One of the most exciting and exhilaratingly games on display for the Wii at E3 in my opinion was Excite Truck, which addresses Nintendo’s neglected genre of racing games. Racing games were a genre that were severely lacking for the GameCube. If you think that the name sounds familiar to you then it might be because of the Nintendo 64 game that this is a spin-off from Excitebike 64. With the introduction of trucks instead of bikes the series has stepped up a gear or to in action and excitement.
The game is controlled using the WiiMote held sideways and then you turn left and right, essentially using it as a simplistic steering wheel. The nunchuck attachment isn’t used at all. In the game quite a fair amount of the time is spent in the air because of the large amount of ramps and hills that there are, and while in the air you can still control the truck to some extent. You can tilt the car forwards or backwards so that you get a better landing position by moving the WiiMote forwards or backwards. It seems from this that the WiiMote will work very well with racing games.
There were only two tracks on show at E3 one in Mexico and the other in Fiji, so it seems that the game will take drivers to a variety of exotic locations, which will make a welcome change from the cartoon locations of Nintendo’s other racing game Mario Kart. The environments will also vary with different weather settings that should affect the handling and performance of your truck. In the Fiji track there were quite a few trees and these seemed to be a problem as many people were crashing into these disrupting the flow of the game. It seemed almost too easy to crash and there are too many objects scattered around the course that would cause a crash. Fortunately the developers have compensated for this by giving you a massive boost after you crash which you can get by hammering down repeatedly the A button.
One of the most exciting new features about the game is that you can accumulate stars while racing through the tracks by doing tricks, overtaking other racers or coming first. And the higher the number of stars you collect in a race the better the grade you will receive at the end of that race. In every course there are several spinning question marks scattered around the course. When you get these it will result in the course being deformed with dips and pits or hills and lumps. These could either be a disadvantage to you or the other racers around you depending on where they appear. This could prove to be a very interesting way of getting the advantage over your opponents.
The graphics in the game aren’t much better than most current GameCube games and Nintendo need to improve them significantly before the game launches. However there were quite a few nice touches to the graphics in the game. It seems like Nintendo haven’t attempted an ultra-realistic approach to the game’s visuals but more a childish exaggerated look to the game in fitting with the gameplay.
Excite Truck has a lot of potential if Nintendo are able to make a wide range of different and exciting tracks, with possibly a new feature or two added to those that are already there. The game definitely suits the Wii’s control scheme and could be a great title from Nintendo, however it is likely to be overshadowed by the more well known titles being released at launch from Nintendo, ie Zelda and Metroid.
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