Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing Review

  • First Released Nov 20, 2003
  • PC

Just how bad is Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing? It's as bad as your mind will allow you to comprehend.

Bad games are released all the time, and some are worse than others. This is nothing new. However, it really takes a special kind of awful to be considered one of the worst games ever made. So when this special kind of awful makes an appearance, it's truly something to behold. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is one of those rare pieces of work. Not only is it almost completely broken and blatantly unfinished in nearly every way, but even if it weren't, there's so little of an actual game to be found here that it would still be terrible. Big Rigs is a game so astoundingly bad that it manages to transcend nearly every boundary put forth by some of gaming's absolute worst of the worst and easily makes it into that dubiously extraordinary category of being one of the most atrocious games ever published.

If the goal was to create the world's most broken trucking game, then Big Rigs is a resounding success.
If the goal was to create the world's most broken trucking game, then Big Rigs is a resounding success.

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Big Rigs' first and most grievous issue lies in its gameplay. Specifically, there isn't any.

In theory, Big Rigs is supposed to be a racing game based on big trucks that speed through various US trucking routes in some kind of effort to deliver cargo before the competition gets there first--or else the truck gets busted by the law. At least, this is what the back of the game's box would have you believe. Let us make it very clear that these statements are all horrible, horrible lies. There is no coherent goal in Big Rigs. There is no cargo to be delivered. There are no police chases. In fact, there really isn't anything much in the game.

The basic idea in the actual game is that you pick one from four vaguely different trucks and then one from five vaguely different levels. You then compete against another truck in a simple checkpoint race. That's it. However, Big Rigs can't even get this basic concept right. The supposedly computer-controlled truck you're supposed to be racing against in the game never actually moves. It's right there next to you at the beginning of a race, but it has no purpose in the game. This is to say, actually, that none of the game's races have a purpose because there's no competition and no time limit. You win every single time. So unless you especially like seeing a winning-screen over and over again that reads "You're Winner!", there is absolutely no point in playing Big Rigs.

But let's assume for a moment that the AI trucks actually worked, and you could get a race going. Even if this were the case, the game still wouldn't be worth playing in the slightest. Big Rigs' controls essentially involve hitting the arrow keys of the keyboard in the desired direction and nothing more. The game provides no support for peripheral controllers of any kind, and there isn't even an option to edit the default keyboard controls in any manner. Your truck also handles pretty horribly. There are no physics here. You accelerate much too quickly to even be minutely realistic (especially when going in reverse, which lets you go from around 0 to 60mph in about five seconds, continue accelerating infinitely faster, and stop on a dime the second you let up on the keyboard), you can travel over the most rugged of terrain without any problems (including nearly vertical mountains), and you can turn in ways that cause you to jerk around in some pretty ridiculous manners.

Of course, the controls would only matter if you actually had to worry about running into things or crashing your truck, which, actually, is a nonissue. You see, you can clip your truck right through every object on a race course in Big Rigs, from the biggest of houses and walls, right down to the smallest of lampposts. Furthermore, bridges evidently don't actually exist, despite the fact that you can see them--driving over any of them results in you sinking right through them. It is also quite possible to simply drive right off of the literal end of a level when playing. Considering the fact that you can drive over these tall, seemingly insurmountable mountains (at least, insurmountable for an actual diesel-powered truck), and there are no level boundaries, eventually you can just drive off into literal nothingness and can hang out there as long as you please.

Please do not play this game. We cannot stress this enough.
Please do not play this game. We cannot stress this enough.

The graphical problems don't stop there, either. Big Rigs is easily one of the worst-looking PC games released in years. The truck models are amazingly terrible, with incredibly archaic-looking designs and brake lights that actually float off of the truck models. The four different environments all look bad, too, what with their incredibly nasty-looking textures, their ugly and meaningless set pieces, and their aforementioned clipping problems. Also, the reason we state that there are only four environments in the game, instead of the five we previously cited, is because we could only get four of them to actually work. When trying to load the fifth environment, the game simply quit and returned us to the desktop on all of the computers that we tried. As for the game's sound design, there isn't any. There are literally no sound effects in Big Rigs. The only sounds that present themselves at all are a few unpleasant, looping techno tracks, and on a midrange PC, we couldn't even get them to play.

Just how bad is Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing? It's as bad as your mind will allow you to comprehend. It is so disturbingly bad that even its budget price tag seems like a slap in the face. It really makes you wonder if the company that put out this dreck even took so much as a half minute to glance at the game that it was releasing. The game's readme file does assert that the game was thoroughly tested on various PCs, but the end result seems to suggest otherwise. The fact is, even if you tried, you couldn't play Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing the way it was seemingly intended to be played, and even if you could, you wouldn't want to.

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