If you lamented Dirt 3's decorum and its increased focus on the rally discipline, Codemasters has a flashy alternative in Dirt Showdown, coming to PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in May 2012. Gamespot has the first details on the spinoff, which eschews racing for a trio of arcade-style modes and a plethora of pyrotechnics.

Dirt Showdown features "Hoonigan events," in which you perform driving stunts within compounds around the world (similar to Dirt 3's gymkhana challenges). You'll also find a crunchy ode to collisions in the demolition derby events, alongside some more straightforward (minus those devilish hairpin turns) racing modes. You won't find point-to-point style dashes through lush foliage and arid landscapes here -- though Gamespot notes they'll "return with a renewed focus on simulation in Dirt 4."

The preview claims that Showdown has an answer to Need for Speed's Autolog, allowing racers to challenge and monitor each other's performance online. A "mission-based" mode provides the foundation for much of these social challenges.

It seems the game's style and tone, compared to Dirt 3, is perhaps best captured in the "King of the Ring" gametype, which sees all participating cars racing to a central point and then disintegrating into a shiny cloud of wrecked bits. And to think, we used to be so impressed when those triangles came flying off the cars in PlayStation's Destruction Derby.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.