Route 66 was a nice place before Tornado invaded. In "The King of Route 66," currently available only for the PS2, players assume the role of a big-rig driver whose goal it is to pick up and deliver loads in different spots along the famous historic highway. The challenge: Tornado is an unfriendly trucking company that is taking over all the business along the route. The player is the Route's Obi-Wan: a rogue trucker who is its only hope. Taking jobs from Tornado by beating them to the goals causes them to lose influence, and the Route can be safe again. However, as anyone who has ever shared the road with a big rig already knows, they're not fast vehicles. This makes them a strange choice for a beat-the-clock game.
Players start by choosing a truck based on the preferred speed, torque, and weight. Gameplay begins in Illinois, where deliveries must get to and from small companies before a Tornado driver can get there. As players succeed, they move on to other states along Route 66. As the goals are completed, the player earns money, with which he/she can upgrade with more than 70 performance-enhancing parts on the truck's engine, exhaust, and exterior to smoke the competition. There are also shots of Nitro along the way for quick bursts of speed. Drivers can also play to win the hearts of eight interstate beauties known as the Queens of Route 66. Those who are familiar with Route 66 will be rewarded with glimpses of iconic landmarks along the way, beginning at The Launching Pad and Gemini Giant in Wilmington, Illinois, and finishing at the Santa Monica Pier in California.
Unfortunately, this game seems to accurately represent what it would be like to race in a big rig. Driving on narrow streets, dealing with the slow speeds of the truck, and learning a city's shortcuts all keep this from being a truly entertaining racing game, but does make playing it an unusual experience. There are also bonuses for destroying property, which has its appeal (and explains at least part of its Teen rating for Comic Mischief and Mild Violence). In fact, if you've ever been intrigued by the idea of wrecking every car that gets in your way, there are mini-challenges in this game that encourage such behavior. In some ways, these are more fun than the main game---you have some time limits, but you get to wreak havoc on anything and everything.
Whether you choose to play alone or in two-player split screen mode and multiplayer battles, if you're curious about the sights, sounds, and lack of agility of an 18-wheeler, or just want to alleviate some road rage, take Sega's The King of Route 66 for a spin.