MONSTER TRUCK MADNESS / Rockstar / Nintendo 64
 
 
Woo. It's a good thing Rockstar really improved their driving physics engine between this game and the release of GTA 3, or the 3D installments of GTA likely would have been a one-and-done.

Monster Truck Madness is straight-up monster truck racing on outdoor tracks. It's got a surprising amount of licenses for what were two small developers/publishers (at the time); Bigfoot, Gravedigger and some other staples of the SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY races are in the house, but also some bizarre tie-in with WCW Wrestling so you get an Outsiders, Hollywood Hogan and Hit Man Hart truck as well.

So look, I understand that trucks on monster wheels on a dirt track are not the most graceful things. Still, guys, it's a video game, we don't have to be totally married to reality here. Any other good qualities about the game are dragged through the mud by the godawful handling of every truck. It is just plain painful to try to make it through this game's tracks. I didn't realize when I picked the NWO truck that I was getting actual Hulk Hogan as the driver!

It's a shame because they were clearly making an effort, outside of the physics issues. Each track can be driven in a range of times of day and weather conditions. And Monster Truck Madness actually did "soccer with trucks" over a decade before Rocket League ... not only that, you can play hockey too! And there's a good variety of other competitive multiplayer modes, like a "king of the hill" mode that promises to be crazy party game fun as you try to launch each other off a dirt mound.

Rockstar seems to have been trying to capture the unique, bouncy feel of driving a monster truck to make this one stand out from other racing games, but it just really didn't work out for them. Probably no coincidence they wouldn't attempt having a monster truck in a GTA game again until San Andreas!
 
 
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