"A game about big rigs? 18 wheelers driving across the United States of America? There's been plenty of unusual titles before this game's time, but still, it's not a premise you think would show up in a video game. Then again, it was made by Sega, a company that managed to turn taxi driving into a crazy activity, so if there's anyone that could make truck racing interesting, it's them."
A game about big rigs? 18 wheelers driving across the United States of America? There's been plenty of unusual titles before this game's time, but still, it's not a premise you think would show up in a video game. Then again, it was made by Sega, a company that managed to turn taxi driving into a crazy activity, so if there's anyone that could make truck racing interesting, it's them. As an arcade product, it works as a unique experience, with its cabinet modeled like a truck, complete with a giant steering wheel to grip. The actual game, too, tasks players to pull their heavy luggage across a couple stages on a time limit, while weaving around traffic, through changing terrain, weather, and against a rival that loves to plow through everything with destructive force.
18 Wheeler works as an arcade game, in an amusement park type of way, but not so much on a home console like the Dreamcast. The problem, and this is Sega's fault for delivering a lazy port job, is that the game is super short, having only four stages, each lasting an astonishing three to four minutes long. Do the math. Even on your first playthrough, figuring out where the time bonus vans are placed, what routes work best, and correctly aligning for slip streams, it can still be finished in just under 30 minutes. Amazing. But good short games always have that addicting replay value... another missing element from 18 Wheeler. Besides the graphics, there's nothing too exciting about the levels in terms of play mechanics: you drive slow and make simple turns on strictly linear stages. It's the complete opposite of Crazy Taxi's replay value, which allows players to roam freely in a sandbox city with numerous paths, motivating them to keep dashing forward with passengers against a constantly shrinking timer.
Skilled gamers can play Crazy Taxi for over one hour and still come back for more. Casual gamers can play 18 Wheeler for 15 minutes and never want to touch it again.
Surely Sega included some sort of bonus material for the Dreamcast port? Oh, they did, but I wouldn't consider it a bonus. The extra mode of play allows you to participate in newly mapped stages of... *drum roll*... parking! Yes, I can sense that delicious, gleeful expression on your face as you imagine playing these stages right now, parking from one spot to the next, briefly, and repeating the method four more times in each area. Raging hard-on, indeed! To put things in greater perspective, 18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker was one of the final games for the Dreamcast after Sega of America announced halting console production. So... um, thank you, Sega. Thank you for wasting resources on these inane releases, instead of more suitable choices like Fighting Vipers 2, or putting more time and effort on readying a last hurrah for the dying system, like, say, Shenmue II. But I guess I don't know what I'm talking about, I should just shut up and play more 18 Wheeler.
Community review by pickhut (February 19, 2012)
Alternative tagline: Hit the Road, Jack.
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