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    Excite Truck for Nintendo Wii


    One of the first games I played on Nintendo's new Wii console was Excite Truck. It was actually the game that sold me on the new system. There wasn't anything spectacularly flashy about the game, nothing that made it stand out too terribly much. However, the game was fun and addictive, and easy for a new player to get good at. The game was simple, it was fun, and it showed just what the system was fully capable of long before I was playing the new Zelda or Wii Sports.

    As a racing game, there really isn't a story to Excite Truck. Instead, you have two different ratings that the game gives you, and those two ratings determine your score and your medal. The first determining factor is rather straightforward- time. The faster you make it around the track, the lower your time and the higher your score. The second factor is much more fun- the points you scored. You actually score points in lots of different ways during the game. Crashing into another vehicle can earn you stars, as well as drifting around a tight curve. Even driving through an orchard of trees can earn you the valuable stars. There are icons that, when hit, will cause rings to appear mid-air. Sailing through them all will earn you stars, as will a nicely timed turbo-boost that launches you high into the air. The more tricks you do, the more stars, and the better your overall score. It may seem simple, but the addition of this second factor for the score is what provides so much endless entertainment. I still would have liked some sort of story behind the game, but I will settle for fun any day. For both disappointing me and making my gaming year, this game gets a 6.5 for story.

    Being a Wii game, you can expect some sort of incredibly fun control scheme. For this game, you use only the Wii remote. By holding the remote sideways, you can tilt the controller left or right to steer, and back and forth to even out for a landing. You gas is the 2 button, and your brake or reverse is the 1 button. Boosting is handled by the up button on the directional pad (normally the right button, but in this orientation, it is the button facing up). It sounds simple, and it is once you get the hang of it. Just because the controls are simple doesn't make the game easy, though. And the simple controls are what make the game so much fun. Any other control scheme would get boring after a while. The game makes it feel like you really are driving off road in a jeep, forcing other cars off the track and crashing into trees at breakneck speeds. For pushing the envelope and being the first, and still best racing game on the Wii, Excite Truck gets a solid 8.

    The double edge of being a Wii game comes back to haunt Excite Truck now. The price of innovative controls is the sacrifice of extreme graphics. While Excite Truck looks about as nice as many offroad games for the original Xbox, the game just doesn't look truly next-generation. There are flashy colors, some nice courses with lots of color, but the graphics just don't cut it in the next-gen war. The trees are quite blocky, and even the trucks themselves look very cartoony. Not that it keep the game from being fun, but it only rates a 7 for graphics- average.

    The sound for Excite Truck is pretty good. The engine roars up the hills, and chokes when it overheats from too much boosting. Hitting water at high speeds makes a cool noise, as does taking a high jump or ramming into another vehicle. Hitting an action icon floating in the course can make the earth tremble loudly, and some even make you temporarily invincible with a cool siren. It definitely makes for great racing sound effects, anyway, and gets another 7 for sound.

    Excite Truck is an amazingly fun game. Something about it is just appealing, and more people should try it out. It may not look like much, but it can give hours of fun, and can easily be picked up by someone who has never played the Nintendo Wii before. For opening the door of possibilities for every racing game that will follow it, Excite Truck gets a solid 7. Nothing too high, but definitely in the top 70% of games.

    Written by MT


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