Review: Wave Race: Blue Storm
Posted 11 Jan 2003 at 05:53 by Franklin
The original Wave Race was a launch title for the N64, although its PAL version failed to capture the speed of the US and Jap versions it still managed to turn heads with its slick control system, intense gameplay and for the time, some of the best graphics ever seen.
So it came as no surprise to learn that its sequel Blue Strom would be a launch title for the Gamecube. There isn't any plot to describe. It's quite simple; it's a racing on water, using jet skis. Like in the original the courses contain coloured buoys that you have to pass on the correct side in order to successfully complete each race, which is a lot easier said than done.
One of the 1st things you'll notice while playing is how great the graphics are, especially the water effects. If you thought the water looked good on the N64 your gonna be gob smacked when you see them here. As you ride along you see water splashing onto the screen, this becomes more apparent on raining levels where the rain almost distorts your view of the course, all adding to the realism. No detail seems to have been left out, perfect reflections in the water, slow down a bit and you can see fish, turtles and even sharks swimming under the water. And on the Ocean City level you'll even encounter whales that leap out of water that will leave you just saying to yourself, "awesome". But try not to enjoy the breathtaking scenery too much or you'll lose the race. The replays at the end of each race are also well done. The camera changes and always seems to have the perfect position to view your action; this is especially good on the Stunt mode of the game. Also when performing stunts watch the characters and see how they each perform some stunts slightly different from each other, in a sense showing you the characters own personality.
The sounds of the jet bikes, the waves and the surrounding environments are all spot on and amazingly realistic, especially the claps of thunder on stormy days. Each of the characters has their own commentator that will cheer you on and warn you of other riders closing in on you. Some can be annoying, a few of them sound awesome and add to the experience slightly. However Nigel Carvers commentator is the most annoying one of the lot…this is differently one voice you will want to turn off. Just listen to him and you'll know what I mean.
Wave Race Blue Strom has six playing options, to keep you busy for ages, including Championship, Stunt mode and of course multi-player, along with a tutorial for those of you new to the game. The one player Championship is the main mode in the game as this is where you unlock new courses, which will then become available for play in the modes. The objective in each race is to weave your way between red and yellow buoys, which is easier said than done, trust me. Pass them on the correct side and your speed will increase do this five times and hit Z for a handy turbo boost. However miss one and you will slow down again, miss five during the race and your disqualified. There are 8 characters to choose from each with their strengths and weaknesses. Each of the characters and their jet skis handle noticeably different from each other. So you'll need loads of playtime if you hope to master every character in the game. But it's more likely you'll find one or two that you really like and always play as them.
Winner can be very hard, especially on the harder difficulty settings so expect a lot of frustration if you keep coming last. Try using the Time Trail mode to get used to the tracks and learn them, if you know all the turns and how to navigate them all you have to worry about in Championship mode are the computer characters.
While the control system is very easy to get to grips with and is very similar to the N64 version, I would recommend to players new to the game that you check the game booklet to see which character is recommended for beginner players, as some can be quite difficult to control with little experience. Controlling the jet skis is simple. Control stick to turn, hold down A for acceleration; use the two shoulder buttons while turning to perform sharper turns, easy. But having said that winning a race is a lot harder, you could be out in front and the slightest slip up well see the computer controlled players take advantage immediately and it can sometimes be very difficult to catch back up. You will really need to hone your skills to have any hope of winning at the harder circuits. And watch out when they are approaching you from behind, as they will try anything to slow you down, including bumping you right off you bike.
L: Lean into left turn
R: Lean into right turn
C-Stick: Camera Angle
D-Pad: Display and remove map(Free Roam) and Change rider in replay (Time Attack, Multi-player)
Control Stick: Turn left and right, lean back or forward.
All in all Wave Race: Blue Strom is an exceptional game that is not only gorgeous to look at and a dream to play, it is also tough enough to take you weeks maybe even months to fully master.
If you like to race on water this is the game for you, a definite improvement on the original that both owners of the N64 version and those new to game will enjoy.It's a great laugh in 4-player and the 1-player Championship mode is well tough to beat. If you manage to get 1st place on the Expert Circuit then I tip my hat to you Sir/Madame.
N-Europe Final Verdict
This is just a great game, its fun, its fast, and it's a lot harder to win than you think.
Lovely to look at
Great fun to play
Harder than it looks
Frustratating at times