You are currently viewing an archival version of GF!

Click here to return to the current GamesFirst! website.

Questions? Suggestions? Comments?
Contact us at:

aptcover.jpg (14697 bytes)

star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)

by Acclaim

18w15-01.jpg (8468 bytes)There’s a unique feeling that almost every gamer knows—the whoosh of the arcade doors, the smell of vidiot sweat, the sound of palms slapping the side of a joystick accompanied by the gulp of Ms. Pacman swallowing a power pellet. When you’re in an arcade, you have that feeling of hyped-up adrenaline and unparalleled joy that you can only get in a room filled with monster video games, both the classics and the brand-spanking new. It’s not odd to pump numerous quarters into a game that is fairly simple and walk away totally satisfied with the experience. The only problem comes when you strip away the arcade, take away the adrenaline rush, and slip a game, which has been only slightly modified from its arcade equivalent, into your PS2 . Shelling out fifty bucks at the store tends to give us a more critical eye when looking at the console children of arcade parents. Some games still inspire the simple arcade joy while others leave us wishing we had left our arcade memories in tact. Eighteen Wheeler—American Pro Trucker is one of the latter. With all of the variations of racing games out there that are beautiful graphically and have phenomenal gameplay, the only reason a person might pick up 18 Wheeler is probably nostalgia.

18w13-01.jpg (8698 bytes)Pro Trucker has an arcade mode, "parking" and "score attack" sideline games, and a versus mode. There are four truck options with differing speed, torque, and toughness, yet the only real specialization occurs when you can choose your trailer (everything from logs to gasoline). In the arcade mode, you are given four cross-country trips with bonus games being earned by beating your rival trucker. Each trip has checkpoints that you have to make in the allotted time, or you are forced to concede defeat and start over. The difficulty setting in the arcade mode can be set on very easy, easy, normal, hard, and very hard. The Parking mode tests your ability to park your truck in five places in a given time and Score Attack is a three-lap run to get both points (from hitting special bonus cars) and money (by finishing in a short amount of time).

18w10-01.jpg (8755 bytes)The graphics on this game look like PS1 graphics. No, really. Granted, I may be getting spoiled, but after looking at tasty games like GT3, I have much higher standards for what I expect even in a simple racing game. The landscapes lack detail and tend to blend into one another. I know what the technology can do for vast cityscapes and this game doesn’t even attempt to put that kind of time into the environment. With all of America to choose from, there should have at least been something to sink our teeth into. Perhaps the designers felt like we wouldn’t really notice, as we blazed down the freeways, but trust me, we do.

18w09-01.jpg (9206 bytes)The control of each of the trucks is varied slightly, with lighter trucks being faster and having more load shift and heavier trucks taking longer to come up to speed but being very solid on the road. The type of load also tends to make a difference in your acceleration and up-hill pulling, although I didn’t really notice any other effect in arcade and versus mode. When parking, load type and size is an issue, and the rearview mirror is helpful in negotiating the challenges. The difficulty settings in the arcade mode do make a difference, but with as unenthusiastic as I am for the game, the added challenge isn’t enough to really give this game any longevity.

18w08-01.jpg (9224 bytes)The quips from rival truckers and the announcer are the most annoying thing in the game. There is almost no variation in responses, and I found that instead of wanting to beat the rival trucker, I wanted to try and run them off the road. However, the game didn’t really give me that option. You can definitely steer someone off the road, but it isn’t a permanent solution. On the other hand, the game doesn’t really let you get too far off-track yourself, so I guess this is only fair. The music is actually the most interesting part of the sound overall, inspiring you to start using trucker slang, lay on your horn, and start dreaming about rubber-ducky in "Convoy," but you get woken up much too soon by the inane chatter of the announcer or your rival.

18w19-01.jpg (9682 bytes)Some of the updates of arcade favorites have included the old-style gaming along with some new surprises, and these are the best mixes of arcade and console…of classic and the brand-spanking new. When the stakes are the price of a new game, we expect a little more than a trip down memory lane for our dollar. If we want just a simple racing game, we still expect high level graphics and at least the option of more complex gaming through specialization, environments, or plot (gasp, she wants a real plot!). Eighteen Wheeler gives us the nostalgia, but just doesn’t deliver the type of console gameplay that the savvy arcader has come to expect. If you want the thrill of American Pro Trucker, save your quarters and take yourself to the arcade.

Monica Hafer   (02/14/2002)


Ups: Big, American semi trucks. Woo-Hoo!

Downs: Dated graphics; incredibly small game; just doesn't compare to arcade experience.

Platform: PlayStation 2