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Big Mutha Truckers 2
Score: 77%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Eutechnyx
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Mission-Based Driving/ Arcade/ Strategy

Graphics & Sound:
Oh wow. How to describe... well, take a healthy mix of redneck trash, throw in some bikers and a few blatantly homosexual bartenders and aspiring actors, a tree hugger, a hoodlum wannabe, and the occasional Mafioso-type and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the kinds of folks you’ll run into in Big Mutha Truckers 2. The characters (and boy are they characters!) are nicely drawn and are interesting to look at. Take your cousin, the has-been wrestler, in his general store, or the madam at a local hotel. It’s all in good fun and bad taste.

As for the sound side of things, the voiceovers are over the top, as would be expected. They can get a little annoying at times, but you can skip past some of the stuff. Sound effects are fairly general – tires screeching, vehicles crashing together, you get the idea. But then you have the sound effects that occur when you select a particular item for hauling. Fast-acting prunes, “art” (ahem, porn) movies, illegal furs – they all have naughty but funny sound effects to go along with them.

There’s also a radio system ala GTA. You have a classic rock station, a hard rock, a country, and a talk radio station. The music stations can get redundant, but the talk radio is usually pretty funny. Hicks calling in to a Dr. Ruth-styled show. Ack!

So here’s the rundown. Ma Jackson has landed herself in jail somehow. Something about tax evasion, indecent behavior, traffic tickets... aww, the regular stuff. She’s up for trial and she’s enlisted her young ‘uns to bribe the jurors off so they’ll vote her way. Problem is these jurors are greedier than a tick on a free-bleedin’ hound... sorry. Been playin’ the game too much, I reckon.

So you begin Big Mutha Truckers 2 in Trial By Trucking mode as either Bobbie-Sue, Cletus, Earl, or Rawkus, and it’s your job to haul things about Hick State County to earn enough money to pay these folks off. Along the way, you’ll talk to a wide variety of wacky people, some of which will offer you advice or others jobs. You may speak to a trader who is selling an item really cheaply and bring it to another area where you can make a healthy profit. You’ll also get an on-time bonus for delivering your goods, and that bonus increases depending on which difficulty level you select, but more on that later.

As you trek across the county, you’ll encounter hazards such as UFOs and bikers trying to steal your wares, cops trying to bust you for speeding, hobos just wanting to hitch a ride, and so on. You can earn crash bonuses, speed bonuses, UFO survival bonuses, and biker bounty bonuses. Of course, you don’t get a dime if you don’t get the load there in time.

You’ll also have the opportunity to undertake Special Missions (later replayable in Mission Mode after you beat them) such as toting a celeb around so they can have their picture taken or picking up beer cases that got dropped on the road. These often result in quick bucks, but they aren’t easy and make you earn your beans the hard way.

Another way to earn a few dollars is in the casinos found at the bars, provided you have enough dough to place bets. These games are a nice little diversion, but as you don’t make money as quickly as other ways, you probably won’t spend much time there.

The most important aspect of the game is knowing what goods to buy, haul, and then sell. You’ll get to know what areas like what goods, such as the fact that you can always sell UFO technology to the weird “MIB”-looking wannabe at the sci-fi store in Bupkus (their Area 51, essentially), and you can always pick up radioactive goop from him to resell to the Russian shopkeeper in Salt Sea City. And hey, just don’t ask questions and it will be okay. :)

As I mentioned earlier, you’ll get higher bonuses depending on what difficulty you select for each mission. The nice thing is if you find your skills improving, you can change your difficulty on each and every mission, so you aren’t stuck in an easier or harder mode than you’d like. The difficulty modes are aptly named Truck Me Tenderly, Truck Me, and Truck Me Harder, and each one merely has shorter and shorter time frames in which to get the goods to the desired destinations.

Now what really makes Big Mutha Truckers 2 ridiculously hard is a few things the developers threw in. How about when you are racing to meet your goal before the timer runs out and you are almost there and you have 10 seconds to spare, you see it just up ahead, but then a huge clock appears, covering up your viewing area, and it counts down to zero? How in the hell am I supposed to see the turn up ahead when it is blocked by a huge clock?!! Then there’s the special mission that you have to pick up the beer crates along the road. You have a short amount of time to do this and nabbing a beer crate nets you an extra second or two, but if you pass one by, you may as well forget it because it takes too long to go back and pick it up. This is fine, but what is not fine is having the stupid message “BEER UP!” appear plastered across your screen every time you pick one up, causing you to damn near miss the next crate. How dumb is this? I found this game shooting itself in the foot more often than not, such that I was so frustrated I had to turn it off.

Game Mechanics:
The controls are fairly simple in that you press the X button for gas and the Square for reverse. You heard me, reverse. There is no brake – another sore spot for me. Now, I don’t drive a truck, so maybe that’s how it is in real 18-wheelers. If so, that explains all the wrecks I see on the highways, but anyway... there are times you have to brake and then do rapid button presses to get across the river on a weird bridge-type thing and if you can’t stop your damn rig, you lose a lot of time. Frustrating!

You can steer by using the left analog stick, use R1 and L1 to swing your trailer to knock vehicles off the road, and you can access your nitro by hitting L2.

While at the store, you can access a list of goods up for sale and by clicking the O button, you can see the Commodity Value Graph. Using this, you can see what you should buy at one store and where you can sell it for the maximum profit. There is also a wide variety of goods, so you may want to upgrade to a refrigerated trailer or tanker for some change in what you can haul. Of course, no trucker worth his salt would be caught dead without his illegal cargo hold. That way, the fuzz can’t take your illegal stash when they bust you for speeding... if they bust you.

Overall, there’s fun to be had in Big Mutha Truckers 2, but the frustration of certain view-blocking things popping up from time to time found me throwing my controller and screaming obscenities. I did find some fun here, but it could have been a much better game if the problems weren’t present. Here’s to hoping they fix these issues if they decide to make a third one.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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