Hot Wheels Turbo Racing

a game by Stormfront Studios

Platforms: PSXNintendo 64Nintendo 64

Genre: Racing

See also: Racing Games, Hot Wheels Games

Any of you out there with a respectable childhood will have no doubt at some time come across the brightly coloured Mattel Hot Wheels toys. It was great fun to spend hours with your mates organising meticulously well planned crashes on twisting chicanes of track. This game is for everyone who couldn't afford enough of the plastic track sections to make a complete circuit.

Unfortunately, EA has managed to ideate the plastic experience all too well in this game, and you can't help but feeling that this was great opportunity missed. Within minutes of playing this Hot Wheels you'll realise the game doesn't require much in the way of skill This is all because, like the Mattel toys, the track hedges you in on both sides, in most cases preventing you from turning. This would be all right if this slowed you down, but for the majority of the track you can simply hold down the accelerator with no need for turning. An occasional turbo here and there and a win is pretty much guaranteed.

Burning Rubber

Having said that, the final tournament in the game, the Twinmill Challenge, is quite a tough cookie to crack, but ultimately not impossible. Within one day of playing this game all the cars and all the tracks were unlocked - hard this game is not! There are loads of vehicles on offer though, so if you don't tire of the repetitive gameplay there is some small potential for replay value. There is a grand total of 40 cars once they've all been opened up.

As you might expect from an officially licensed game like this all the cars on offer are actual Mattel Hot Wheels die-cast vehicles - and what great names they have. Someone at Mattel must have had a serious phallic obsession to christen two of the cars Purple Passion and Street Rodder! The cars themselves don't handle too badly, but on the confined tracks this doesn't really make any difference. Where it does matter is when you are flying through the air spinning through thousands of degrees, performing tricks a fighter pilot would have trouble stomaching.

Flipping out

Tricks and turbos are what Hot Wheels is all about, which is a shame because this has to be one of the biggest mistakes in the game. If there's one thing a car cannot do, it's tricks! Think about it - a car just cannot turn that many different ways, and it's not as if you can stick your arm out the window and do a nose grab! You're limited to flat spins, flips and barrel rolls, which all quickly become repetitive, but are unfortunately unavoidable. The reason is that to win turbos, you must do tricks.

To make matters even worse, you cannot link tricks together and the trick detection itself is atrociously bad. Picture the scene: you arrive at a ramp and manage to get enough air to tweak the nose of the car a bit before you land. Superb - you've been awarded a 'Stolen Air' and one turbo. Do the same trick again though, and it could be called anything from a 'Tribal Air' to a 'Spooky Air'. What this means is that you don't get the satisfaction that comes from a well-planned assault on the air - everything seems to be too random. The only tricks which are guaranteed to get the correct recognition are things such as front flips, but even these are occasionally ignored.

Loop the loop

As well as the usual Single Race and Tournament modes you get the Airtime Challenge, which is basically a variation standard Trick Attack. The idea is to go as mad as possible and pull off as many tricks and stunts as you can for points. It's great to switch to the first- person in-car view for this mode and just go for as many flips and twists as possible in the air, but keep a bucket to hand. Pull off four or more front flips to be awarded a 'Frontflip Fury'. Alas, getting high scores here doesn't do a thing in the game, but it's great for showing up your mates.

Whatever you do though, don't go out and buy this game simply for the multiplayer experience because you will be severely disappointed. For some unexplainable reason EA has neglected to upgrade the two-player PlayStation version to four-player on the N64. Graphics have been improved slightly and the game runs at a fast enough rate, but surely it can't have been too difficult to make good use of the four controller ports. After all, it's not as if the game is I too taxing!

A nice idea for a game that is seriously let down by simplistic and repetitive gameplay. If you're trying to recapture your youth, go out and find some of the real toys - they're collectable now, you know!

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Hot Wheels Turbo Racing Downloads

Hot Wheels Turbo Racing download

It comes as no surprise to find that Hot Wheels is a peculiarly American type of racing game, and one that has a lot in common with San Francisco Rush and Beetle Adventure Racing. Namely, ridiculously huge jumps and very little in the way of precision handling.

Based on the popular range of toy cars, the emphasis in Hot Wheels is on going very fast, smashing opponents out of the way, and pulling stunts, the reward for which comes in turbos. Unfortunately, stunts are simply a case of pushing the analogue stick up, down or sideways, with none of the intricacy of similar systems in Wave Race and 1080° Snowboarding. And most of the tracks are so narrow that winning a race is merely a matter - a la Extreme G - of bouncing off walls until you reach the finish line.

Inevitably, Hot Wheels becomes a bit of a chore once the exaggerated racing/jumping novelty has worn off. There's not much demand for skill, and therefore not much reward, so we'll stick with Mario Kart and World Driver Championship for the time being. Thank you and goodnight.

reggie posted a review

Overview

Strap yourself into the baddest, fastest race car you can find, put on your driving gloves and get ready for some of the wildest racing action available for your PlayStation console system! Electronic Arts has put together quite a unique game that combines racing, crashes, stunts and music into a game that will keep you challenged and entertained for quite some time. As a kid, I remember putting together a Hot Wheels track and having a blast with the outrageous racing machines and racetracks that got millions of kids like me hooked on racing car action. This game is like no other racing game I’ve ever played. You can now re-live those days with Hot Wheels Turbo Racing, and hone your skills into a daredevil racing guru! The tracks are very unique and exciting, with action and variety that will keep you coming back again and again.

Gameplay

I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t absolutely thrilled with this game when I first got it. It took me a while to get used to the controls and it takes a lot of practice to get used to performing the stunts and negotiating through some of the tracks without crashing into a million pieces, but mastering the skills necessary to be a winner at the game is what makes it satisfying and worthwhile. Sure, you can easily learn the basic moves and stunts within about 20 minutes without a problem, but when you first put together a difficult combination stunt like a reverse flip side-roll and barely get your car flipped around to land on its wheels before it crashes into the ground, you’ll soon see how exciting, satisfying and fun this game can be. It really takes a while to get comfortable with the cars and the tracks. There are over 40 Hot Wheels cars to choose from. Each one has its own unique look, but it’s the performance characteristics that you need to be more concerned with. Sure, they all look really cool, but you want to be able to make it around the track fast enough and in one piece to be able to win the race. Some of the cars will have higher top speeds than others and varying degrees of stunt ability, durability and control responsiveness. Your job is to find a car that will best suit your driving style and abilities. When you reach certain levels and win some races, new cars will be unlocked that can have higher performance characteristics than the standard cars that are available at the beginning of the race.

You can choose between five different modes of play, on 11 different racetracks. The modes of play are the Exhibition Race, the Airtime Challenge, the Hot Wheels Cup, and two other different practice modes. In the Hot Wheels Cup, the goal is to finish first in the race against the other cars. Your speed on the course is determined by the number of "Turbos" you accumulate and use to propel your car into break-neck speed. A single turbo accumulated can be used whenever you want a quick burst of speed over and above the engine’s regular capability. A single Turbo use only lasts about three to four seconds, so you’ll soon see why it’s important to learn how to pull off some really cool stunts because you are awarded these Turbos based on your performance of these stunts. The amount of Turbos awarded to you is based on the difficulty of the stunt performed and your successful completion by landing on your wheels without touching any of the walls or other objects. It may sound simple but you’ve really got to be pulling off a lot of good stunts over and over again in order to keep getting Turbos to help you stay ahead of the pack. Don’t worry though, because it’s really a blast! The controls are laid out well and it doesn’t take too long to learn how to flip and spin the cars on two different axes. The tracks are really cool, with plenty of loops and secret passageways to keep you on your toes. You’ll have fun exploring the secret passageways to find new ways around the track. Metallica, Primus and several other bands further enhance the game with some killer tunes. You can choose which music you want to hear, or you can let the system randomly play them for you. There are also plenty of "Power-Ups" spread throughout the tracks. When you pick one of them up, it will temporarily boost your vehicle’s performance. They include power-ups that increase the car’s durability, stunt performance, road-holding, braking, turbo power and off-road shortcut power.

The other main mode of play is the Airtime Challenge. This mode is not quite as fun in my opinion, since you are simply performing stunts to accumulate as many points as possible. I’m sorry, but I like the Hot Wheels Cup much better, where you’re fighting for position against a pack of crazed racing cars that are really screaming through the tracks. It just seemed a lot more competitive, challenging and exciting to me.

Graphics

The graphics in this game are actually pretty darn good. I like the unique racetracks, which are highly colorful and nicely detailed. Some of the tracks are really cool. They even did a nice job on all of the background scenery whizzing by on the screen. I think the cars are pretty well detailed too.

Bottom Line

This is one of those games that was a real surprise to me. I never expected it to be as good as it is. It is a lot of fun, very challenging and unique. Many people will probably overlook this game due to its name. They’ll probably equate Hot Wheels Turbo Racing with being a game that is geared solely towards young kids, which is not the case at all. Sure, the youngsters will enjoy it as much as anyone else will, but the big kids will surely get a kick out of it too. If you enjoy racing games at all, I would say that it is a safe bet you’ll really like Hot Wheels Turbo Racing. I can honestly say that I don’t have anything negative to say about this game. Go buy it!

reggie posted a review
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