Publisher: THQ/Empire Int
Release Date: June 16, 2003
Have you ever wanted to be behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler and feel the power behind those trucks and their potential? I certainly have. In the PS2 version of Big Mutha Truckers, I was able to live the dream and experience it first-hand (as far as a video game will allow, at any rate).
Once you have popped in the game you will see quite a lengthy game introduction which introduces us to the four available characters as well as showing the trucking company. Initially, the intro was pretty sweet, set to the tune of “Born to Be Wild,” but it dragged it out way too long to be truly enjoyable. After watching the intro, you are ready to hit the routes.
There are only two modes of play: Trial by Truckin’ and Mission mode. In the Trial by Truckin’ mode, you play one of the four truckers from the Jackson family. You choose from Rawkus Jackson, Bobbie Sue Jackson, Cletus Jackson, or Earl Jackson. Each character has his or her own unique truck, and don’t complain about your preliminary engine setup because you can actually upgrade your vehicle. I will go into the upgradeable parts later. In Mission mode, you use the character that you’ve chosen to complete the objectives.
Trial by Truckin’ mode is probably the first mode you will play and resembles career mode in most other games. You have 60 days to prove that you are the best in the business, and your goal is to make the most amount of money. In order to do this, you must buy and sell items within each city. You should try to buy low and sell high and take into account basic supply and demand principles. In each town, there are three places that you can go: store, garage, and bar. Within the store, you can purchase several items to sell at other places. In the garage, you can fix up your vehicle by refueling, repairing damages, as well as fixing up the truck. Finally, the bar is probably one of the most important places in the game because the hostess will give you information about which city needs which items, as well as offering you jobs. You can also gamble and borrow money at the bar, if needed. Each city has its own loan officer so try and find the cheapest one. Before you can participate in any of this, however, you must park the truck upon arriving in town, much like 18 Wheeler from SEGA. The quicker you park it, the better, but it is quite difficult, considering the really strange physics in the game. After you’ve done your deed in town, you will leave and select the next town you wish to hit. Most the time, you will get challenged to a race to see who can reach the destination fastest. If you win, you will receive a lump sum of money, but if you lose, you pay the opponent.
Within each town, you can also fix up your vehicle. The possible upgrades are fuel saver, speed brakes, turbo charger, bull bars, horn, tuff shocks, armor, maxstore, and a spoiler. Each enhances your truck performance, giving you anything from more speed to more storage space. Each town has its own set of upgrades so choose the best for your vehicle. This mode is just really repetitive, and you are constantly doing the same thing over and over. If you are able to last the 60 days in gameplay, you will see who of the four truckers has the most amount of money, and the richest one gains ownership of the business.
In Mission mode, there are a total of 28 different missions. Each mission has its own little mini-game, depending on the mission. Some of them are: Stop the Press!, Mutha’s Day Mayhem, Truck Tug o’ War, The Chamber Pot of MGUMBU, Junkin’ Jalopies!, Popcorn Truck, Go Real Fast!, Smashed Hits!, Emergency Wedding, Brake Test, Prize Pig, Waste Disposal, Debt Collection, Escort, Moonshine Run, Booze Out, and When Bikers Attack. Most of the missions involve some type of delivery, but a select few are mini-games, as mentioned above. One such mini-game would be Truck Tug o’ War, in which you try and pull the other trucker pass a certain line, hence the name. In most of the others, it is a delivery drop, where you must drive to certain locations which will be highlighted in green. You must make sure you are completely within the green lights, or it will not be considered a drop. Some other missions require you to hit certain objects, such as in Stop the Press!, which requires you to hit all of the newspaper stands within a specified time limit. These missions take some time and can be extremely challenging, but you will get used to them eventually or would be required to cheat.
The in-game sound is also not that great. There are a total of four music stations that you can listen to while truckin’: K-rock, Space 108, MC Escher, and Yak FM. Since the game fits on a single compact disc, there isn’t much in the way of song variety, and the music offered on these “radio stations” isn’t very good. Because of the music, it is kind of annoying to play more then a few minutes of this game. The voice acting – while very good at mimicking that southern twang – starts to get on your nerves after a while, and you just wish that the characters would stop talking and just peel over.
While not exactly overwhelming, the graphics are not bad for a trucking game and suits it just fine. Your semi truck is situated against a standard background of the highway, with some other vehicles on the road. As for overall gameplay, I feel that 18 Wheeler had a better system in terms of graphics, music, and physics.
I strongly suggest that you do not pick up this game, regardless of how much of a hardcore semi fan you might be. This game is quite repetitive and boring, and it lacks replay value. If you must get an 18 Wheeler game, I suggest that you pick up 18 Wheeler by Sega, a great game with a simple system: just drive from one place to the other and make deliveries.
Score : 5.5/10
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