Chrysler Classic Racing - WII - Review
Given how happily Ford touts its cars in games, TV and movies (as well as its own specific game franchise), you'd think that GM, Toyota and Chrysler would push a little harder. Sure, GM is big into movies like Transformers, and Toyota gladly sponsored the sixth season premiere of 24 two years ago, an honor usually taken by Ford. But where, car enthusiasts wonder, are the specific games dedicated to these vehicle behemoths?
Chrysler Classic Racing is Chrysler's first step into Wii and DS game development branded entirely with its own automobiles. Given the vehicle lineup (note the word "classic" in the title), this isn't a racer for fans of modern cars. You won't find anything bearing the Dodge label, nor will you get to take the new Charger or Challenger for a spin.
What you do get is a collection from the '50s, '60s and '70s: the Plymouth Belvedere (1954, 1955 and 1957 models, as well as the '57 convertible), the Chrysler 300 (various models from the '50s and '60s), the 1969 Plymouth GTX Road Runner, 1970 Plymouth Duster and Superbird, and a couple of Barracudas. Most of these cars can also be found in the DS version of the game.
But before getting excited for what appears to be a fantastical trip down memory lane, there are a few things all potential anticipators should know: (1) the vehicles are not represented very well, (2) the objectives are intensely generic, and (3) the whole experience is dated, not nostalgic.
Chrysler Classic Racing had its heart in the right place, but it's clear that its heart was severely underdeveloped. Just look at the game. I don't usually steer players toward the visuals before dissecting the gameplay, but if there has ever been a time when you can judge a book by its cover, this is it. If the first thought that came to mind was, "Whoa, this is a PSone game? I mean a Wii game? I mean, wait – what system was this developed for again!?" then you should be ready to hear the bad news: CCR didn't need to be developed for Wii. It could have been made for any platform since it does not utilize any of what the Wii has to offer (most notably motion controls). So instead of delicately shifting the Wii remote left and right to steer, you'll use the Nunchuk's thumbstick.
Thumbstick steering isn't a bad thing; it just doesn't make much sense on a console sold to consumers seeking something different. In this game, however, thumbstick steering is very much a bad thing. Though the controls are more intuitive than the DS version, when compared to other racing games (any other, actually), they aren't that intuitive at all.
Almost every course is nailed down with a strict linear path, ensuring that you have to win by sheer speed performance and not by finding a secret passage. Speed-based wins are common for the genre and are often welcome. But it's hard to welcome that feature in CCR when the sense of speed is zero and exhilaration is a minus two.
When a tough opponent prevents you from winning, cash in your prize money (gained from winning races) to buy an engine upgrade. Suddenly your vehicle soars past the fastest opponent. Awesome, right? Wrong. You may be able to win the race but the game doesn't play any faster. It's as if the engine upgrade makes your opponent move slower, as opposed to what it is supposed to accomplish.
If you were interested in CCR for nothing more than its use of the Chrysler brand, get ready to be disappointed: the vehicle designs are terrible. Worse yet, they all control the same. And since most of them look the same, you're essentially controlling one vehicle throughout the entire game.
Review Scoring Details for Chrysler Classic Racing
Almost tolerable for the first few races but will have you snoring in the end.
Low frame rate, slow driving, horrendously bland backgrounds, poor vehicle designs and several other flaws that kill CCR's visuals.
Not a soundtrack that'll make you want to cruise.
An extremely easy racing game, even for those with little or no racing game experience.
Can a game titled "Chrysler Classic Racing" survive if the racing stinks and the licensed vehicles are poorly designed? Only in a world where those things don't matter.
Typical two-player racing that, typically, isn't much fun.
Might be suitable for gamers craving a very low-end, low-cost, Web game-quality experience. But it isn't for anyone who spent $250 on a Wii to get a Wii-caliber experience.