Written by  :  Kasey Chang (4623)
Written on  :  Apr 05, 2005
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Arcade racer all the way, not much of 4x4 at all

The Good

The action is fast and furious. You can go fast on the twists, slow down for the turns, slide through the switchbacks, etc. While the wheels are quite large, they're larger than your typical 4x4 but SMALLER than Monster trucks, making them quite weird.

Quite a bit of variety of tracks, some feature longer straights and smoother turns while others have chicanes and lots of switchbacks. A different strategy is needed to tackle each one, esp. since no car tuning is possible. You pick one vehicle and you're stuck with it throughout the race.

Some car damage is modelled, which would tend to make you drive somewhat more conservatively, as if you don't you will not make the finish line at all. The damage is light enough so it won't prevent you from finishing the race (unless you really drive like a demon).

Nice menus that actually have single-key shortcuts instead of using mouse all the time, or worse, arrow keys.

Three different championships, 2 remained locked, to keep the challenge going. A tie means you advance nonetheless, whihci

The opponents don't appear unbetable as they do make mistakes once in a while. Remember to explain these misakes.

The Bad

There is a serious lack of vehicles (3 main vehicles, 4 variations each). You can sorta see the Ford Truck, the Isuzu Vehicross, and the Mitsubishi Montero/Pajero, but they were not named. Instead, each variation has its own name.

The tracks all have the same terrain: mud. There's a bit of minor up and down, but there aren't any jumps like SuperCross, and no visible mud on the ground, The cars may get a little dirtier, but they still don't look like they've been in serious mud-slinging.

The tracks get boring after al while, since they are all indoor tracks with hard barriers. It's not possible to go "offroad" at all.

Lack of depth: with no car turning, you must outdrive the AI, and that means no mistakes at all in the longer races. After a while, it gets tiresome.

Larry Ragland's wins are in Baja, outdoors so why put his name on a stadium racer at all?

The Bottom Line

4x4 Challenge is an arcade racer with an 4x4 stadium racing theme. While the vehicles handle pretty well, and racing is fast, there is no depth in this game, and once you've won the Championship, there's nothing to keep you playing except multiplayer.