Impressions: 18 Wheeler Pro Trucker

We take Sega's latest arcade game for a spin at the ATEI 2000 show in London.

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One of Sega's more-popular games at the ATEI 2000 show in London was its 18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker. Yet another addition to Sega's "Professional Series" (of which Emergency Call Ambulance and Crazy Taxi are also a part of), it is also perhaps the most-impressive-looking game in Sega's booth.

The game also has an impressive cabinet. As the cabinet features a 50-inch screen, a 48-cm steering wheel (like the real thing), and a large bench seat with a powerful subwoofer and base shaker underneath - Sega certainly didn't skimp on design. Oddly enough, the bench seat is able to seat two people, and Sega has also included an additional horn button on the passenger side, letting Sega boast that the game is "ideal for couples to enjoy!"

After choosing one of four truckers, you set off on a cross-country trip delivering cargo for a fee. You can also choose your cargo on three of the game's four stages, with some being harder to deliver than others. You see, the more you crash and hit other cars, the more damaged your cargo becomes, and the less you earn. Some loads may be worth more money, but because of their size, your truck will move slower and will become more unwieldy - leading to more crashes. That isn't to say smashing into cars is all bad, as some crashes will net you a time bonus. You also have a rival to race in most of the stages, and beating your rival will earn you yet more cash (although the game isn't over if you lose to the rival). Beating your rival also allows you to contest a bonus parking stage, where you must maneuver the large truck through several tight turns and park it in a box.

Running on Naomi hardware, the game looks fantastic. Smashing into houses or those boxes peculiarly scattered over video gaming's roads results in a shower of debris all over the road. Reflections off shiny surfaces and the sheer number of cars on the road with little to no slowdown also shows off the game's beauty.

One problem is that the courses are very straightforward. There is the occasional fork in the road, but for the most part you are restricted to the same old route each time. It is certainly a lot of fun to play, as the truck is a hard beast to control. I have to say, as well, that I was impressed by the feel of the subwoofer imitating the truck's engine - a very nice touch. 18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker will be out in Japanese arcades February 25th.

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