Wild Wheels logo

Ocean £25.99

Just when you thought all the permutations of football had been covered, along comes Wild Wheels. The gme is a 3D footy game played between teams of cars. The idea is pretty original and the presentation is rather neat, but Wild Wheels lacks one vital element: gameplay.

The challenge is minimal to say the least, meaning that the game is fated to live out its days in the recesses of the software cupboard.

Wild Wheels logo

Stellt Euch mal ein Fußballmatch vor, bei dem anstelle der Spieler riesige Lkws antreten, und der Lederball durch eine Eisenkugel ersetzt wird: Die Amis bezeichnen sowas als Sport. Ocean hat es geglaubt und gleich versoftet - das Ergebnis ist grauenhaft!

Dabei wäre der Anfang noch ganz vielversprechend: Man darf verschiedene Optionen anwählen, z.B. den Schwierigkeitsgrad, ob Freundschaftsspiel oder Liga-Modus, sogar die Spielformation für's kommende Match kann festgelegt werden. Natürlich braucht man auch ein Auto, wobei der Anfänger mit dem langsamsten und kleinsten von zehn Trucks vorliebnehmen muß.

Aber das soll sich ja bald ändern, denn wer ein paar Runden durchsteht, kassiert viele schöne Punkte, und davon kann man sich dann so einen richtig schönen Monstertruck leisten.

Die Enttäuschung kommt nach dem Anpfiff. Entweder man wählt den 3D-Modus, was den Vorteil hat, daß dabei die Grafik einigermaßen ordentlich aussieht - leider läßt sich bei dieser Darstellungsweise (trotz Richtungspfeil und Mini-Radarscreen) aber kaum feststellen, wo das Kügelchen gerade rumschwirrt.

Schaltet man deswegen auf die Draufsicht um, tauchen neue Probleme auf: Einmal sind alle Objekte am Screen nun klein und häßlich, zum anderen wird das Spiel durch den Perspektivenwechsel plötzlich unheimlich leicht, daß die Computerteams keinerlei Chance mehr haben!

Der Vollständigkeit halber sei noch angeführt, daß es diverse Bonusfelder sowie Extras zum Sammeln (Benzinkanister, Extrawaffen) gibt, und daß der Sound absolut fürchterlich ist. Aber was soll man ohnehin mit einem Game anfangen, daß entweder unspielbar oder kindisch einfach ist?! (C. Borgmeier)

Wild Wheels logo

Ocean take a break from licences to invent football... with cars?

Since just about everyone else has had a go at 3D second-person perspective sports games (most recently Millennium with the execrable Stormball), Ocean have decided they might as well try it, and they've come up with Wild Wheels, from the same programming team (Red Rat) who brought you Microprose;s International Soccer Challenge.

The basic concept is six-a-side football played by cars, and apart from being able to buy power-ups and better vehicles with prize money, that's about all the game amounts to.

You zip around using any of a number of viewpoints (a bit like a flight sim, you can watch from inside your car, slightly behind it, zoom around or even use the overhead view, which as it happens is pretty much the only one where you get a halfway-decent idea of what's happening and where everything is.

Unfortunately, since the overhead view only occupies a little box at the side of the screen, the graphics are all absolutely tiny, so it's tricky to make everything out anyway) and er, punt the ball in the general direction of the goal, while trying simultaneously to wreck the opposition's cars and prevent them doing the same to you.

The most interesting variation on the norm is that the goals themselves are deadly to the touch, so you need to be pretty sharp on the brakes if you score from close in (which is where you get the most points). While moving up the leagues, buying new vehicles and trying out new tactics will keep you amused for a couple of hours initially, in the longer term there's very little to actually do. It's simply not really fast and zappy enough to supply much entertainment while you're doing it either.

While it's all perfectly well done and attractively presented (in what's fast becoming the standard TV show kind of set-up), Wild Wheels is let down by a basic game design that should have been too dull and shallow to have ever been allowed to get past the drawing-board stage. It's certainly better than Stormball, but then again that's like saying Atilla The Hun was better than Hitler.

Mediocrity is an improvement on outright crapness, but it's still nothing to fork out hard-earned (or even not-very-hard-earned) money for.

Wild Wheels logo

Written by Red Rat, who recently enjoyed success with MicroProse's International 3D Soccer, Wild Wheels utilizes the same 3D pitch but replaces the players of the former with a series of hotrods and a grossly over-inflated ball.

Wild Wheels is a sport invented to relieve the pent up frustrations of our ecology-sound future society, and is played by a team of six vehicles using traditional petrol-driven engines, rather than the electric or solar ones that Joe Public has to drive.

The player starts the game with a team of weedy 'Shrimp' mobiles which are, frankly, not up to much. Play commences when a massive steel ball has been dropped into play with the subsequent action viewed from directly behind the player's car. The screen then scrolls to follow the vehicle's every movement across the pitch.

The opposition's cars immediately start to chase the ball, aiming to knock one into your goal. Win a match and you get to enter the speed shop, where the player is given the chance to buy a series of enhancements for more powerful vehicles before taking on the next of the ten computer-controlled teams.

A neat hybrid of the car and footy genres, Wild Wheels is let down by the repetitive nature of its gameplay. The bonus goodies that appear during each match add a little further interest, but on the whole the action is very tedious.