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Iggy's Wreckin Ball
Platform:  Nintendo 64
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  Acclaim
Publisher:  Acclaim
Features:  Rumble Pak compatible
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
One of the most advantageous things about the N64 is the ability to play 4 players without a multi-tap. This lends the programmers to come up with great games for 4 players since it is marketable. The newest of these multi-player gems is Iggy's Reckin' Balls, a fast-moving, challenging, and silly racing battle game from Iguana, Acclaim's developers responsible for Turok.

The story is quite simplistic. There are these big sacred multileveled towers that Iggy and his spherical friends feel like reckin'. So they have a race to the top to decide who gets to do the infamous obliteration. The game is rumble pak compatible so you can feel the destruction at home, if you catch the gold.

The play itself is a very fast race where the racers have to move up just as much as they have to move around the path. Since the racetracks are arranged in a tower format, much of the game involves reaching to higher levels with a grappling chain and pulling up. In this sense the game acts more like a platform game where players must complete all of the jumps and avoid all of the hazards just like in a Mario or a Crash. The big difference is that you have to navigate the track faster than your competitors. Make a mistake and you will not only have to do it over again but you will also have to gain ground to catch the other near flawless racers. Not an easy task.

Reckin' Balls comes with a healthy variety of tracks and locations ranging from a beach motif to towers made of candy. There are over 100 tracks including hidden tracks that you can navigate with up to 10 racers if you are lucky enough to earn the secret ones. I prefer the Elvis impersonator. Uh- Huh baby. Each racer has their own advantages and disadvantages. Some are quick on the ups; others fly fast on the straight-a-ways. Choose carefully.

It is really hard to see what kind of crowd this game was created for. Like Diddy Kong and Mario Kart it has the fun-for-kids cute graphics but the play seems so difficult that I cannot imagine an 8 year old sticking to it long enough to earn all of the secrets. One of the biggest problems is that a player must run 10 races and win or place in nearly all of them to achieve 1st place overall and get a reward. The difficulty is that one mistake can set you back so far that you will never be able to make it up. This can be very frustrating especially on tracks where there are 2 or 3 tough spots that the computer can navigate perfectly.

The game, like most of its kind, shines most brilliantly in its multiplayer mode. It is always more fun and satisfying playing against regular people who can make mistakes. The tracks are plentiful and are guaranteed to last a whole party without any repetitions. And if that gets boring there is a very nice battle mode where the combat­which occurs briefly in the race mode­becomes the primary focus. The grapples used for pulling up are now weapons as balls grasp, smash, and throw their opponents. Unlike combat in other games this one offers the option to add computer opponents so a 2 player death match can have up to 5 reckin' balls.

So if you are tired of sitting around with your Mario Kart and are dying for something new and different that you and your friends can build up new rivalries around I suggest Iggy's. If you are still waiting for a platform game like Mario or Banjo Kazooie I would wait for something that is more of a straight platformer. However if you have been sitting around just waiting to be able to race as a globe with teeth, then finally-finally they have made a game for you.

Chris Shade

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