Review by Larcen Tyler
"Ridin' the storm out!"
Ladies and gentlemen, grab your wet suits and prepare to get wetter than you ever thought you could! With Wave Race: Blue Storm, the long anticipated sequel to the Nintendo 64 bestseller, Blue Storm shows us that riding the waves can only get better when the storm rolls around to add some excitement to them! With new courses, new riders, and other new features, this is one storm you won't regret getting caught in!
If the original game's graphics stunned you, then expect to be blown away with these graphics! You'll see things like killer whales surfacing in the arctic, elephants trumpeting in the Aztec jungle, and riders making gestures to opposing riders as they pass one another. The water effects are nothing short of amazing. You'll see the wake of opposing racers as you follow them, splashes when you land hard from a jump, and even see your screen get splashed with water on occasion!
Another notable thing is that the riders no longer wear crash helmets, meaning you can actually see their faces now. One thing I thought, though, was that Ayumi Stewart had blonde hair in the original game. Did she dye her hair or what? (OK, so that's getting off the point, but still!)
Each character has his or her own crew chief who gives advice throughout the race. They'll tell you things like when someone's about to pass you, how you're doing, and how to properly pass the buoys without getting penalized for going the wrong way a la slalom racing. While a few lines are kind of cheesy here and there, most of the time the crew chiefs have good advice to tell you throughout the game. The racers will utter a few lines here and there, although you won't hear them speaking any taunts throughout the race, though you will hear them yell when they crash or fall off their jet ski.
You may find that the controls are little too loose or too tight for your liking when you first start out, but the game offers you the ability to customize your rider's engine handling, allowing you to set the tightness of the controls just the way you like it. Just like the previous game, there are still buoys that you must pass on the proper side to increase your power, whereas going the wrong way around one resets your power to the lowest level, and you earn a penalty mark. Earning five penalties ejects you from the race. New to this game, however, is the ability to use stunts to earn extra power, plus when you're at full power, you can fire off a turbo boost, giving you that extra blast of speed you'll need!
While Miles Jeter from the original game didn't quite make it, Ayumi Stewart, Ryota Hayami, and Dave Mariner all return along with newcomers Nigel Carver and Serena del Mar. To round things out, 1080 Snowboarding boarders Akari Hayami, Ricky Winterborn, and Rob Haywood all make a guest appearance as new riders as well, bringing the total to eight riders!
The championship mode allows you to unlock new tracks for exhibition mode as well as in the stunt mode, where you compete to earn as many points as you can within the time limit by performing various stunts and cool moves. However, that's not all there is to it. You can also unlock weather conditions, such as cloudy, rainy, or thunderstorming! Depending on the weather and difficulty level, various changes to the course can occur based on the weather. You may find yourself facing a downed tree during a thunderstorm or high waves during a rainstorm! Thankfully, there's also a useful tutorial mode which helps you get the hang of each and every move within the game, and it's a good thing too, because it's not as simple as it looks!
Whether you like aquatic racing or just want to get caught in the storm, Wave Race: Blue Storm is definitely the next best thing to slipping into a rubber suit and getting soaked just trying to complete a lap in first place! If you've got a GameCube, then get ready to ride out the storm!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/22/02, Updated 04/22/02
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