Wednesday 27 September 2006
Nintendo's spiritual successor to side-scrolling scrambler Excitebike (released for NES in 1986) might be generations ahead of the 2D pixelated racer in terms of graphical oomph, but Wii's Excite Truck still packs many of the original's gameplay mechanics under its mud-spattered bonnet.
Indeed, the tracks we sampled during our recent hands-on - a sun-soaked and beach flavoured Fiji circuit, along with a more traditional off-road inspired Mexican course - may have been infinitely more boisterous than Excitebike's straight-as-a-Roman-road tracks (albeit with sizeable bumps), but they are still geared for big jumps, big air and precision landing.
The big difference, of course, is that Excite Truck's vehicles are controlled by tilting and turning Wii's remote, which is held end-to-end horizontally between both hands.
Above: Massive jumps are a mainstay of Excite Truck's course design
Steering your 4x4 is simple enough and once we'd familiarised ourselves with the handling - it requires only minimal movement - we were able to stay on the prescribed course pretty well (our first couple of goes saw us swerving erratically, even on the straights).
However, trying to deliberately drive into the power-ups that litter the courses - triggering such delights as turning tiny bumps into giant jumps and allowing you to plough through trees without affecting your vehicle's speed - indicate that total precision control will be harder to accomplish.