First Impressions18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker

Sega's arcade trucking game is coming to the PlayStation 2, courtesy of Acclaim. Find out what to expect when you hit the highway later this year.

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The Dreamcast was home to many of Sega's arcade hits, but none were more interesting than the upcoming 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker. While the Dreamcast version has dropped its network mode and is still yet to be released, Acclaim is already hard at work porting the game over to the PlayStation 2. Based upon what we've played of the Dreamcast version, Pro Trucker on the PS2 should provide the same surprisingly fun gameplay with improved graphics.

In 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker, you play as a green trucker fresh out of driving school, looking to impress his new supervisor. You begin by choosing one of five different trucks with varying attributes for toughness, torque, and speed. After you select your truck, you must then choose which job to complete. Hauling heavy cargo will drop your truck's acceleration and power attributes, but delivering the load on time awards you with more money than delivering a lighter load. Each job begins with a CB briefing, and once you're on the road, you have a specific amount of time to deliver each payload while a rival trucker attempts to impede your progress. Each route spans several states and has multiple paths that may be taken to shorten the travel time. Marked cars located throughout the courses may be smashed to gain valuable extra seconds. It's also possible to drive behind other trucks, gain acceleration in their slipstream, and then slingshot around them.

After each haul is completed, you're awarded money based upon time, damaged cargo, and whether you defeated the rival trucker. Bonuses and power-ups are also awarded, both of which will give you trinkets to place on the dash of your rig or extra power for the engine. 18 Wheeler also includes a six-stage minigame that asks you to park your rig within a given time limit while negotiating narrow roadways and congested parking lots. There's also a split-screen multiplayer race mode that can be played on four multiplayer-only courses. The object of the multiplayer mode is to finish several laps around the track while accumulating as much money as possible. Money is awarded for finishing a lap or for smashing the same marked cars found in the single-player mode. If you smash into objects other than the marked cars, your money total is depleted.

The audio in 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker is what you'd expect from a trucking game. There's plenty of steel guitar-laden country music and guitar rock. The rival trucker will constantly badger you with disparaging comments, and your rig comes complete with its own unique horn.

If 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker for the PlayStation 2 ends up being similar to the Dreamcast version, it will be a fast-paced, challenging racer full of huge collisions. Acclaim already handled the development of Sega's Crazy Taxi for the PlayStation 2 with adequate results, so the same should be expected from its work on 18 Wheeler. We'll have more on 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker from the E3 show floor in the coming days.

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