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Review: Wild Wild Racing
(IDG) -- Interplay's entry into the PS2 feeding frenzy is Wild Wild Racing, an off-road racing game that does a decent job of giving gamers some off-road action, but the graphics aren't up to PS2 standards, and the racing isn't as deep as it could be.
It's Wild, Man...Wild
Wild Wild Racing gives you a good number of game options from the get go. A Quick Race gets you into the action fast while Championship is a full circuit of tracks. Time Attack has you go for a time record solo, and Challenge is a series of timed tasks that you complete to unlock more cars and upgrades. The Challenge tasks are actually pretty fun minigames, like collecting letter icons on the track, running an obstacle course, or bumping a ball across the finish line.
You start out with access to three cars and three tracks, but gain access to more vehicles and locales pretty quickly. The cars have separate ratings for handling, acceleration, and top speed -- pretty basic stuff, but the differences are big enough to make you decide which car suits your driving style best.
Tracks In The Mud
Unlike Crave's Smuggler's Run, which lets you go anywhere, Wild Wild Racing confines you to a track with low walls that you can't get around. Races also have checkpoints, but it's not really made clear why there are checkpoints since there's no race timer that's counting down. The track design is pretty basic most of the time, but there are a few inspired sections on certain tracks. Surprisingly, you don't catch much air in the game. There are a couple of jumps and bumps scattered on the tracks, but they seem like an afterthought.
There is some solid track design with tricky shortcuts, hairpin turns, paved sections, sticky mud, and a host of other twists. The different race locales (USA, India, Iceland, Mexico, and Australia), weather effects, and time of day give the game a bit of variety, but overall the graphics aren't as strong as they could be. There are a good amount of jaggy edges on objects, and while the frame rate holds up well, the dust, snow, and sand kicked up by a car's rear tires look primitive. It might seem like a minor point, but you'll be looking at the rear of your car and the AI cars a lot in the game. The terrain itself is very convincing, with different patches of ice, mud, and trees, but there just isn't a whole lot to look at, and the 2D vistas, while decent, look a bit out of place on a next gen title. On the other hand, there is only a little pop up on the long straight-aways, and the frame rate stays relatively high.
Wild Wild Racing is a good off-road racing game with a decent amount of replay value, but overall it's not as good as it could have been. Still, if you're up for some racing action in the dirt, Wild Wild Racing will give you a run for your money.
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Interplay Entertainment Corp.
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