I'm out to write a review with as much effort and ambition as the developers and publisher took to design and release the game itself. Where does one start with Big Rigs? In the short time it's been out, it's gained some cult notoriety going as far as earning the lowest possible score on Gamespot to churning out one of the catchiest quotes this side of “All your base..”. I'd say it falls in between the creative faux-pas of Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space and the Garbage Pail Kids Movie. I'd even go further as to say that Big Rigs doesn't even qualify as a game as it's more of a tech demo for a subpar 3D engine. After all, to qualify as a game, it must be interactive and I've seen fly-through demos more interactive than this. Needless to say, I'm going to throw out the usual review formalities and write on my gripes of this game and the companies that designed and published it.
There isn't much of a story to Big Rigs. You're a trucker in a “race” to deliver cargo to its intended destination while (as the box professes) “avoiding the law”. There are two catches to this statement. First, there's no sign of any cops. Second, you barely have an opponent. You begin a race at a starting line with another truck, but it doesn't really go anywhere. The result? You guessed it. You win every time.
The trouble starts right off the bat. You get a generic looking main menu. I went into the options to adjust the settings, since the game defaulted to resolution of 640x480. You can only toggle texture quality between low and normal and the game tops the resolution off at 800x600. I don't know if this happens on all systems, but it seems pretty poor on a GeForce 4ti. You can choose between two game modes, custom and random race. After choosing your game type, you're taken to a truck selection screen. Here you can choose one of four trucks including "Thunder", "Megaone", "Thunderbull", and "Sunrise W12". It really doesn't matter what truck you select, they all drive the same. One amusing characteristic on this is that only two of the trucks have cargo trailers. You then proceed to choosing a level consisting of Devil Passage 1 and 2, Forgotten Road 1, Nightride, and Small Town Road. Even though Nightride has a portrait of a expansive cityscape, it's the same level as the two Devil Passage levels. Forgotten Road 1 looks similar to the first two levels and only offers a drive through a small village for variety. Small Town Road takes you through a town complete with street signs in the middle of the road and mountains that you can drive through. One can honestly say that there are only three levels in this game since three of them are similar in every way save for day/night effects.
After playing the game for a bit, I discovered there was in fact a patch available for the game. Seems like too little too late, but I opted to give the game its just due for the review. After restarting the game, all of the technical problems still existed, but there was hope, my opponent started moving slowly. I proceeded to disregard the race at hand and took in some of the more comical elements of the game, only to reach the finish line just to see the other truck parked there waiting for me to win.
Game play is non existent. I'll go on record by saying this game is a beta test pure and simple. You just don't see a finished product that acts this way. Let's start with collision detection, or lack thereof. You can go through everything in your path including buildings, street signs, your “opponent”, and even bridges. You heard me right, bridges are there on the road, but you'll just clip right through them and back up the other side of the ditch they go over. Now, I don't talk to myself when I'm alone that much, if at all. But I found myself laughing and exclaiming things at the top of my lungs as I played this. It's beyond ridiculous. As if this isn't comical enough, the game defies even more laws of physics. Your truck never loses speed when traveling off road and can scale the steepest cliffs without a problem. This interesting form of free roaming freedom goes further, as you can travel outside of the level into purgatory and back in as you please. This is easy since your truck can speed up to 85mph in reverse and stop on a dime.
The bad doesn't stop at the game play. Environments are boring, repetitive, and downright ugly. Everything is painted with a coat of the blurriest most boring textures seen in a game in years. All of the trucks look generic, and don't even have working brake lights, just floating red orbs on the back end. The engine also does a horrible job of drawing the road in front of you with a draw distance of about ten feet. You'll also see such environmental anomalies as floating houses, or houses that are sunken into mountains, or street signs in the middle of the road. Hell, your opponent's wheels don't even move when they attempt to drive off. Don't worry about tech support either. The game doesn't have a website, and you'll see a link for the 1.0 patch right above the form to fill out to email tech support. It seems that Stellar Stone didn't deem this game worthy of a site. All gripes aside, I'll end with this, released games – whether they retail for $49 or $9 - should not be like this. Instead of rewarding you with a screen that states "You're Winner!' in a way, it's really just trying to say "You're Sucker!".
What was Stellar Stone thinking when they gave the go ahead to release this game? Do they have any quality assurance at all? This game is an embarrassment to them, as well as the people who produced it. Their website claims to “ provide our clients with best of gaming technologies and cut their development expenses, allowing them to concentrate on product rather than on technology hustles of development.” Looks like nobody concentrated on the product on this go around. I don't know what kind of money there were going to lose if they gave the game more development time so they could crank out something of even middling quality. People say PC gaming is dead, and games like this are starting to prove that. I wouldn't recommend anyone to buy this game, but it seems like the game is getting sales anyway by people reading all of these reviews to find out if the game is really that bad. In that case, buy it for curiosity and give the open box to someone you hate.
- Brad Hicks (aka Dr. Swank), SwankWorld Media