Review: Chevrolet Camaro: Wild Ride (WII)

Chevrolet Camaro: Wild Ride
Publisher: Storm City Games
Developer: Visual Impact
Genre: Racing
Released: 10/30/10

If Chevrolet Camaro: Wild Ride has a plot, it is conveyed with an unheralded subtlety, the likes of which the masters of English literature themselves would be envious of. Perhaps, buried amongst the jagged menus and waiting room music, there is a story being told, though I seriously doubt it. Instead of a story, the player is put in front of a number of computer screens and an elevator control panel in order to navigate to one of three modes: Camaro mode, Two Player Mode, and Time Attack Mode.

The bulk of the game’s content, and issues, are contained in the Camaro mode. Camaro mode would be best described as a “ËœStory’ mode or a “ËœCareer’ mode, if one was charitable, but I am not a charitable man any longer, not after enduring this. What Camaro mode is, at heart, is a series of hoops to jump through in order to gain rewards, the carrot and the stick principle fully realized, though the stick is a twig and the carrot made of cardboard. The carrot is access to the twelve different Chevy Camaro models and assorted (very) fictional tracks around the world. The stick is the need to repeat mindless tasks over and over in order to gain enough of the Chevy Points you need.

The Challenges of Camaro mode is the lone shining point of hope, though it puts off a very dim and flickering light. Running over magical color changing road cones, trying to reach a specified speed within a set time, and racing point to point like a rally car are about as fun as this game gets. The unfortunate part is that these Challenges have a points ceiling, preventing the player from gaining all of the points they need from hooning about. This means that the dreadful, painful, despicable racing is a requirement to advance.

Oh yes, the racing here is truly a work of sadism. The five other AI controlled cars are prone to ramming, sideswiping, and using the PIT maneuver to keep you in line. Well, they do these things when they are not spinning out and crashing all by themselves. When the only good thing that can be said about the AI is that it makes enough mistakes to be comical, that tells you a lot about the game at hand. Even as they crash about, they do have a strange tendency of catching up with you if, gods forbid, you manage to get a lead. Strange, that is.

Two Player mode is self explanatory: trick someone into playing this terrible, terrible game with you and see if you can finish the race before they punch you in the face for making them play this. Time Attack mode is equally uninspired: beat the target time on the track and have your name written on the top ten. Yay! Surely there is no more noble quest than to emblazon one’s name on this list? I can only think of several thousand things I would rather do.

What is really strange, though, is the way these Camaros handle. I am not a professional mechanic or race car driver, but I do have a fair understanding of how cars work and how to drive them. In my limited experience, cars do not routinely spin 360 or 540 or 720 degrees in the middle of the road without some sort of trickeration being involved. In the world that Chevrolet Camaro: Wild Ride comes from, since it is obviously not the same one I live in, heavy, powerful muscle cars routinely spin perfectly in place like Detroit built ballerinas. It is truly amazing to watch a front engine, rear wheel drive beast of a car spin about like a mid-engine kit car on a sheet of ice. And by “Ëœamazing,’ I mean completely awful.

With whatever controller style you try, the results are universal: Chevrolet Camaros are the most dangerous cars in the world to drive. Not only do they spin out with the least bit of provocation, they also steer like they are weightless and lack the grunt, torque, and muscle you would expect. This is not arcade racing, this is not even trying. I spent half a race driving on the invisible wall over a fence, my wheels up in the air, spinning wildly. I have turned 90 degrees while I was IN THE AIR!

The graphics, oh the graphics, they are also worthy of note, that is, noting how nightmarishly hideous they are. Blurry, muddy, and foggy, I was reminded of the N64. Not a twinge of memory, a full blown case of déjà vu. The cars do not have the proper geometries and only resemble the cars they are based on in very broad ways. Camaros are distinctive cars, but not in this game. This could have been Barracuda Blast or Montego Mania or Hemi Hullabaloo and no one would have noticed. The whole game just looks bad. It has been proven time and time again that the Wii can handle good graphics, but I am guessing the shovelware industry never got the memo.

What passes for sound engineering in this game is as dreadful as the graphics. The music is universally bland pseudo-cock rock with guitar samples atop uninteresting keyboards. Coupled with the anemic engine sounds, I had to make sure my Wii was properly hooked up. Surely the mighty Camaro is louder than a Subaru Forester! Well, not in this game. Instead, the Camaro sounds weedy and bland. The tires don’t even squeal properly, which is appropriate since they do not really even look like they are touching the ground. There is little to enjoy sonically. Hell, I would have been better off blasting some CCR and making engine sounds with my mouth instead.

I expect that this game exists to trick Wal-Mart shoppers with a vague interest in the Camaro into plunking down a twenty for the privilege of playing this mess. If I dissuade one person from buying this abomination, I feel as if I have brought at least a little positivity into the world and justified the agony this game has inflicted upon me. Sometimes, there are not words for how bad a game truly is. This is one such time.

The Scores
Modes: Bad
Graphics: Very Bad
Sound: Very Bad
Control and Gameplay: Awful
Replayability: Bad
Balance: Mediocre
Originality: Bad
Addictiveness: Very Bad
Appeal Factor: Bad
Miscellaneous: Bad
FINAL SCORE: VERY BAD GAME!

Short Attention Span Summary
The depth and breadth of how bad this game is cannot be overstated. There was not a single point at which I lost myself and felt like I was doing anything but wrestling a controller. I have played my share of bad games, but this, this is monolith to the dark gods of terrible game design. There is no redeeming feature, no reason for this abomination to exist. Burn it with fire and let us never speak of this again.