King of Route 66

Review

posted 4/2/2003 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PS2
The controls also leave a lot to be desired. While it’s probably a given that a racing game consisting of 18 wheel behemoths might have somewhat slow and muddy controls, this game never actually gets past tolerable. After a slow acceleration, your truck barrels down the road with very little input needed from you. Don’t get me wrong, you can still steer and move around like you normally would, but don’t expect anything in the way of complex motor skills needed here.

Usually the controls behave themselves, but it’s in those rare instances where your truck get wrongly aligned or you need to back up, that it just falls apart. In fact, turning around is one of the most problematic aspects of the control, and I found myself starting the race over instead of negotiating the tricky reverse.

It should be noted, that while there is a lot of bad in the King of Route 66, it does improve on the original in a few substantial ways. While the original was a straight up, no-nonsense port of an arcade game, Route 66 feels slightly more like a console game thanks to the various extra modes. For example, there’s a much needed two player mode included, but like just about everything else in the game, it’s so bare bones and dull, it’s hardly worth talking about at all.

It’s the Queen of Route 66 that deserves the most amount of credit, though. Think of it has a mini-Gran Turismo, complete with 70 different parts you can equip to your rig. This mode has you completing various menial tasks, from smashing boxes to collecting scattered jewelry to simply racing to the next objective, all so you can collect a little bit of money, and upgrade your truck.

This is actually a really good idea, and I commend the programmers for trying to give us something that will keep us coming back well after we’ve finished the arcade mode. But, like so much of Route 66, this mode just doesn’t feel finished. It’s hard to stay interested in the tasks when they range from boring to mundane. At best this is a tedious test of ones patience, and however well intentioned this mode is, it’s hard to get past the mediocre execution.

One of the coolest things about the Queens of Route 66 mode (or the most kitsch, depending on your viewpoint) are the queens themselves. Each of these busty beauties represents a different task, and once you’re work is done you are treated to a cinema. But not just any old cinema, Route 66 gives you what seems like a ten minute long dance video. I’m not kidding. I haven’t seen this much fly dancing since Wild Style in 1982. Without a doubt, if you’re going to weather the King of Route 66, this is the reason.
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