You know I have been able to do a cross over between my Retro Video Gaming blog (http://retrovideogamingblog.blogspot.com/?m=1) and my Diary on an Amateur Vinyl Record Collector blog (http://briankeating1.wordpress.com) with a great deal of ease since when you get down to it both hobbies have the same dogma and goal behind them. But, I never thought I would see the day when I could do a cross over between the Retro Video Gaming blog and my Route 66 Family Fun blog (http://route66forfamily.blogspot.com/?m=1), but now that day has come.
Today I am going to talk about a Playstation 2 game by Sega called King of Route 66.
I think we all know that Route 66 has a huge international following, so it was only a matter if time till Japanese Sega would turn their attentions to Route 66 for a racing game.
Now, if you don't have a Playstation 2, and want to try it this game out you can find emulations out there. CoolRom.com and some other sites have it, just be aware that some versions may have viruses so try to go with a reputable emulation site. Also if you want to see what the game looks like and see it played you can find a lot of great videos about it on YouTube.
The King of Route 66, is essentially an arcade racer, in which you race 18-wheelers down Route 66 to beat your rival to the end delivery point. If you know anything about arcade racers then you know that they are pure silliness, with odd characters, power ups, vehicle upgrades, and all the goofyness you'd see in games like Crazy Taxi. So if you are looking for an actual 18-wheeler sim, don't look here.
The game is rated T for Teen, so don't let the cliche naked lady mudflap cover, and "get you chicks on 66!" back cover fool you. All you'll see is a lot of bare midriffs and that's about it, as most of the game concentrates on its premise. The plot line is also very cliche as the cut scenes refer to an evil trucking group known as "Tornado", terrorizing the people of Route 66. Your job is to defeat them by taking business away and out racing their drivers to delivery points in every level. Lets just say it's not exactly Final Fantasy plot lines or anything so don't look to find Steinbeck or Wallis quality in the story.
For the Route 66 Traveler
Keep in mind that this game is just for fun and not an accurate depiction of Route 66. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth a look. The game depicts a lot of Route 66 landmarks, in a really fun way. For instance you can race big rigs down Chain of Rocks Bridge, and launch your semi-truck off a ramp through the screen of the Route 66 Drive-In. Plus there are a lot of other fun presentations of Route 66 landmarks in the game. It's also a great way to get you kids interested in Route 66 by pointing out the landmarks as you see them in the game, it will give your kids something to associate the actual places with.
For the Gamer
PS2 still lives in the limbo realm between modern and retro system. So this games retro status is open to interpretation, and when it comes to the PS2 there is a lot of it. Like all arcade type racers skill and following the route may not be good enough, since your A.I. rival may have a short cut or two up his sleeve. This also means you will be repeating levels a lot until you get the fastest route possible down pat, so be ready for repeatitive play at times. This is also the kind of game where you choose your driver, and I have found that speed is a factor. With that said its a good, but not memorable game where the only thing that separates it from similar games is the 18-wheeler aspect.
I guess if you asked me to make the perfect Route 66 racing game I would have gone more for classic cars then 18-Wheelers. So in a way I think Sega did mess it up a bit. I mean they could have had funny characters as they did, but racing 57' Chevys and 65' Mustangs down the Route instead, with Greasers, and Elvis look alikes. Either that or make it more GTA style in which the routes detail is more developed and you do missions across country. But someday maybe, right?
So happy travels and/or good gaming.