Hot Wheels: Velocity X (US Import)
Hot Wheels has a number of single and multiplayer modes. Single player involves Adventure - a story mode with mission objectives; and Challenge - completing a number of set tasks. There is also Drag Race - the nearest it gets to a traditional racing game. Battle - a death match against enemy cars; and Joy Ride - a no limits drive around unlocked areas. Multiplayer modes involve Drag Race and Battle, in up to four player split screen. It is also possible to link up the Game Boy Advance version and unlock three extra cars, bringing the eventual playable total to over forty.
The main part of the game is Adventure and Challenge modes. In Adventure, you take on the role of Max Justice, and attempt to recapture the Velocity X formula - a new type of fuel which has been stolen from your father.
Adventure encompasses thirty missions across six environments. Each mission has a number of objectives, ranging from driving from one checkpoint to another, or battling with a number of opponents by either ramming into them, or using the fifteen unlockable weapons and power-ups. You may also be challenged to a race, have to escort another vehicle or transport a bomb to safety. The six main environments are huge and range from downtown to desert to glacier. There are multiple routes and much of the scenery is destructible. The areas are littered with ramps and half pipes, from which your car can jump and flip to either perform a stunt - which is converted into nitro for a speed boost - or to access short cuts.
Hot Wheels borrows game play elements from titles such as Crazy Taxi, Smugglers Run and Driver, though never manages to better their inspiration. The Challenge mode involves completing increasingly harder tasks such as finding and collecting items within a time limit, or beating a predetermined stunt score.
The missions in Adventure mode just aren't interesting or varied, and really only amount to three different tasks: collecting items, battling other cars or racing to a checkpoint. The missions also have an erratic difficulty curve, some being frustratingly hard whilst later ones can sometimes be much easier.
Handling of the cars can also frustrate; they never turn as quickly as a game of this nature requires. The game's camera angles also cause problems. When driving on anything but a flat surface, you'll often lose direction on the numerous loops and twists. The multiplayer modes are too few and suffer from the same limitations as their counterparts in the single player game.
Graphically, the game engine has an impressive draw distance with very minimal pop-up. Although the environments are huge, they are also quite bland both in design and in use of low resolution repetitive textures. On occasion, the game also slows down quite badly which just compounds the car handling issues mentioned earlier.
Generally, the game is deaf gamer friendly and there will be nothing to hamper your ability to play. There are unfortunately a few omissions, Adventure modes FMV introduction and end movie sequences, together with Max Justice's occasional in game voice samples - such as "That's got to hurt" or "Gotcha" - are not subtitled. Thankfully, the mission briefings are.
Overall Game Rating: 4.0/10 Hot Wheels: Velocity X doesn't do anything particularly new or particularly well. It's a below average racing adventure with lacklustre game play and graphics.
Deaf Gamers comment: For deaf gamers there are a couple of omissions but nothing that would affect your ability to play.
Reviewed by Alf