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Monster 4X4: World Circuit First Look

We flip out with the Wii version of this Xbox off-road racer.


Literally everything looks better with big-ass wheels.
Literally everything looks better with big-ass wheels.

The original Monster 4X4: World Circuit for the Xbox didn't set the off-road racing genre on fire, but that isn't stopping Ubisoft from porting the original game over for an upcoming Nintendo Wii version. We got a chance to see a demo of the game during a recent visit to the Ubisoft offices, as well as check out the wheel accessory that will be packed in with it.

If you're unfamiliar with Monster 4X4, it's an arcade racing and stunt game featuring the "Bigfoot" and "Grave Digger" set. And while real monster trucks regularly perform jumps over scores of wrecked cars, you won't see them perform any of the stunts found in Monster 4X4 (at least not on purpose). In the game, the trucks, cars, and even school buses--all equipped with gigantic rubber tires--are able to flip and twist in midair, depending on how you use the Wii controller. To perform a backward somersault, for example, you move the controller in a circle toward your body. Another popular move, the tornado (a sort of midair spin), is accomplished by moving your arms in a vertical circle either to the left or right. If you want a nitrous boost, you can flick the nitrous switch by pushing your controller forward. As you perform these various stunts, you'll earn points that you can later cash in for performance upgrades.

Beyond the Wii-specific control updates, World Circuit is going to be more or less a direct port of the Xbox game, which was released earlier this year. This means a number of different single-player race types will be found in the game, including duels (one-on-one matchups between two big trucks), pure races (sans wacky stunts), and split-screen multiplayer races.

Though we only saw a demo movie of the Wii version of World Circuit, the game still had the brightly colored look and arcade environments featured in the Xbox version. It was tough to tell if the Wii version's graphics were an upgrade from the older game, but at the very least, the game doesn't seem to be suffering any slowdown to speak of.

As with another Ubisoft-published racing game, GT Pro Series, Monster 4X4: World Circuit will be packaged with a Thrustmaster-designed racing-wheel accessory. After assembling the wheel's three separate pieces, you simply snap in the Wii controller and then grasp it as you would a normal steering wheel. Holding the wheel feels marginally better for driving games than the rectangular Wii remote, though it's still odd to be "steering" a device that you're holding in free space, as opposed to the wheel being attached to a desk or table. Regardless, it's a nice accessory that you should be able to use for nearly any Wii driving game from here on out.

Monster 4X4: World Circuit is due for launch with the Nintendo Wii. We'll have a full review of the game once it's released.

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