If you're over 20 years old, you should remember the heady days of the original PlayStation, a time in gaming when stepping into a car wasn't about getting to the finish line first but causing as much destruction as possible. See: Carmageddon, Twisted Metal, Destruction Derby...
Vigilante 8: Arcade is a real treat in that it reminds you of summers lost to split-screen gaming. A remake of one of the more popular vehicular combat games of yore, it has all the characteristics of the genre back then - power-ups with ridiculous names, themed arenas of destruction, car balance issues, garish special effects and two cars circling each other vying for a good shooting position until someone else breaks up the party.
This is so faithful to the genre lost to gaming's history, it even manages to copy its flaws. The single player is a fairly humdrum experience, with the AI cars lacking the personality needed to bring each battle to life. It's also hindered by its own stingy design. Car battles followed by a boss battle with no checkpoints or even respawning health pick-ups? Eurgh. You have to summon every ounce of patience you can to hit restart when the boss appears and pounds on your near wrecked vehicle over and over again.
It's in multiplayer that Vigilante 8: Arcade really shines. With eight players online, this is some of the best fun Xbox Live Arcade has to offer. Arenas are packed with exploding scenery so with weapons generously scattered around, almost making them harder to avoid than to pick-up, it's not long before you're firing on all cylinders while bits of car and scenery rain down around you. The drive-around-and-shoot-other-players is a simple formula but even after all these years, it's that simplicity makes it great fun to play.
Vigilante 8: Arcade is a glorious throwback to a simpler age in gaming, one that older gamers can appreciate and younger gamers can discover. It will only be as fun for as long as the Live community is there to support it but it's damn fun, so jump on while it lasts.
One of the best multiplayer XBLA games out there