This game is an absolute disgrace. From the hideous controls to the horrifying visuals to the use of the phrases "adrenaline rush" and "turbo-charged" on the back of the box, everything about it is hateful.
Which is bad news for those who have fond memories of the arcade classic. It first appeared back in 1994, a time when replacing vowels with apostrophes in game titles seemed fresh and contemporary. An N64 version followed a couple of years later. It was all right.
Now Cruis'n is making its debut on the Wii. Except it looks much more like a port of some rubbishy old Need for Speed game to me. All my memories of all the Need for Speed games I've played have blurred into one giant nauseating neon nightmare so I couldn't tell you which one.
There are 12 cars to unlock and 12 tracks to race them on. There's an upgrade system designed to be simple enough for four-year-olds to understand, and you win cash for causing damage during races. It's impossible to care about any of this.
So to the races themselves. You steer by tilting the Wii remote left and right, and then watch as your car spins wildly across the track as if you'd just thrown the controller across the room. With practice you do become accustomed to the sensitivity and steering gets easier. However, having to tilt the controller a millimetre at a time hardly captures the high-octane thrills of illegal street racing. (It doesn't say "high-octane" on the box. They're probably saving that for the sequel.)
Everything looks awful. The cars are blocky and lumpen, the environments are blurry and flat. Lamp-posts blow away when you bash into them, while concrete pillars can simply be driven straight through. The frame-rate is appalling, dropping each time you or another car collides with anything at all. If you dare press B to change the music track, the game freezes entirely.
You could argue that this is a budget title and you get what you pay for, but you'd be some kind of massive idiot. Even at GBP 19.99 it's appalling value for money. There are 12 races. None takes longer than four minutes to complete and each can be won on the first attempt. Do the "math". To be fair, if you add in loading times, Cruis'n offers approximately 47 years of gameplay.
It's not the worst racing game I've ever played, but that's because I was forced to play RealPlay Racing on the PS2. It's the worst-looking Wii game I've ever played and frankly that takes some effort. It's no fun to play either.
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