Destruction Derby Arenas
DDA PAL front
Developer Studio 33
Publisher EU: SCEE
NA: Gathering of Developers
Original release 2004
Players 1-2 players (up to 20 players online)
Ratings ESRB: T
PEGI: 12+
Predecessor Destruction Derby Raw

Destruction Derby Arenas is fifth installment in the Destruction Derby series, first released in January 2004 exclusively for the PlayStation 2. It was developed by Studio 33 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in Europe, and by Gathering of Developers in North America. It has been so far the last video game in the series.


On 2 April 2002, GameSpot reported that Studio 33 was working on Destruction Derby 4, a successor to Destruction Derby Raw.[1] In March 2003, Destruction Derby Arenas was first publicised by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE). It was also revealed at this time that the game would be playable online.[2] SCEE also demonstrated a demo version of the new game at E3 2003.[3]

Nick Koufou, the game's project leader, said in June 2003 that the biggest new feature of Destruction Derby Arenas was its online multiplayer, allowing up to 20 players to race online. Koufou also called the "interactive environments" of the tracks a great new addition that will "distinguish DDA from its predecessors or any other racing game." He also said that the game was aiming for 'ridiculousness' rather than realism.[4] DDA was one of the earliest titles that supported the PS2 online service in the European market.[5]

On 15 August 2003, SCEE launched an official website at, which had information about the game including its tracks and the characters' profiles. Some of the content, particularly the attributions of the characters' cars, were changed by the time the game was released, but the website was never updated. Surprisingly the server for this website was still alive until as late as 2016.

On 16 October 2003, Electronic Arts announced that it had purchased developer Studio 33 and that it would be incorporated into its North West team in nearby Warrington, England.[6]

Pre-release differencesEdit

Using information gathered from screenshots or trailers, there are many differences that were noted between earlier preview versions and the final one:

  • The visuals were brighter, with much more intense colours.
  • Rims and vehicle bodies where much shinier.
  • Explosion smoke was grey, instead of black in the final release.

A flexible car customisation feature shown in the trailer, but not released

  • All cars had orange headlights instead of clear like in the final game.
  • Cars could be customised in different ways. In the final game, you can only earn permanent upgrades. See Car Customisation for more details about this cut feature.
  • The default rims were different. They were gold-ish, and had more, thinner spokes
  • The camera was positioned lower.
  • There weren't any camera animations during the countdown.
  • Throwing opponents in arena traps wouldn't earn you any scores.
  • When the game's logo landed on the screen a loud impact could be heard. This is muted in the final game.
  • N2O bottles were meant to turn red when completely filled, with smoke emitting from the valves. Also the bottles in the HUD would shake.
  • In the Titan arena, the large spinning stone wall was meant to be made out of steel, and had a different shape. This can still be seen in the arena's preview video in the selection screen.
  • The HUD was more basic, and had an indicator of how many opponents you have killed by putting a number of skulls on the screen.

Overall there were a large amount of changes made between the preview at E3 and the final release version.

Retail versionEdit

DDA title

The title screen

The game's release build was completed on 24 November 2003,[7] around the same time the playable demo from Official PlayStation 2 Magazine (Demo 40, SCED-51535 and SCED-51565) arrived. Destruction Derby Arenas was finally released in Europe on 9 January 2004, with the American release almost three months later published there by Gathering of Developers.

SCEE had also sponsored a banger racing team called "The Demons" from Darlaston in the West Midlands, England. Their car designs were used in the game.[8] A sponsored event commemorating the game's launch and featuring The Demons took place at Hednesford Hills Raceway.[9]

Release datesEdit

PlayStation 2
  • EU: 9 January 2004
  • NA: 30 March 2004

Online shut downEdit

Screenshot (3)

Sony's DNAS servers have been shutdown, blocking online play

On 30 June 2008, the online service for Destruction Derby Arenas, among several other games, were closed down.[10] When you attempt to go online nowadays, all you're greeted with is an error message (see picture).


Titan gp3

A derby in Titan

Destruction Derby Arenas had a major revamp in style, shedding the former found in the earlier PlayStation titles in favour of a more arcade-like racer with a brighter, cartoonish tone and colour palette. Its gameplay has had major changes with the addition of Nitro boosting and introducing a large variety of other pick-ups, such as the Shield or the TNT. Race tracks are widely 'interactive' now, adding several new gameplay elements rather than just focusing on the demolition derby and driving.

The main Championship is now divided into four 'rounds', each containing three race events and finishing with a derby, after which a medal is given to the player and new car customisation tools are unlocked. There's also once again a commentator in the game.

The game also supported local multiplayer with up to 2 human players in both Wrecking Racing race events and Destruction Bowl derby events.

Points systemEdit

The points (now called 'Score') are now given out in several categories on top of the race position:

  • Spin - deals with the spinning of opponents.
  • Style - points given for jumps, flips, turns and other similar performances.
  • Power - given for hitting opponents, including performing a 'Gut Wrencher', or just gripping, which is referred to in the game as 'killing'.

In addition there is also a pick-up called Points which gives extra points to the player.

Game modesEdit

DDA menu

Destruction Derby Arenas Main Menu

DDA track

Track selection

*Online modes are no longer playable since the online service of the game has been switched off and are unable to be played offline.





In the 2006 video game FlatOut 2 (not related to Destruction Derby), the bowls/arenas are listed in the manual as 'Destruction Derby Arenas', with all caps.


Unlike the previous DD games, in Destruction Derby Arenas there are characters who have a full profile including a storyline, and all of whom are playable. Each one of them drives a different sort of vehicle with different statistics. Initially the statistics are pretty average or low, but as the player progresses with each character, additional car upgrades are rewarded for the specific character.

The player starts out with four characters (the first four listed here) and gradually more are unlocked.

Bonus CarsEdit

There are five bonus cars that can be unlocked. Each are also playable in a Championship.


The in-game music was composed by Simon Withenshaw who hails from Cheshire, England. In addition there was also one licensed song from American rock band Queens of the Stone Age.

Track no Name Artist Featured in Length
#1 Main Menu Theme Simon Withenshaw Main Menu 2:53
#2 Full Power Simon Withenshaw Airfield, Under Construction, Titan 3:06
#3 Bulletproof Simon Withenshaw Chinatown, Harbour, Refinery, Redline 2:57
#4 Nitrous Simon Withenshaw Casino, The Dam 3:06
#5 Overload Simon Withenshaw Colosseum, B-Movie, Rough Justice 2:55
#6 Subsonic Simon Withenshaw Steelworks, South Central, Subway 3:05
#7 Supernova Simon Withenshaw Chinatown 2, Casino 2, South Central 2 2:43
#8 Regular John Queens of the Stone Age Replays 4:35





Reviewer Score
GameSpot 6.2 out of 10[11]
Die Hard Game Fan 33%[12]
Video Games Daily 5.4 out of 10[13]
IGN 4.5 out of 10[14]

Destruction Derby Arenas received a mostly mixed to negative critical reception. Critics were unhappy with the game's bad handling controls, no restart option in races, and online-only modes that could not be played offline. Its deviation of realism was also criticised.

Matt Yeager from Die Hard Game Fan felt that the game's single player modes were too easy and short-lived, and criticised the fact that the four online modes are not playable offline. He also felt that even with the online modes, the gameplay is too "bland".[12] Video Games Daily staff felt that apart from online play, the game offered little else, and that the core gamplay is "sorely lacking." The review stated that the most visual stand-out were the environments of the tracks and bowls, but that otherwise the graphics were outdated.[13]

Ed Lewis of IGN thought that DDA has a "cheap and flimsy feel", and criticised both the "floaty" car physics and the car designs that look like "toys". Speaking of graphics he said that the cars and environment are "low in polygons" with "flat" textures, and that it is more comparable to an original PlayStation game.[14]


  1. Destruction Derby 4 coming to PS2?. GameSpot (2 April 2002).
  2. Justin Calvert (7 March 2003). Hands-on Destruction Derby Arenas. GameSpot.
  3. Jeff Gerstmann (15 May 2003). Destruction Derby Arenas Impressions. GameSpot.
  4. Martin Taylor (24 June 2003). Destruction Derby Goes Online. Eurogamer.
  5. Alfred Hermida (13 June 2003). Taking the PlayStation online. BBC News.
  6. Tom Bramwell (16 October 2003). EA buys Studio 33 for undisclosed sum.
  7. Destruction Derby Arenas (Sep 4, 2003 prototype). Hidden Palace.
  8. The Demons. John Marlow Racepix.
  9. Still a smashing time as Hednesford Hills Raceway celebrates 50th anniversary. Express & Star (10 June 2013).
  10. Ludwig Kietzmann (7 April 2008). SCEE severing several servers for online PS2, PSP games. Engadget.
  11. Jeff Gerstmann (6 April 2004). Destruction Derby Arenas Review. GameSpot.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Matt Yeager (27 April 2004). Review: Destruction Derby Arenas (PS2). Die Hard Game Fan.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specified. Kikizo (3 February 2004).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ed Lewis (30 March 2004). Destruction Derby Arenas - IGN. IGN.


  • Nick Koufou, Tom Shepherd, Daniel Treble, Phil Hilliard, Shaun Morris, John White, Joe Kemp, Nick Edwards, Paul Hudak, Nadia Ankrah, Barry Fitzgerald, Nick Metcalfe, Richard Bloor
  • Greg Duddle
  • John Carter, Jeremy Ramsay, David Glanister, Ian Hall, Lee Wagner, Dominic Giles, Dave Newhouse, Mathew Spaull, Stuart Walls, Mathew Wilkins, Andrew Dolan, Nick Hinton
Special Thanks
  • Darrell Gallagher, Chris Carty, Rich Yandle, Tasos Brakis, Jim Chamouratidis, Vag Livaditis, Tom Fields, Stuart Lee, Simon Cox, Paul Holders, Fraser McLachlan, Eric Cheung, Nick Burcombe, Brett King, Sandra Connor, Val Reekie
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