Reviewed by Jimmy | 12.01.06
Excite Truck is the take off from the classic Excite series from the original Nintendo. I'll taking a look under this Nintendo Wii launch title to see if it's worth getting behind the remote. Here is Extreme Gamer's review of Excite Truck.
Excite Truck is an interesting launch title for Nintendo, giving the background of the excite series that originated in 1984. I used to love Excite Bike back in the day, so I was pretty interested to see what Nintendo cooked up for their new console. What I found was a spicy little dish of arcade slamming fun that fully used the Wii's motion sensor controls in an innovative way. I guess I'll have to get used to surprises from Nintendo because lately that's all they have been dishing out.
Excite Truck, believe it or not, has been referred as a Wii killer app right beside The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Well, this referral might be accurate because Excite Truck is one game you should own, if you have a Wii already, or are thinking of picking on up in the near future considering few games have come out with the Wii launch that has successfully packaged all Nintendo aspirations into a game. It seems fitting that we have another first party game that rushes ahead of the competition.
If you wanted to compare Excite Truck to another game you would have to target Electronic Arts popular Burnout franchise. Besides the controls and extra features, the racing is very similar. High speed, crashing, arcade styled races that test your reflexes well homing into your need for speed. The developer Monster Games has a history of producing car games which includes a few NASCAR titles for the Xbox, Gamecube and PS2. The premise behind Excite Truck might not original, but they have made up for that with a high fun factor.
Controlling your off-road vehicle in Excite Truck is fairly easy to grasp although it might take a few runs you will get it. You hold the Wii remote horizontal and use the tilting capabilities along with the '1' and '2' buttons for the gas and break. The only other button is the D-Pad which activates a boost when pressed down. Anyone should be able to pick up and play Excite Truck within a few second which is a definite perk. The way you play Excite Truck is more 'exciting' then a normal controller. Strangely something about moving the remote around gets your adrenaline pumping a little bit more than standard controls. I was impressed with how this game worked out with the Wii's control scheme and I hope other racers take this formula into consideration.
Excite Truck has the 'Excite' part nailed, although the ride doesn't last long because of the lack of events, customization and multiplayer modes. This is Excite Trucks biggest downfall making the game feel underdeveloped. In Excite Truck you race your generic looking 4x4 vehicle through a number of locations worldwide including Canada under three different cup races, gold, silver, and bronze. To progress to the next level you have to score 'B' average which attainted by hitting extra multipliers like lots of air, smashing other trucks, performing long drifts, etc. Reaching the 'B' grade average isn't too hard if you have the patience. Like any racing game of this caliber a lot of the trick is memorizing the track and picking the best route.
Besides the control scheme the most interesting part of the racing in Excite Truck is the dynamic terrain that transforms right before you eye. All you have to do is hit the yellow power-ups that are located in various places in each map and the road will dynamically change by either adding a huge hill to launch off of, or take away the ahead terrain all together. Changing the terrain has a huge effect on the race and usually for the good. These power-ups actually remind me of the car commercials on TV where the driver stops and presses a button to change the road ahead. It's the same kind of deal and it does wonders in making Excite Truck more impressionable.
If you're into the arcade side of racers you will be pleased Excite Trucks performance and you might even clump it into your favorite's right along side of Burnout, or San Francisco Rush. The game has a good sense of speed with adrenaline filled moments that will keep you coming back for more. Excite Truck could use and tune-up in a few areas, but you shouldn't worry about passing the safety. Monster Games really has the gameplay area locked down and hopefully this is only the first of many cars on the Wii's lot.
Graphically Excite Truck performs good enough given the Wii's power. It's not as good as the above compared Burnout, but it's good enough to capture a glance. It's like a Gamecube title with a little extra on top. Visually I'm just getting used to the Wii's abilities, and in their own way they are coming up quite nicely. It's not as impressive as other next gen machines, but that's not Nintendo's game anymore. The level design should be marked as Excite Trucks graphical high, with the vehicle design at the bottom. Excite Truck is more about what is under the hood then its paint job.
The audio side of Excite Truck is filled with cheese filled rock songs that have the guitar's gain on 10 and bass on 0. I guess you could sum up the music as Japanese imitation of 1980s metal. It's great that the game is so action packed because you will be able to tune out the tinny tones of the soundtrack. If you have a SD card you can play your own Mp3's during the game, this makes Excite Truck a great reason to go and pick one up.
Excite Truck for the Nintendo Wii is a quick thrill action racing game in same vein as Burnout. The racing is fast, fun and innovative with the Nintendo motion sensitive controller. The ride might not last long, but while you're behind the wheel you'll have a smile on your face. I have to recommend checking out Excite Truck although it might not have enough gas to warrant a purchase, a rental will more then satisfy.
Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 7, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 8. Final: 7.5 / 10
Original controls, Great Sense of Speed, Fun!
Vehicles look like Toys, Bad Japanese Imitation Rock, Not Enough Game Modes
- Body English: Remember tilting your arms while playing Excitebike to try to make your character land a huge jump? That experience is finally a reality with Excite Truck.
- Controller as a Steering Wheel: Players hold the Wii Remote like an NES controller to control the truck. The 2 button is the accelerator, the 1 button is the brake, the + Control Pad is the turbo... but that's just the beginning.
- Dynamic Terrain: Pick up items on the courses to make the terrain deform in real time, turning innocent bumps into massive launch pads that affect not only the player's route, but that of his or her rivals. Players jump and bump their way to the highest score and highest finish.