Review by Livy

"An A+ game with REAL-life water graphics and physics !"

Wave Race: Blue Storm is the hit sequel to the Nintendo 64 Wave Race. Basically, it is a water racing game (on a jet ski) with REAL physics for the waves! Also, you have to pass buoys, yellow buoys are passed on the left and red buoys are passed on the right. If you miss 5 buoys during the entire 3 lap race, you lose the race and get no points. Each time you pass a buoy correctly, your speed goes up. Eventually, you gain a TURBO. If you miss a buoy, you go back to the lowest speed. You can also gain speed increments by doing stunts. Each time you do a stunt or pass a buoy, your top speed increases. Once you reach turbo, you top speed does not increase anymore. After you use a turbo, you go back to the lowest top speed.

In this game, there are 8 racers you can choose from. Each one handles differently. Some have very good handling, others have very good acceleration but low top speed, and others have high top speed but low acceleration. Choosing the correct rider is crucial to winning (especially on the harder difficulty levels). Speaking of which, there are 3 difficulty levels (Normal, Hard, and Expert). Once you learn the course, Normal mode is a breeze. Hard mode is insane. I have yet to beat the first level of Hard mode (and I was very good at the first Wave race game). I have not played the Expert mode yet but I've heard from people that it is even harder than Hard mode!

After you win a race, you are award points, 12 points for first, 10 for second and on down to 1 for 8th (last). Beating the first level only requires 6th place but after that, you are going to have to get at least 2nd place in each race (if you place 6th in the first race) just to stay in the game. Of course if you want to beat the game (and move on to the harder difficulties and unlock secret stages), you will have to do even better than that because it is quite hard to get 1st place unless you get 1st place in all but 2 races (Normal mode).

As I mentioned before, this game has REAL wave physics. That means that the jet ski handles just like it does in real life. Of course a game wouldn't be fun without some rough weather. Wave Race: Blue Storm delivers the goods. There are more than 4 weather conditions ranging from nice and sunny (low waves) to storm (huge waves, hardly any visibility, and lots of rain (or snow depending on the level). Each day in the championship mode has a forecast of the weather (you will know a couple of days in advance what the weather will be like). This adds strategy to the game. If you are doing bad, you don't want to play a hard level with bad weather so you choose an easy level for the storm day. The other side of the coin is that you need to play the level on the specific condition to unlock it in all the other modes so you may want to risk it. Each day (except for the last one (Normal) or last 2 (Hard)), you can choose what board you want to do. So pick easy boards for bad weather if you aren't doing well.

The computer AI is tough in this game (much harder than in Wave Race (Nintendo 64)). Be prepared to lose in the beginning. Once you learn the layout of the board and the buoys, you should have no problem beating the game on Normal. Hard and Expert are another thing. The computer AI is tougher for each difficulty level but the buoys are different also. That is what makes each difficulty level unique, even though the same boards are in each level, they have a totally different layout (sometimes even a completely new route).

The graphics in this game are AWESOME! The water looks like real life (and I mean REAL life)! You can even see the underwater creatures swimming around. To get an idea of the quality of the graphics, the water looks exactly like the shallow water at a beach! Of course, the riders and scenery is not as good as the water but the water is the main part of this game.

My only real complaint about this game (aside from the tough computer AI and the fact that it is quite hard to unlock the storm weather condition (the weather is random but sunny and partly cloudy are the most common weather conditions)) is that you get stuck for no apparent reason in some places. The most annoying place (and most frequent) is when you are going up a ramp, for some reason, you just stay stuck there. You have to release the gas and wait as you SLOWLY fall back down the ramp. When this happens, you go from 1st place to 8th (last) place. Also, sometimes when you try to go through an opening, you get stuck. I do not know why it happens sometimes and not others but it is really annoying! If either of this things happens to you, you can kiss the race good-bye.

Now, onto the ratings:

Graphics: 10+/10. As I said before, the water graphics look like REAL life! Words cannot describe the quality of the water graphics! The rest of the stuff is Playstation 2 quality (aka less than the water graphics).

Sound: 9/10. Upbeat music and some rock music. Each of the characters also has their own theme song in the character select screen.

Controls: 10/10. Perfect controls. Anyone who has played Wave Race for the Nintendo 64 can jump right into Wave Race: Blue Storm. If you've never played the original Wave Race, you won't have any trouble getting used to the controls. The weather can make the controls a little tough but it isn't supposed to be a walk in the park when you are driving a jet ski through a storm!

Replay Value 10+/10. You will play this game forever with friends. And you will replay this game a lot just to unlock all the different weather conditions for each course (and you'll replay the game to unlock secret courses too)! It also is quite fun when you are playing by yourself (but nothing bats playing a friend in Wave Race: Blue Storm).

Overall (not an average): 9.9/10. The only things wrong with this game are the tough AI and getting stuck on ramps and small spaces. But even though the AI is tough, you'll still have a fun time (and you can always just play the game on Normal and kick the AI's butt!)

Misc. stuff - You can customize the acceleration, top speed, and handling of your racer and you can choose from 4 different colors (outfits) for your character.

Final Word: This is an instant classic just like Wave Race was. While some of the courses are eerily reminiscent of courses in the original Wave Race, the game delivers in the area it needs too (Fun). Having life-like graphics and good sound and controls is a plus also. If you have a GameCube, buy this game. If you do not have a GameCube but have played Wave Race (N64), then buy the GameCube and Wave Race: Blue Storm, you won't be disappointed. Wave Race: Blue Storm is reason enough to buy the GameCube but there are a ton of other A+ quality games for it too (including Luigi's Mansion, Super Monkey Ball, and Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2). Basically, buy this game if you have a GameCube or have played the original Wave Race or like jet ski racing games. If you don't like jet ski racing games, at least rent Wave Race: Blue Storm. If you hated the original Wave Race, you may not like this game because it is almost identical in control and stages.

Don't miss out on an A+ game because these types of games rarely come out (although the GameCube already has 3 A+ games for it). The only reason you should not buy (or at least rent) this game is if you absolutely hated the original Wave Race.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/18/01, Updated 11/18/01

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