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Monster Truck Madness 2 (PC) Review

Background Info

This is Microsoft's sequel to the ever-popular Monster Truck Madness released last year. Prepare to strap in and get ready for the most kidney-jarring ride of life!

Presentation/Graphics : 78
The opening cut scenes get the blood pumping with engines revving, and trucks jumping. As the game started, the graphics in the game are a bit lackluster and grainy, reminiscent of the same graphics engine that is in Microsoft's Flight Simulator Series. Background mountains and the trails were always present, but trees, rocks, and signs were "fading-in" as the vehicle followed down the trail. This inhibits the depth-perception in the game causing missed turns and some tense moments. The driver's compartment looks great with all the functioning gauges as would be expected in a real version of these trucks. Drive the vehicle from different views other than the driver's compartment. Despite the dull graphics, the game is still fun to drive and realistic. The jostling a person's eyeballs go through with this game, with rollovers, rough courses, getting hit by trains, etc., can leave a person feeling sick to their stomach!

Presentation/Audio : 86
The sound quality is very good, and the selection of music with the game keeps the excitement going. Only one drawback is the default volume for the background music drowned out the sound of the engine. Adjusting the volume in the Options menu easily fixes the problem.

Interface : 80
It is very easy to setup a game and go. The Menus are easy to navigate and very basic; in fact, the menus look more like a web page than a game menu. Choose Tracks and Vehicles via slide bars and choose other options by regular buttons. Type the driver name into the appropriate field, choose a track, select your vehicle, and go if you want to run a quick race. MTM2 has different options to tailor the game to the player's needs. The number of computer opponents is adjustable and the choice of their vehicles is allowable. The number of laps in a race can change also. Didn't like the way the truck ran the last race? Pop on over to the garage menu to change the tire type, adjust the suspension, or increase the transfer gear getting more speed. MTM2 provides a lot of in-game controls to further the enjoyment of the game while driving. Keyboard controls can allow a quick look around the terrain, call for helicopter help, look at the area map, or even let out a "YeeHaa!"

Gameplay : 89
The racing is very realistic, the controls work without pauses or glitches and these are key features of the game. At the higher difficulty levels, the vehicle was a lot harder to control, spending most of the time correcting for over-steer, to follow the trail. No problem: there is a steering sensitivity slide bar in the options menu to correct this. Microsoft even supports the Force Feedback Pro joystick providing even more realism. Another key feature, and probably the most important, is the multiplayer support for the game. MTM2 allows IPX play over a LAN system, but also is compatible with Microsoft's Internet Gaming Zone, a free internet gaming server to compete against other opponents.

Difficulty: 86
The Beginner level is a breeze: the truck out-powers the opponents and handles like a dream. Intermediate is more difficult, as the truck can still out-power the opponents, but handling setups come into play more and a person can spend more time fighting to keep the truck on the road more than worrying about opponents. Professional difficulty is for the masters and the computer opponents don't go easy. All the setups (gearing, suspension, tires, etc) figure into the game. If a person is off on their setup, last place might be in their future. Once a person has the knowledge of race setups and gets a good feel of driving the vehicle, the Professional difficulty will make or break you.

Overall : 84
Despite the absence of leading edge graphics, Monster Truck Madness 2 is a lot of fun, and well worth the money. Even more enhancing is the game's ability for Multiplayer support. The sound effects and controls are top-notch, though turning off the background music became a necessity after hearing the same riffs over and over. For those who like a challenging driving game, lots of horsepower, and playing in the mud, this game is for you!

By: Eric D. 7/19/98

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