you know Doritos used to be the life and soul of gaming sessions? You didn’t have to get your controllers messy either, as I’m referring to the 2010 party game Doritos Crash Course. It’s been an entire decade since then and so it’s about time to look back at what made this freebie such a memorable experience.

Doritos Crash Course (formerly known as Avatar Crash Course) actually has an interesting origin story, for it first came to our attention as part of an Doritos sponsored Xbox Live Arcade competition called ‘Unlock Xbox’. It arrived on 8th December, 2010 for Xbox 360 alongside fellow finalist Harms Way – a combat racer set in the wastelands. Fans could download both for free in order to vote for their favourite game, with the winner’s creator set to be awarded a cash prize. Doritos Crash Course claimed victory, but because both games received such a warm reception, the individuals responsible for both concepts each garnered a $50,000 prize. It was a win-win for everyone!

Doritos Crash Course US

Essentially, Doritos Crash Course is a 2D platformer, which isn’t anything out of the ordinary in that sense. It plays out like a Saturday evening gameshow, with various obstacles to traverse in a race to the finish. If you think of a Ninja Warrior UK and Total Wipeout hybrid, you won’t be too far off grasping the idea. The crowds go wild when you’re on a roll and the atmosphere is electric as you make your way to the end – the whole setup just works by creating the feeling that you’re on TV.

In total there are 15 different levels spread out across the US, Europe and Japan, with each environment having its own style. They are filled with ingenious obstacle courses that start off rather straightforward before getting pretty complicated. The ramps and conveyor belts were fairly easy to navigate, while the swing ropes, fans and disappearing ledges really kicked up the difficulty. No level appears too similar to another and there are a multitude of clever ideas implemented throughout.

Possessing a very simple set of controls ensures anyone can get involved, from children to grannies. All you have to get to grips with is the thumbstick for movement, the triggers for a speed boost and the jump button. Knowing the controls and mastering the mechanics are entirely different things though, which is why it became instantly addictive to competitive gamers. There’s always room to shave a few milliseconds off your best times and that is the crucial hook. The ability to use your own Xbox avatar really adds a personal touch to proceedings too. 

There’s terrific longevity in Doritos Crash Course, despite a relatively small amount of levels and basic gameplay – on paper at least. Most of that comes about due to the multiplayer aspect, which enables up to four contestants to battle it out online or locally. It’s a rare kind of fun from proving your skills and showing off against people you know. Even now, I remember the hilarity as a mate is sent flying by a swinging hammer or got squashed by a deadly piece of machinery. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many incredibly enjoyable sessions on it and the fact it’s not cost a penny, well, that’s priceless.

Just over two years after release, at the beginning of 2013, the emergence of cheap DLC titled ‘City Lights’ breathed new life into the game with 10 fresh levels to tackle set in Las Vegas and London. This was clearly a ploy to get the Doritos Crash Course name on everyone’s minds ahead of a sequel. Indeed, on 8th May, 2013 Doritos Crash Course 2 was unleashed to the masses and introduced four themed worlds to jump into – Amazon, Antarctic, Egypt, and Pirate Island. 

Unfortunately it didn’t quite take off as well, with some serious grinding required to unlock all the levels being quite off-putting. Worse yet, the game was delisted after just 18 months and so now all we have are memories. While a third instalment seems highly unlikely right now, let’s hope that someone, somewhere, is secretly developing it. 

Don’t worry though, the original is still alive and kicking via the Xbox Store, and thanks to Backwards Compatibility will continue to be a great option for Xbox One and Series X|S party-starters. If you decide to jump back in any time soon, let us know how Doritos Crash Course feels ten years on by leaving a comment below. Even if you just want to reminisce about the enjoyment you’ve got from it previously, we’d love to hear you out.

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