4 Wheel Thunder
|a game by||Kalisto|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 1 review|
|Rate this game:|
Finding out that 4 Wheel Thunder wasn't originally developed to be a part of Midway's Thunder series came as no shock after playing this game extensively. All of the similarities it has with Hydro Thunder feel tacked on, and Kalisto definitely didn't manage to strike the same balance that game has. Even though 4 Wheel Thunder has above average graphics and suffers from little to no slowdown, it doesn't help the fact that the plodding pace and uninspired track design lead to boring, uneventful racing. The difficulty, though not insurmountable, is a problem too. In order to win you pretty much have to hold down the boost button 100% of the time. However, the boost icons strewn throughout each track are so small that missing them is an all-too-common problem. Without them there's no hope of keeping up with the field, and thus no chance of winning the race. Likewise, as you unlock the secret tracks they get so twisty and claustrophobic that navigating them while holding the boost button is the most frustrating experience you're likely to have in a racing game. Ultimately 4 Wheel Thunder is never more than the sum of its parts. If Kalisto and Midway had decided to make this an off-road racer with no attachment to the Thunder series it may have been an exceptional game, but by tacking on the Thunder gameplay elements at the last minute the whole game became frustratingly average.
It's clear 4 Wheel Thunder has great stuff...just look at it, it's gorgeous! And that's not the only thing, the 4x4 vehicle physics are the best I've experienced. Those big-wheeled trucks react to the terrain just like you'd imagine they would. It's also nice that each vehicle be it truck, buggy or car, has distinct handling characteristics. The tracks themselves are super long, (the outdoor courses at least) picturesque and enduro-like. OK, now the bad news-it's too hard to win a race. You have to run flawlessly while popping turbos pretty much the entire time to have a chance. Multiplayer is definitely more friendly. For a seriously tough challenge check out 4 WT.
In true arcade fashion, 4 Wheel Thunder is fast, fun and very accessible. You'll start it up, and be knee-deep in racing in just a couple of minutes. Problem is, because of its arcadey gameplay, there's only an average amount of meat to the game. Thus, the fun factor fades in a fairly short amount of time. To keep things exciting, it seems an unnecessary amount of difficulty has been added. In fact, you'll be hard-pressed to come in better than fourth in most races (and that's using shortcuts and plenty of boosts). Still, the game is fun to mess around with, and it's awfully pretty to look at. It's fast, too. Overall, it's a definite rental--maybe a purchase.