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Big Mutha Truckers 2

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Simulation
Publisher: Empire Interactive


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PS2 Review - 'Big Mutha Truckers 2'

by Katarani on Sept. 14, 2005 @ 4:17 a.m. PDT

Big Mutha Truckers 2 begins with Ma Jackson being taken into police custody for tax evasion. The only way she can win her case is by hiring Cousin Jacob, the most "fancy-talkin' legal fella" this side of Booger's Canyon. Players will be challenged to raise the cash needed to bribe jurors to let Ma off by trucking, trading, wheeling and dealing.

Genre: Racing
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Eutechnyx
Release Date: August 23, 2005

Buy 'BIG MUTHA TRUCKERS 2': Xbox | PC | PlayStation 2

Some Americans have barbeques on Labor Day. Others take their time to remember those in the armed forces who are departed. Others yet see it as a time for relaxing and big department store sales. Me? I spent the first Monday of September by ramming into police cars, visiting strippers at work, and trying to keep little grey men from stealing my cargo of fancy pants and smuggled horse tranquilizers. No, I'm not one of those good ol' Duke boys, I've just been busy playing Big Mutha Truckers 2.

Big Mutha Truckers 2 picks up perfectly where the first one left off. After Ma Jackson held the trucking contest to pass her company on to one of her children (or chillen' in proper tongue), she was snagged by the local police for various counts of money laundering and tax fraud. Now it's up to Ma's four offspring (the pig-lovin' Cleatus, the wannabe cowboy Rawkus, the Daisy-Duke-look-alike Bobbie Sue, and the true American redneck Earl) to round up the money to not only pay off Cousin Jacob's legal fees, but also to bribe each and every juror on the case. In order to do this, your choice of driver is free to drive about Hick State County, selling cargo and embarking on special missions for money, which can range from driving celebrities around in a limo to smashing up monkey smugglers with your rig.

Naturally, this is a fine excuse for the people at Eutechnyx to use every single stereotype they can to the point of hyper-exaggeration. Examples range from the pure-out redneckness of three of the four selectable characters (Rawkus actually talks more like someone who watched a few too many episodes of Shaft), to the flamboyantly "friendly" bartender in Salt Sea City, to the ridiculously egotistical movie star Butch Rockwell (who, if I'm not mistaken, is voiced by either Bruce Campbell or someone who sounds an awful lot like him). To that end, the voice acting in the game is superb, each voice delightfully – and intentionally – over-the-top and well-executed.

I digress, however. The goal of the game is twofold: play the economics game at the various trading posts in Hick State County, and play what essentially boils down to a game of Crazy Cargo. Gaining money is easy enough; a simple formula of "buy low, sell high" is obvious, and with a simple press of a button in the shop screen, you will get visible graphs of how certain commodities will sell at other posts, giving you a hint how to buy and sell. Outside of town, you have a short time limit – one to two minutes, typically – to drive from point A to point B, causing as much widespread destruction as possible. If you get to your destination in time, you're given bonuses based on your delivery, how much vehicular mayhem you caused, property damage, and so forth, as well as for avoiding losing your cargo to hazards like UFOs, biker gangs, and the cops.

There's also a multiplier based on speed: you can set the time limit to one of three difficulty levels: "Truck Me Gently," which is fairly easy to meet but only provides the base bonus, "Truck Me," which is maybe five seconds shorter but doubles your score, or "Truck Me Harder," which offers triple the cash bonus but also requires you to blaze between cities anywhere from 15 to 25 seconds quicker than the base difficulty. Naturally, if you run out of time, you get absolutely no bonus whatsoever, although you're still allowed to continue your game.

This is one of several changes between Big Mutha Truckers 2 and its predecessor; in addition, the "fuel" and "damage" gauges from the original are completely gone, as is the garage in each town. Rig upgrades are done at the normal stores, and any damage is forgotten about between towns, repaired free of cost. Naturally, that gives BMT2 a bit more of an arcade feel, allowing players to plow through traffic like nobody's business, racking up the particularly plentiful car crash bonuses without much trouble. If your rig starts billowing out smoke, however, your top speed suffers, meaning your bonuses will be easily lost if you just play demolition derby with your truck. The 60-day deadline from the first game is gone, as well; it's not a race to see who can raise the most money in a certain timeframe this time, but a mission to bribe jurors who ask for hundreds of thousands of dollars for a simple "no." This makes the game much easier than the first, and actually more fitting as a starting point in the series. Without the worries about rig damage and time, you're free to do things however you dang well want.

It's not easy to start, but the trick is how an 18-wheeler truck drives. On straightaways, it's a simple "accelerate, brake, reverse" deal, but turning is a bit of a hassle, requiring fastidious use of the brakes unless you want to hug the street railings. Reversing your truck is a nightmare, but sticklers would call it "realistic," meaning that every time you back up, only your truck moves. The trailer stays as it was, causing you to contort your rig into jackknifes if you miss a turn by an inch. There doesn't seem to be any way around this, so making rote memorization of the routes a must.

Now, I've lived in Texas for about six months now, and I must say that while the graphics are simply "average" (which is leaps and bounds better than the "horrible" that graced the first game), they do accurately portray the Deep South, which is three or four towns spread around a grand, broad expanse of absolutely nothing. Likewise, the radio stations your truck gets, aside from the talk radio station that seems almost to play a "worst of Jerry Springer" reel, are filled with licensed songs that are rather accurate for the area. There's plenty of country, as well as the occasional '80s rock station.

There are a few problems with Truck Me Harder, however. It's far too repetitive, for one. You buy low, drive on a nondescript, barren highway listening to your radio, and sell high. Lather, rinse, yawn, and repeat. The radio stations are similarly repetitive: each station is roughly a 20-minute clip, looped incessantly. For another, the game's main selling point to many – the humor – is stale and predictable. There are only so many times you can hear about the Russian shopkeeper talk about mail-order brides or hear the waitress at the local strip club whining about how unused her Harvard education is before you just skip over any and all dialogue in the game. However, without the character behind the game, the game's biggest flaw is easily seen: what you have is essentially the parts of Crazy Taxi, Big Rigs, and South Park that are the least likable: the annoying time limit, the tricky controls of an 18-wheeler, and the shameless low-brow humor.

This is a bargain bin title, and it shows. Lacking the creativity of other $20 games like Katamari Damacy or Alien Hominid, Big Mutha Truckers 2 falls in somewhere above Crazy Taxi on the level of value. If you like driving recklessly and crashing into things, you won't be disappointed. If you're just looking for a chance to actually drive a big rig truck, look towards Sega's Eighteen Wheeler game.

Score: 6.5/10

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