Review: Bigfoot Collision Course (Nintendo DS)

bigfoot_-_collision_course_coverartBigfoot Collision Course
Developer: Alpine Studios
Publisher: Zoo Interactive
Genre: Racing
Release Date: 01/06/2009

There is perhaps no monster truck more well-known throughout the world than Bigfoot. The Bigfoot phenomenon transcends monster trucks, so much so that Bigfoot is actually a household name. So it’s no surprise that someone finally got around to creating a video game with Bigfoot as the central figure. Enter Bigfoot Collision Course, brought to us by Zoo Interactive. The game’s box promises “mind-blowing 4×4 car crushing action”… does it deliver?

1. Story/Modes
bigfoot3First off, let’s just get this out of the way. Bigfoot Collision Course isn’t what you’re expecting. You don’t get to run over your opponents. In fact, you barely get to do anything you might think you’d be able to do as Bigfoot. Bigfoot Collision Course consists of your car racing against three other cars in an off-road race. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you’re looking for deep gameplay modes, turn away from Bigfoot Collision Course. All you get is a time trial mode and a “career” mode. Career mode is the main mode of the game; by plowing your way through career mode, you’ll be able to unlock other trucks and courses. When you first play the game, you’ll only be able to access the amateur circuit, but once you beat all the amateur tracks, you’ll be able to move up to the pro circuit. If you manage to beat all the pro tracks, you end up one-on-one with a car named “Big Wheels” in a track known as Construction. If you manage to beat THAT track, you’re pretty much done with the game.

That’s all you get. No multi-player mode, no extra stuff.

Story/Modes Score: Bad

2. Graphics
Bigfoot Collision Course isn’t a graphical masterpiece. It’s not expected to be. The top screen is where all the action happens, and it’s not bad. Trees look like trees, you can easily see obstacles in your way, and you can spot other trucks in the distance. None of these things are done in great detail or anything, and the animation is lacking a bit, but overall, it’s not too bad. Unfortunately, the bottom screen is a complete waste. The giant Bigfoot logo is the focal point of the bottom screen, with a really ugly Powerpoint-esque background adding to the cheesiness. There’s a blimp view of the action so you can at least see where you are, but it’s only a small part of a bottom screen that easily could have hosted additional information. That’s a minor gripe, though. The important thing is that you can race without having to wonder what’s ahead of you.

Graphics Score: Mediocre

3. Sound
Calling the music in Bigfoot Collision Course “good” wouldn’t exactly be fair. In no way is the music anything groundbreaking, but it gets the job done. Most of the tracks get you in the mood to race and don’t get in the way. As far as sound effects… um… there really aren’t any. If you count the “vroom” of your vehicle as a sound effect, there you go. Aside from that, there are only a couple of sound effects for running over objects. All in all, there’s nothing offensive here, which is a good thing.

Sound Score: Mediocre

4. Control/Gameplay
bigfootHere’s where things go awry with Bigfoot Collision Course. For all the talk about car-crushing action, there really isn’t much that separates Bigfoot Collision Course from every other racing game you’ve ever played. The name of the game is NOT running over the other trucks on the way to victory, nor is it bullying the other vehicles as you pass them. Instead, the big goal in Bigfoot Collision Course is to take the right angles to get ahead of the other cars. Why? Because the trucks are so big, they’re almost impossible to pass. Now, the whole business of having to time your passing would be great in any other racing game, and it’s actually a welcome challenge, but in Bigfoot Collision Course? It sort of defeats the purpose. You’re supposed to be able to bowl over people, right? Well, you can’t. In fact, half the time, you end up helping the guy in front of you because as you’re trying to pass him, you just bump him a bunch of times. It’s quite annoying.

There are no real power-ups to speak of in Bigfoot Collision Course. You have a meter on the bottom of the screen that gets built up as you run over boxes, small cars, or any other obstacles in your way. Once that meter fills up, you can get a speed burst. This is helpful for making up time, but it’s not essential. The truth is, most of the tracks have areas where you can almost always pick up a few seconds. So while you might not NEED a speed burst, it doesn’t hurt to have the option.

In the end, Bigfoot Collision Course is the kind of game where, in any given race, you’ll win by 30 seconds or finish dead last. This is because if you even so much as hit a wall, you’re pretty much screwed. As you might imagine, monster trucks don’t exactly handle well, even in the amateur circuit where you’re going 40 MPH. So if you hit a wall, your only real option is to go in reverse and try to turn around it again, only this time, you’re seeing all your opponents pass you by. In essence, your best bet is to get an early lead and not do anything stupid to relinquish it. It sounds like common sense, but since opponents can’t easily pass you, it makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, the same things that make the game so maddening are the tricks that help you win. At least Bigfoot Collision Course isn’t like Mario Kart, where no lead is ever safe.

Control/Gameplay Score: Poor

5. Replayability
Bigfoot Collision Course is one of those games that’s annoyingly replayable. What I mean by that is, you just want to unlock everything so you can be done with it. Once you’re done beating all the courses and unlocking all the trucks, there’s absolutely nothing left to do. There’s no reward for beating the game with a weaker truck, nor does the game keep any more detailed records than your best times and whether or not you’ve beaten the tracks. Bigfoot Collision Course would benefit greatly from a multi-player mode or even a point-driven series of courses like in Mario Kart, but these options are not available.

Replayability Score: Bad

6. Balance
Even at $20, Bigfoot Collision Course seems overpriced. It’s not a particularly good game, and it certainly isn’t a deep game. It’s not hard at all once you get the hang of it. It probably took me about two hours at the absolute maximum to unlock everything and beat all the tracks. So, $20 for two hours? Not too good of a deal. That said, the game gets a lot more tolerable once you advance into the pro circuit. It’s closer to the game Bigfoot Collision Course should have been, but isn’t.

Balance Score: Bad

7. Originality
On paper, you might think a game with Bigfoot in it could be pretty original. Unfortunately, Bigfoot Collision Course is pretty much like every other racing game out there, only with the gimmick of monster trucks instead of sports cars. The nature of having to intelligently plan your passing of other cars is nice, but not for a game that’s supposed to be based on the idea of crushing other cars.

Originality Score: Poor

8. Addictiveness
bigfoot2 There’s not exactly a lot about Bigfoot Collision Course that leaves you wanting more. Part of that has to do with the limited gameplay modes, part of it is because the game tends to be a bit cheap, and part of it is because the game just isn’t that good. The relatively simple nature of the game and small level of courses will keep you playing for a bit, but it’s only to unlock everything, and once that’s done, you’re done with the game. You’re not going to go back to random courses and try to beat your best time, because there’s no real point in doing so. It’s a game to beat and never touch again, which is hardly what could pass for addictive.

Addictiveness Score: Dreadful

9. Appeal Factor
The name Bigfoot, while known, isn’t the kind of brand that can carry a line of video games. This game would probably appeal most to kids who are eager to play a game headlined by a well-known monster truck. Teenagers and adults, on the other hand, won’t be convinced by the use of a license to try to move such a mediocre game. Make no mistake, the Bigfoot license will help Bigfoot Collision Course sell more units than it would otherwise, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker for most people of discerning taste.

Appeal Factor Score: Mediocre

10. Miscellaneous
The little things do little to put Bigfoot Collision Course over the top. The game’s emphasis on winning races over simply doing well in them doesn’t do much to enhance one’s desire to play; in fact, all it does is train people to restart courses once they realize they aren’t going to win. There are a couple of nice trucks, but nothing too outstanding and none of the typical well-rounded trucks people often use to learn the nuances of racing games. In addition, it’s a game that only becomes easier the more you play it; not only do you go through each course twice, but better trucks are available to you, making the courses easier the second time around. It’s the rare game with a reverse difficulty curve, which is pretty astounding.

Miscellaneous Score: Bad

The Scores
Story/Modes: Bad
Graphics: Mediocre
Sound: Mediocre
Control/Gameplay: Poor
Replayability: Bad
Balance: Bad
Originality: Poor
Addictiveness: Dreadful
Appeal Factor: Mediocre
Miscellaneous: Bad

Final Score: Pretty Poor

bryan1Short Attention Span Summary
If you’re looking for a game that will enable you to crush the ever-loving crap out of your opponents, this isn’t the game for you. Instead, Bigfoot Collision Course plays like a turn-based racer that just happens to use monster trucks as its vehicles of choice. The game’s extremely shallow modes mean you won’t spend very long negotiating hairpin turns with humongous vehicles.



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