Release Date: August 23, 2005
Ok, somebody screwed up. That's the only way a sequel to Big Mutha Truckers could have gotten the green light: the money. There's no way a game like that could have any sort of fan base, so it's not as if gamers petitioned for this to happen. My guess is the cashiers at Target told some well-meaning relative that their grandkids or nephews and nieces would love it, because that's the only way any self-respecting person could be conned into buying it. Well, like it or not, Big Mutha Truckers 2 is here in all the glory it can muster.
As the story goes, Ma Jackson, head of Big Mutha Truckers haulage company (the biggest in Hick State County, no less!) has been thrown in jail for tax evasion, unpaid parking tickets, and "six counts of being a comedy stereotype." She's taxed her four children with making enough money to bribe the jury members for her trial so they find her innocent.
How does one go about making large amounts of cash in Hick State County, you ask? Well, the main method involves buying certain goods and commodities in one city and hauling them to another city where the demand for them is higher so they can be sold for a profit. Every city in the game has a store of some sort in which to buy not only the goods but also upgrades for your rig (new paint job, refrigerated trailers, nitros, etc.). The only other point of interest in each city is the bar, where you can pick up bonus side missions (most often from the bartender) and meet with individual jury members in order to pay them for their verdict.
Once your semi is loaded up with the right kind of goods, it's time to hit the road and deliver them to the city that will pay the most for them. This is where the brunt of the gameplay takes place: out on the open road. Before leaving town, you have to choose from three levels of delivery bonuses. If, and only if, you arrive at your destination within the chosen time limit, you get a cash bonus that increases as the level of difficulty does. Of course, if you don't make it, you forfeit all bonuses, including any you earn while en route, and must rely solely on the cash flow from selling off your goods.
This wouldn't have been a bad idea if the developer had made it even remotely possible to make it their in time. At the lowest difficulty level (in which you get no cash bonus for delivery but still get any other bonuses you earn), I would barely make it, if at all. Part of the reason it's so hard is how your rig handles. The best-case scenario involves your truck moving along at fairly high speeds, while you gently tap the analog stick in whatever direction necessary to avoid completely crashing and burning. The worst-case scenario often involves said crashing and burning. Controlling the rig with the left thumbstick is touchy enough as it is, but the game lets you control the movement of the truck's trailer with the right stick as well. The idea is that, for certain challenges, you're required to destroy cars or try and keep a drunken hobo from falling off of your trailer and the like. Of course, while your trailer is swinging off to the side, this leaves your cab to fend for itself, as it can't help but crash into the sides sometimes, in which case you can kiss the delivery bonus good bye!
As if trying to keep your semi on the road weren't hard enough on its own, you have to avoid the police, malevolent bikers who want your haul, UFOs and the occasional exploding missile truck. Again, these obstacles were meant to be fun and challenging, but the controls and imposed time limit make it even more of a pain in your side to complete a run.
Besides the trucker missions, bartenders in the cities will occasionally offer up bonus side missions which pay pretty well but are no more fun than the standard ones. For example, one mission has you driving some B-list movie celebrity around town, being sure to slow down in front of his throngs of fans to increase the buzz for his new movie. Now, there's nothing particularly wrong with this mission. In fact, it's superior to the trucking missions in the sense that there are no UFOs and such to hinder your progress. However, the little black sedan you drive in this mission doesn't handle any better than behemoth of a semi, which makes the whole thing feel unnatural.
Graphically, the game does a decent job. The different cities all have their own unique look, from the big city high rises of Capital City to the port town of Salt Sea City, so you actually feel as if you're traveling to different places. The character models have fairly rough textures for this period in the Xbox's life cycle, and there seem to be some jaggies that pop up, which is inexcusable this late in the game, not to mention that the framerate really tanks in some sections. It's not displaying detailed, high-poly models, obviously, so one has to wonder why this sloppy bit of programming wasn't looked at more closely. Huh … well, it looks like the graphics are lacking just as much as the rest of the game, in retrospect.
The sound … oh boy, I don't know if I've ever heard a game that's brought all the aspects of its sound design together with the sole purpose of infuriating the people who play it. First off, there's quite a bit of voice work in this game, which is a horrible, horrible thing. See, the writers at Eutechnyx were so busy laughing at all of the jokes they put in Big Mutha Truckers 2 that they didn't have time to realize how awesomely bad the writing is. Take every negative stereotype you can possible imagine about hillbillies, gay people, and … well, pretty much everybody, and then multiply that by a power of 10, and you'll roughly know how guilty you should feel if you laugh at this tripe. It doesn't help that the jokes go on for forever and a day, either. When I think of all of the wasted disc space that the voice work takes up that could've been used to smooth out the graphics and the truck's handling, I cry a little on the inside.
Aside from the story mode, Big Mutha Truckers 2 has a mission mode that lets you replay any of the bonus side missions you unlock in the story mode. Other than that, this game has very little replay value. In fact, the horrible jokes and controls will likely drive people away before they complete the game, so in their own special way, I guess the developers didn't see a need for any replayability.
As gamers, we have a duty to go out in the world and protect normal people from buying this garbage. If you ever see a distraught mother or grandparent reaching to pick up a copy of Big Mutha Truckers 2, throw yourself in front of the display and yell for them to stop. You'd be making the world a better place. By now, it should go without saying that I don't recommend this title for anyone, but just in case you skipped straight down to the score: do not buy, rent, or borrow Big Mutha Truckers 2 ever. Thank you, and have a nice day.