Review: Hot Wheels Turbo Racing for the Playstation
(IDG) -- Like every kid growing up, you had dozens of Hot Wheels -- either thrown in a box or neatly organized in a special carrying case. There was nothing as fun as racing and crashing those little metal wonders -- until now.
Electronic Arts brings this juvenile joy to the Playstation with Hot Wheels Turbo Racing.
This is no Gran Turismo-simulation racer. Hot Wheels is a gravity-defying, trick-flipping, turbo-charged barn-burner. With five different racing modes, many of your old favorite cars (including Red Baron, Double Vision, Mongoose and Street Rodder) and endless amounts of tricks to perform, Hot Wheels is a racing riot.
The game perfectly integrates performing tricks with successful racing by awarding you turbos for each trick you pull off. The more difficult the trick, the more turbos you get. And the only way to win a race is to pour on the turbos.
One of the best aspects of this game is its use of the Playstation dual shock controller. Placing your thumbs on both analog sticks (left for steering, right for acceleration, braking and reverse) and your fingers on the R2 (turbo) and L1 (rolling) buttons gives you complete control of the kinetic racers. It also gives you the quick ability to recover from your many wipeouts.
The tracks are complex and full of shortcuts -- and you can unlock more by winning the Hot Wheels Cup. With the enormous amount of variation in the tracks, you may never find yourself racing the same track twice. The number of different things that you can crash into (including your competitors) is also huge, which should really keep your wheels spinning.
There are some mud spots that the game gets mired in. Although the 3D models of the cars are right on the money, they are somewhat blocky and the rolling, flipping, and twisting metal does tend to go on for longer than it should.
Collisions with opposing racers have a sometimes unpredictable outcome, making the action very frustrating when trying to win the Hot Wheels Cup. Worst of all, though, is that there's no damage meter to clue you in when you're about to blow up.
Nitpicking aside, Hot Wheels Turbo Racing does pulse-pounding fun like few other titles. EA makes perfect use of the Hot Wheels name, including the classic loops and car colliding track designs, to insure lots of repeat play-ability in this fun and fresh racer.
The big and imaginative tracks make up for the overly blocky appearance of the cars.
A scrap-metal rock soundtrack (including Metallica) keeps you adequately pumped up during the race, but the sound effects are less than thrilling.
The dual analog stick controls and the numerous trick combinations make this racing game fast and furious, and extremely responsive to your commands.
Except for the sometimes overly excessive and unpredictable car behavior, racing these Hot Wheels takes you back to the joy of your youth.
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