Rage Software always seems to time its game releases pretty well. Incoming was released on the PC right when 3dfx's Voodoo2 accelerator cards were released, and the game was released just in time for the Dreamcast's Japanese launch. Now, Rage and Interplay have teamed up once again and released Wild Wild Racing in time for the PlayStation 2's US and European launch. Unfortunately, unlike Incoming, Wild Wild Racing lacks any real punch and stands as the quintessential middle-of-the-road off-roading game.
Wild Wild Racing puts you in several different dune buggies and puts you on off-road tracks set in various locales around the world. From there, the game breaks into several modes. The quick-race and time-attack modes let you simply pick a car and a track and get to racing. Championship mode puts you through the tracks in order and unlocks new tracks as you progress. The challenge mode offers up a few challenges, such as short stunt courses, and here is where you'll unlock new cars and upgraded engines. As you progress through the championship, you'll get different track variants, where gates and other shortcut-enablers have been opened.
Since this is a fast-moving off-road racer, you'll spend a great deal of time sliding around on dirt, ice, or mud. The cars are fairly slide-friendly but in a more realistic way than, say, in Ridge Racer. So you'll actually have to take your thumb off the gas button from time to time to make some of the tighter turns. The game's control is quite loose, which makes the tighter turns a bit of a chore. Also, the cars have really bouncy suspension, so it's pretty easy to catch air or flip over after hitting even small bumps. The cars don't like to ram into obstacles. It's very easy to get the cars stuck on even small trackside obstacles, which forces you to hit reverse and do a three-point turn to get around them.
Graphically, Wild Wild Racing does an average job. The draw-in distance is pretty far away, and the car models look and move fairly well. The soundtrack is your typical "exciting" electronica music, and the car sounds are adequate.
Wild Wild Racing is probably best suited as a rental. There's nothing terribly exciting about any one aspect of the game, yet the game doesn't have any massive flaws, either.