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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
GENRE: Racing
PLAYERS:   1-2
May 22, 2001
18-Wheeler: American Pro Trucker

18-Wheeler: American Pro Trucker

 Written by Arthur Hughes  on July 03, 2001

Review: You finally get a chance to drive a big rig, just try and refrain from falling asleep at the wheel.

If you recall, 18 Wheeler has been out at the arcade for a good while now, and it has finally gotten its release on the ole Dreamcast. I've played it a few times at the local arcade, and thought the game was a pretty cool. It had a good realistic feel to it, with the horn and the big racing wheel. Yet after playing the Dreamcast version, I felt as if something was missing, and that the game should have never left the arcades.

The visuals aspects of the game are fairly disappointing when you compare them to most Dreamcast titles of today. Just about everything in the game suffers from poor use of anti-aliasing, which in turn leads to some ugly jaggies. Plus, I've seen better car explosions in San Francisco Rush (if you remember how bad they were), things like that should not be seen on a system as powerful as the Dreamcast. The graphics look as if the developer just wanted to get the game out the door as quick as possible, which gives the game a very unpolished look.

Thankfully, the games sound doesn't suffer as bad as the visuals, but the music could have definitely been done better. Don't get me wrong; the music isn't that bad, however it just doesn't seem go with the game. I might be mistaken, but I kind of expected country music or maybe even some golden oldies to go along with it, you know, truck driving music. A plus side to the audio is the sound effects themselves, the CB radio actually sounds like a real CB, and the coolest sound effect in the game would have to go to the horn, especially when you get the upgrades.

After the intro, you come to the main menu with all the games features. The first is the arcade mode, and there's also a parking mode, score attack, versus records, and your all around game options. The Arcade mode is exactly what it means, its virtually identical to the arcade mode you would find at your local arcade. You travel from New York to San Francisco and every point between, delivering your goods within the allotted time limit while in the process you also have to battle a mean rival trucker.

Parking mode takes your parking and driving skills to the max in making you maneuver your rig around many twists and turns, until you reach your parking mark. Additionally, you are given a time limit that expires each time you hit something, which causes the mode to contain very high difficulty here. The next mode of play is Score Attack, where you race three laps around a track and earn as much money as you possibly can by destroying marked cars. But, be sure to avoid the unmarked ones, which will cause some money to be deducted. The final is a Versus mode, where you and a friend go head-to-head around a 3 lap course, which makes a nice additional multiplayer mode.

Another obtrusive flaw in this title is the control; it can be described as just down right horrible. It seems as if your semi has a mind of its own in terms of how you take turns. Sometimes you will turn with no trouble at all, and the next time, even at the same speed, your truck won't respond. The Rally Wheel support is a plus and makes the controlling your rig much easier, however I wouldn't recommend purchasing one just for this game.

As for replay, if your not too frustrated with failing levels just because of one or two mistakes, the game will last a little bit longer. Even with all these extra features, the game just doesn't seem to be much fun, it should have stayed in the arcades.

Bottom Line
Unless it's been your life long dream to drive an eighteen-wheeler, there isn't much here worth your time. If you don't believe me, at least rent the game before you buy it. I've even had a few other people play this game, and they all agreed that this game isn't worth all your time or the full price.

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