Review by Retro

Reviewed: 09/15/01 | Updated: 05/20/02

A cool game that just has too many flaws

Being a fan of watching monster trucks such as Big Foot, Snakebite, and others race and do carnage on TV since I was a kid, Monster Truck Madness 64 was at the top of my list of games to play when it was first released. Unfortunately, I was in store for a big surprise for the worst.

In Monster Truck Madness 64, you can pick many real life monster trucks such as Big Foot, Snakebite, Grave Digger, the Firestone truck, and many more. The trucks all have their own strengths and weaknesses such as their speed and how much of a beating they can withstand. When you pick one of the trucks as your own, you can then play different games from either the single or multiplayer modes. It would be best to start out with single player because the more first place finishes you earn, the more hidden tracks you will be able to play in multiplayer.

Once you start to play a game of Monster Truck Madness 64, you will notice a few good things about the game, but also a lot of not so good things. First of all, the graphics are subpar to the Nintendo 64's capability. Most of the tracks are too dark and they're not nearly as detailed as most people would expect them to be. Even the trucks aren't that spectacular when it comes to graphics. They look mainly like miniature models of the gruesome beasts that they're trying to depict. On the other hand, there are some cool weather effects such as snow, rain, and even fog.

The sound could've been a lot better than it was too. The announcer is more likely to make you even more frustrated instead of lifting your spirits. Instead of him driving you to win even more, his commentating will make you want to hunt him down and possibly turn him into roadkill. The background music and the crashing sounds sound more like they should be in a Micro Machines game because they're too bland and/or unrealistic.

Now for the worst attribute of this monster truck mayhem gone bad, the control. If there's anything about Monster Truck Madness 64 that will make somebody dislike the game so much that it's unbearable, it's the control. The controls are overly touchy to begin with, but even worse, there's no powersliding in it at all, which could really come in handy when needing to cut a corner real sharp in order to gain some ground. However, it's not quite impossible to get used to controlling your truck. You'll just have to learn how to let off the accelerator during even the slightest of turns.

My last big complaint is Monster Truck Madness 64's physics. It seems overly easy to be flipped upside down even when you barely bump into another truck or obstacle. Also, when you get knocked sideways or upside down, it seems to take an eternity for the truck to be turned right side up. A pack of flies mistaking your truck for roadkill would probably have time to eat it up before it gets back on its wheels.

As I mentioned before, you can play single player and the more races you win, the more tracks you can unlock, but it's easier said than done to say the least. To help you win the races, there are a few powerups such as one that will make your truck glide through the air like an airplane for a few seconds. There are other valuable items such as missiles to fire your enemies up and a contraption that will make your truck do a mega jump. Unfortunately, until you play the game a good bit, you'll probably have a few problems controlling the truck even while using some of the items.

Ok, I have to admit that Monster Truck Madness 64 isn't ALL bad. When it comes to options of play, this game has a good bit to offer. The multiplayer mode is all that really keeps Monster Truck Madness 64 from being a completely rotten egg. You can race a friend in any of the tracks that you have unlocked in single player mode and you can even control how many computer opponents there will be and what type of weather you'll be up against. Even better, there are a few innovative multiplayer games that give Monster Truck Madness 64 a little bit of replay value. Included is a soccer game and a hockey game in which you and your opponent both drive around in an arena and see who can score the most goals before time runs out. There's also a game in which you try to stay on top of a platform the longest by driving up to the top and then fighting to stay there.

All in all, Monster Truck Madness 64 is a fairly decent game that just has too many flaws that probably could've been worked out had this game been in the shop awhile longer for repairs. Once you get used to them, the multiplayer games can be fun, but the racing is hardly ever fun. I recommend renting Monster Truck Madness 64 first so you can see if you like it enough before you consider buying it.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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