Monster Truck Madness

a game by Tantalus Interactive Pty

Platforms: GBAPC

Genre: Racing

See also: Monster Truck Madness Games

Overview

Driving a monster truck -- what kid has not had that dream? Wouldn’t it be great to jump in, say, Grave Digger and blaze your own trail to the finish line? Thanks to Microsoft, we kids who refuse to grow up can live this dream.

Monster Truck Madness takes 12 of the hottest trucks on the planet and lets you jump behind the wheel. What makes this game different from the other run-of-the-mill racing games available? Freedom. You can go anywhere your truck will take you. The roads are just suggested pathways that you can use or ignore (I prefer to ignore). Bounce off trees, buildings, trains and motor homes. Float across waterways. Rip through the mud, gravel and grass.

What’s behind door number 2? CORRECT! Crushing cars! That’s right, fly over rows of cars. What monster truck rally would be complete without a few smashed 1972 Vega coupes?

Gameplay/Controls/Interface

All of this sounds great, but how does it play? In one word -- excellent. The trucks are very responsive but have the feel you would expect from a monster truck. This is not Indy racing here. This is off-road, thrashing, bashing and smashing. Big balloon tires take a little longer to turn than Goodyear high performance tires. Microsoft did a great job capturing this feel.

Monster Truck Madness has four different race types. The first is the circuit racing. Circuit racing has five different tracks that take you through a number of terrains. This is just straight-up racing at its best. It is very tempting to take shortcuts, but be careful and pick your spots well or you will end up on your back looking at the sky. The second race mode is rally racing. Rally racing takes you all over the world. From Arizona to the Scottish Highlands, there is plenty of sand, mud, water and trouble to get yourself into. Third is drag racing. This is the traditional, side-by-side monster truck race. It is you against another truck, with only a row of cars to jump. This was my least favorite of the races, because at the end of the drag strip you must make a 90-degree turn and head back to the finish line. The turn is too tight, and I always end up in the crowd or on my back. The final race type is the tournament. The tournament combines the above races into one. This allows you to test your skills in all situations.

Another neat feature is the ability to save and resume a game at any point. So when your better half is yelling at you to turn off the damn computer and take the garbage out, you can save your race and pick up right where you left off.

Monster Truck Madness has keyboard controls along with joystick controls. Both are easy to learn and use. Both driving methods are responsive and fun to use.

Graphics

The graphics were very surprising. Everything is 3D rendered, with numerous stadiums, domes and tracks to choose from. The game gives you the option of four race views, all of which have their good points. I prefer the "Chase Near" view, because it gives a good view ahead so you can pick your shortcuts. All of the races and trucks are nicely done. It appears that a great attention was given to details. Everything just looks realistic.

Audio

The audio is average but can be annoying at times. The same theme plays almost constantly. The commentator has a limited vocabulary, and I sometimes wondered if he was watching the same race I was, or if he was having flashbacks to a different race.

System Requirements

Pentium, Win 95, 8 MB RAM (12 MB recommended), 100 MB hard drive space, 2X CD-ROM drive, Hayes-compatible modem for head-to-head play

Reviewed on: Pentium 133, 24 MB RAM, 1 MB PCI video card

Game performance was excellent with this system. Load times were average, but gameplay was smooth.

Bottom Line

Monster Truck Madness is a great game. Microsoft has a winner here if people can get over the fact that it is not a spreadsheet or word processor program. The ability to go off-road and blaze your own trail makes it all the more fun. Although I only know of a few of the trucks, there are plenty to choose from. The only down side is that there are not enough tracks, and the drag race is just too constricted. These are little things that keep this game from the elite status, but there are still hours of fun to be had. This game is a definite picker-upper and gets a deserving 88.

Monster Truck Madness Downloads

Monster Truck Madness download

Monster Truck Madness is a pocket full of hardcore truck racing fun. Sure, we're not talking high-res ultra realistic racing, but MTM is the most entertaining racing gaming for the GBA I've ever played.

THQ has published a game that manages to capture the full-realism of 3D driving on a handheld device without having to make the graphics small and jagged. Gameplay is pretty straightforward'you can choose between a quick Instant Action game, a Time Attack or the Race modes. The Race mode is basically a mini career game that has you racing through 30 tracks on a variety of difficulty settings. The tracks are a combination of fictional outdoor tracks, rallies and indoor arena races.

Players get to race ten different Monster Trucks including famous big wheelers like Grave Digger and Carolina Crusher.
The trucks seem to handle like they should, with the proper amount of unwieldy turning and bounce. And the tracks themselves are designed to really show that off, with plenty of big jumps and hairpin turns.

The controls are pretty straightforward with just your gas and brake buttons, your D-pad for directional control, and of course, your car horn and Ya-hoo button. I'll tell ya'more games should come with a Ya-hoo button. There's nothing like shouting out a Ya-hoo while grabbing air over fellow Monster Truckers.

The game also allows you to choose between three perspectives, from driver's seat to eagle's eye points of views.
The races are pretty much all about crushing stuff and mastering turns, though there are a number of floating power-ups and attack items on the courses that can help you overtake the leader or stretch your lead.

Although the graphics are very impressive, the audio leaves a bit to be desired. The engine and race sounds are pretty generic and the commentator doesn't have a lot of variety in his verbal bag of tricks.

Although this game is a ton of fun to play, it would have scored much higher if it would have included a multiplayer mode. It just doesn't make sense on a GBA to not include some form of multiplayer link up or turn-based racing.

Overall, Monster Truck Madness lives up to its name, providing gamers a chance to crush and crunch their way through tracks littered with debris while tearing around dirt turns and along hilly straight-aways.

reggie posted a review
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