Wave Race: Blue Storm
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 11/17/01 | Genre: Driving
Wave Race was a huge hit on the N64, and now it just got a major face-lift to debut with the Nintendo GameCube. However, is there more here than just great graphics?
The answer is both yes and no... but mostly no. The gameplay in Wave Race: Blue Storm will immediately be familiar to those who have played the N64 game. The main objective in the game is to race in the championship mode and beat all the computer racers to the finish. Depending on how you finish, you'll be rewarded with a certain amount of points, and if you get enough points, you can move on to the next day. Of course, you can also perform stunts during the race to earn boost power. Along each course is a series of buoys that you must pass on either the left or the right depending on the color. If you miss five or more, you're out of the race. Passing each buoy correctly gives you more boost power that you'll definitely need to use wisely in the harder circuits.
The game does feature other modes such as Time Attack and Stunt Mode, but these are mainly just little extras that compliment the main game nicely, but they don't add a whole lot of replay value to the mix. In fact, the replay value is definitely the game's achilles' heel. You'll have a blast when you first get started, but after a few plays the game loses its credability. The varying weather effects help a bit, but come on, how many times can you play the same track with the only difference being in the size of the waves? Well, I'm guessing that most of us would like a little more, but I'm sure there are some old school Wave Race fans that will be perfectly happy with what they get.
Blue Storm's greatest appeal is almost certainly the insanely beautiful water effects. Water in a video game has never looked, or acted more real. In fact, you may want to hire a life guard for your living room to make sure you don't try diving head-first into your television set. The water will reflect things above its surface, and at times you can also see distorted images of what lies beneath the waves, it is truly an amazing visual feat. The graphics are definitely the most noticeable improvement over the original, and they are pretty much the ONLY improvement. Not to say that the rest of the game is bad, but if you've played the first, then there's not a whole lot of new stuff to see here. Most of the courses were in the first game, and while they may have had a GameCube overhaul, it's just not enough.
The sound in Wave Race is one of the game's stronger points. The opening theme is awesome, and throughout the races you can hear a wide variety of sound effects. These range from the sound of your engine to the sounds coming from the environment around you. Also, each character has a coach that will talk to you during the races and let you know how you're doing. The engines sound good, and the crashing of the waves sounds even better. All in all, Wave Race is a treat for the ears.
Wave Race: Blue Storm is a good game, but it is lacking in the replay department, and its realistic water physics may not be for everyone; it does take some practice to manipulate your craft skillfully among the waves. Fans of the first game will probably pick this one up right away, and many other gamers will too. However, you may not enjoy the game very much after a few days. You have been warned.