Perhaps 18-wheeler trucks aren't destined to be the next big thing in racing games. Over the past two decades a number of major companies have attempted to sell a skeptical public on the idea of freight-hauling racing games starring huge slow-moving trucks. Even Sega couldn't quite make this genre work, and they're widely considered the masters of arcade racing games. Maybe this is one weird sub-genre that isn't meant to be.
Apparently 1C and developers SoftLab-Nsk didn't get the memo, because they're taking another stab at the 18-wheeler racer. Let me introduce you to Rig 'n' Roll, the game that attempts to combine the fun of simulation truck driving with the enjoyment of California traffic. While this niche racer/simulator is certainly better than the competition (Big Rigs, The King of Route 66), it suffers from a number of unforgivable problems.
The basic concept is simple; you're a truck driver who takes on a bunch of race missions for money. You do this in a fully realized (albeit miniaturized) version of California. This includes real cities (San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and many, many more) and familiar highways. With each job you complete you will earn money, which you can put towards building up your cargo transport company and taking over the world ... or at least central California.
I was surprised at how much of a narrative Rig 'n' Roll offered. I expected to just jump into a world and be free to do whatever I wanted. But that's not the case, at least not at the beginning. The game offers a full story, including cinema scenes and spoken dialog. I know the narrative is supposed to get me in the mood to drive all over California, but instead it made me feel like I was watching a bad 80s trucker movie. Either way, by the end of the game you will feel like you've built up a trucking empire and really completed a full journey from rags to riches.
The events come in a few different flavors, but most of them have you doing the same thing. No matter if you're hauling freight or just competing against yourself, you always need to get to the finish line (usually another warehouse) before your time runs out. Sometimes you'll have to race against a bunch of other truckers, but many of the events are just you and your haul racing against the clock.
But do not go into this game thinking that it's a racing game in the strictest sense of the words. While the box may advertise its racing elements, don't let that fool you. This is a truck driving simulator through and through. This is the kind of game for those who are looking to recreate the experience of driving an 18-wheeler and getting paid for it. There is also a fair amount of business management simulation involved, blurring the genres even further. Still, even with its sim roots, 1C's truck driving game offers more than enough racing elements to keep the action lively.
Page 1 of 3