Review by Hayama Akito

"Astonishing presentation, but lacks a bit of originality..."

The first of Nintendo's 'franchises' (hey, it's got two games now, it's a franchise baby) to hit the Gamecube, Wave Race: Blue Storm is a continuation of the jetski racing game that first wowed people on the N64 with it's incredible looking water - and guess what? It just got one helluva facelift.

This game's graphics astound. Alright, it isn't 60 FPS, but it really doesn't matter. The water is unbelievably realistic. The riders are well detailed compared to previously. The skis even kick up a trail of water in their wake. Crates and large chunks of ice fall into the water as you approach, sending larger waves rippling towards you, even as you zoom through arctic caverns and past large cargo ships. It even goes so far as to have the rain splashing onto the screen when the weather gets bad. It may not look as flash as something like the arcade Aqua Jet on first inspection, but it's SO much more beautiful.

The sound too is amazing - things bode very well for the Gamecube. The music isn't exactly the best, but it does it's job. The speech included is phenomenal. Each rider has their own personalised commentator. Ok, they all basically say the same things (i.e. 'pass the buoys correctly!') but their individuality makes some of them hilarious. Terrence, the commentator for the British racer, Nigel, comes out with some real messed up sentences, which, being British myself, I just crack up over ('You made it to the final race! I'm absolutely chuffed as chips!' I've NEVER, EVER heard anyone say that. It's fantastic). The only drawback is, with some commentators (Ryota's, for example) you can get really annoyed with the ''Ok!'' ''Great!'' ''Good!'' ''Great!'' ''Good!'' ''Ok!'' when passing through a succession of buoys. Maybe it's just that guy - I never notice it when playing as the others.

The gameplay is just like the previous game - no bad thing at all. The physics involved with the water are even sharper than before - when approaching a rider to pass them, the water pushes outwards by their vehicle creates problems too! Falling objects, as noted, create distortions that can make for tricky steering. And you can now execute much sharper turns than before, along with a host of new stunts.

My only quibble with this game is the lack of new courses. This is remedied, however, by the aesthetic redesign of each map, so that they're hardly recognisable from previously. Plus, on each difficulty, the layout of the courses changes, which is nice. The weather also adds to the race significantly. And some of the courses are really difficult to get to grips with (Aqua Maze in particular), so there's a fair bit of replay involved.

Fans of the original Waverace 64 shouldn't hesitate to pick this up in a heartbeat. You'll love it. Casual fans though should try it out first. As racing games go, you can't do much better, and the fact that the water allows for much more unusual racing methods than, say, a road, makes for a very different experience than your standard car racing title. It's a kind of change that might not be to everyone's liking, though.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/10/01, Updated 10/10/01

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