Reviewed: October 31, 2007
Released: September 25, 2007
How can you hate mini car racing where you can use missiles and other cool collectables to hinder other racer in your way? The answer is you canít. Well that was before I started to play the new Hot Wheels game. Donít get me wrong, Hot Wheels: Beat That! doesn't disappoint in those areas. It just disappoints everywhere else.
You have two racing modes to choose from; Multi and Single. When in single player mode you have easy, medium, and hard difficulty levels. Sounds like a good start until you realize that you can only start out on Easy until you unlock the next difficulty level. When you start out picking easy you are taken to a area where you have four race levels with three sub levels: Quick Race, Eliminator, and Rampage.
The quick race levels are exactly that, a three lap race where you start out in last and have to work your way up. The Eliminator is a race where you have to keep from being in last place for 30 seconds until all the cars are gone. Finally, Rampage is a short little level where you have to complete a given task and blow up cars. Rampage only last about 25 seconds apiece. These donít sound bad but the thing is you buy this game thinking it is going to be "racing" and you then find out you have to complete tasks while racing to unlock the next set of sub levels by earning tires.
The higher place you finish the more tires you earn and for each task you complete you get a tire. After you unlock all the sublevels and finish third or higher in every race you unlock the tournament level. This tournament is a compilation of the four sub levels that you've completed already where you get points based on your finishing position. You can just race or you can make it a little more difficult and complete the task given to you. Once you complete every level you unlock another set of levels. You still have quick race, eliminator, and rampage but on different courses.
Now there are a lot of different cars, 30 in total, you can unlock along with the new levels with your acquired tires. The problem is that all the cars starting out and the first couple of cars you unlock are pretty much all the same. The further you play into the game the better the cars get. The cars are based on four categories: Speed, Acceleration, Handling, and Charging. Speed is how fast your car goes. Acceleration is how quickly the vehicle accelerates after getting knocked off the course or blown up. Handling is how your car steers, mostly around turns. Finally, Charging deals with your Hot Wheels Power Bar (This allows you to charge up the weapons you'll collect during the races). Some ways to power up your power bar is by drifting, drafting, and jumps.
To maneuver your way around these tracks you will have to learn how to use the special buttons for specific needs. First off, you have to be able to drive so you just have to push and hold the X button to accelerate. Now if you want to drift on your turns so you can stay at a quick speed you have to learn how to time your drift by pressing the L1 button. If you are trailing some other racers you will have to be able to use your weapons and to do this you have to be locked on and press the R1 button.
If you have the ability to you should always supercharge your weapons and you do this by holding down the R2 button. To aim and steer are the done all at the same time so it can be tricky sometimes. This is done through your left analog stick. If you donít like to use the analog stick you can use the directional buttons with your left thumb.
This game is not trying to go for realism. This is a cartoon based game. The backgrounds are great ideas but way too cluttered. The first level you are in is a bedroom. Great idea for mini hot wheels cars to race around but there is way too much in the track. This makes the way you are suppose to go really hard to distinguish until it is too late and you are stuck on a wall and find yourself in last place.
The cars are great classic hot wheels cars and actually look like classic ones with all the decals. As the levels went on they impressed me more and more but there was something about them that just rubbed me the wrong way.
I donít know what it is but the sound in each of the last couple of games I have played have really been awful. First off, you donít hear the explosions of the missiles crashing into another car or your own. Next, you donít hear very good racing car sounds like squealing tires or crash sounds when you hit a wall. Finally, I got really tired of hearing the same song repeat after it was finished during the same level. They really needed to have a better group of songs if not a longer list. The sound really could have added a lot to this game and make it from an average game to a pretty decent game.
This is a PlayStation 2 game so it is at more of a discount than the other systems out there but not a big enough one. Yes there are a lot of levels and sub-levels but you quickly become tired of seeing the same level 12 times and then all four again in the tournament. The overall length is good for the price but you will quickly get bored on the easy setting and if you are just looking for a racing game this is not what you want and not for the price of $40. It will be a much better value when it hits the $20 bargain bin.
The biggest problem I had with Hot Wheels: Beat That! is that I was going into playing it thinking it was just a pure racing game with cool weapons to help you get ahead in the race. I hated to have to think about the various objectives I needed to complete to get more tires so I could unlock more levels and new cars.
If you love to think and complete Tony Hawk-style tasks and love the fact that you have to start from ground zero and work your way up to play the next part of the game this is a great game. Just keep in mind that you have to start out doing all of it on easy and dominate to the point of boredom just so you can get a higher difficulty level and then do it all over again to get the next highest difficulty. There are plenty of great racing games out there for the PS2. Sadly, this isn't one of them.