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Monster Truck Madness 64
Platform:  Nintendo 64
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  Edge of Reality
Publisher:  Microsoft and Rockstar
Features:  Rumble Pak Compatible
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Four trucks will race for their lives on the N64! Get ready for chills, thrills and bone-crushing spills! More excitement and more mud than ever before! It's Monster Truck Madness! Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Be there!

That is the type of excitement that you would expect playing a Monster Truck game. You want to hear the screaming crowd, hear the crushing of metal, and feel the adrenaline of being in control of a big damn truck. However, horrible control and poor texturing make Monster Truck Madness just a big disappointment. Its only redeeming qualities are its fun little mini-games and multi-player activities. Other than that the game is frustrating and annoying. Just another case of a poor port of a great PC game.

There are two different ways to play. You can race or you can engage in one of the battle games. I suggest you choose battle. The racing mode features ten courses through all kinds of terrain. You are also able to choose the weather from 4 different conditions. Each course has a main road that you can follow, but screw that. You are in a Monster Truck after all; you make your own roads. As long as you hit each checkpoint in the order that they appear on the track you are free to roam over the entire course jumping hills, smashing up gates, and even wading in a stream. The "go anywhere" interface is a nice touch. It is especially fun in the Chase and Tag battle modes.

However, all is not happy in the race mode. You really do not control the truck that you appear to be driving. What it feels like you are really controlling is the screen around the truck. If you move left the car will turn and then the whole screen will shift very abruptly. If you try to compensate then the screen will violently turn back again. What this leads to is driving very slowly trying to not lose the ever so delicate control over your vehicle. This is really the only problem with the game but it is a major problem. Who wants to be careful in a Monster Truck? You should be able to drive almost effortlessly around the terrain. Instead you must control the car like it is made of glass. It is too bad too because the weapons that you pick up (ranging from missiles and turbos to a shrinking ray and a lightning bolt) are cool and fun to use. Bad control really ruins this otherwise fun racing game.

However, when you are not really racing and are allowed to go anywhere you want, the game becomes pretty fun. There are 5 different battle games. The first two, Hockey and Soccer, play just like Buck Bumble's soccer game. There is a ball or puck in the center of the court and you and your teammate must drive it into the other goal. A very fun, very difficult challenge. Probably the best mini-game is the Summit Rumble, which is basically a king of the hill game. Try to keep your truck on the platform while knocking every other truck off. There is also a Chase mode and a Tag mode where you drive around chasing each other on the courses. In Tag the person that is "it" has a truck shaped like a chicken. Nice touch.

Even fans of Monster Truck racing will not find this game all that appealing. Though it has its moments the game seriously lacks where it counts the most. One of these days someone will figure out how to program physics for the N64 that are realistic and fun at the same time. Until that day, we will be stuck with endless power sliding and bad feel for all of the car (and truck) games on this system. I would say that this is worth a rental at least especially if you have someone to play with. Why not pick it up this Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Chris Shade

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