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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Monster Games

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

November 19, 2006

 

 

- Solid introduction to racing for first-timers

- Terrain that can be "deformed" during the race

- Controls actually feel comfortable after an hour or so of play

 

 

- Would have loved more tracks

- Screams for online play

- Entry-level gameplay might be turn-off for experienced race fans

- Irritating thrashy metal music

 

 

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Excite Truck

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

It's a given that with every console launch there is a first party racing game right alongside it.  Excite Truck was practically a requirement for the Wii.  And while it doesn't quite meet my own requirements for being exceptionally "exciting" I suspect there's enough fun and arcade excitement for first-time gamers that are looking for an accessible racing title.

 

excite truck          excite truck

 

As one would expect, Excite Truck makes use of the Wii's motion sensing capabilities.  The player holds the Wiimote in a horizontal manner with the directional pad positioned near their left thumb.  Brake and accelerate are assigned to the 1 and 2 buttons respectively, and the steering is handled by moving the Wiimote like it's the center of a steering wheel.  It takes some time to get used to the controls, and Excite Truck fully realizes this because before you can even race you have to pass through a basic tutorial then more advanced moves, like angling your vehicle in the air to make a perfect landing to earn a boost or slipping through puddles to cool your engine down or activating an air boost, can be tackled.

 

Speaking of boost, it's manually controlled with the directional pad.  For the first hour or so of play I struggled to teach my brain that I didn't need the directional pad to steer, so I was continually overheating my engine.  The control is relatively good, though there seems to be a split second between when you start a turn and

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when it's registered on-screen.  I only noticed this at first, so I'm pretty sure I just started compensating for it and the problem went away.

 

Excite Bike is no doubt an arcade racer and if you're expecting anything else you will be disappointed.  Most of the handful of tracks are littered with icons that activate terrain deformations, which temporarily drops the 

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landscape or ramps it up.  I'd actually like to see this kind of feature be included in other racing games.  Off-road racing is great, but if the terrain changed dynamically?  That would just be sweet.  There is also a handy "invincibility" icon that allows your vehicle to plow through trees.

 

Progress through Excite Truck doesn't just mean winning races.  Performing rad power slides, collisions, tree runs, or massive air will earn you stars.  Finishing the race in top spot merely grants you more stars to put toward your cumulative score, which is used as a measure to open up more courses and modes of play (of which there are only a few).  The is system not only encourages aggressive driving to win races, it also forces the player to act in a reckless and somewhat spectacular manner to earn those precious stars.

 

(I can't believe I wrote "rad.")

 

Multiplayer racing is limited to console matches -- no online play, which is a shame, but it's hardly a deal breaker.  However, I would have marked Excite Truck higher had it included a great number of environments and tracks.  The number of tracks feels far too limited.

 

I suppose there's always hope for any sequel, and maybe things like vehicle tuning or even track building could be included.  But until then, Excite Truck might be good for a rental if you like arcade racers and you want to see what might be possible on the Wii.  (The mind boggles at what else could be done with the concept.)

 

- Omni

(November 21, 2006)

 

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