E3 '07: Cars Mater-National Impressions

THQ is bringing out a sequel to its top-selling Pixar-licensed game. We take a look at E3 2007.


Disney/Pixar Cars Mater-National Championship

Video games licensed from Pixar movies are, more often than not, terrible. The one exception to that rule was 2006's THQ game based on the movie Cars. An open-world arcade racer, Cars actually made for a great kids' game that wasn't dumbed down to the point of just being stupid. Now THQ is bringing out a sequel to this game, despite the lack of a sequel to the movie. Titled Mater-National, this new Cars game brings back many of the key characters from the film, as well as the actors who portrayed them, for an all-new adventure.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

This latest game will revolve around the Mater-National, an all-new grand prix championship race that Mater (the loveable tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) is hosting in Radiator Springs. Entrants from around the globe have come to challenge Lightning McQueen and take the top prize. These new competitors come from countries like Italy, Sweden, the UK, and Germany, and the cars they are tie into their national origin. For instance, we got to see the German car in action, and he turned out to be a rallycross car, complete with a giant wing and license plate that read "GOENFAUST." THQ also says that you'll run into plenty of memorable characters, including a pair from an earlier Pixar film.

The gameplay we saw looked quite similar to that of the last Cars game. The game is an arcade racer through and through, with simple controls and easy driving mechanics for the younger players. There will also be new modes, including several new minigames and a new race type called monster mash, where all the Cars characters are given monster truck wheels.

Though we didn't get to play, what we saw of the game, plus the fact that a good chunk of the voice talent from the last game (including Owen Wilson) will be returning, gives us the impression that this could be a solid sequel. Cars Mater-National will ship later this year for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PlayStation 2, PC, DS, and GBA. Stay tuned for more on the game in the coming weeks.

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