Anyone a trucking fan here? I always thought it would be kewl to be a trucker and after playing this game I was right. lol Ever since Mattel Intellivisons "Trucking" game which I played the life out of 2 or 3 intellivisions playing it I've always wanted one for the PC. I don't know how I missed this series in 2002 up to present. This is a rock solid trucking game of constant fun. It has that "just one more run" feeling to it and you can put hours upon hours into this game without realizing it till you stop, IF you can stop. lol
There's like 20 major cities from coast to coast and a chitload of materials just waiting to be transported. There's an economic game here vs 3 other computer players which on easy and normal are pretty easy to beat. It's that hard difficulty that's the challenge (for me). The harder the difficulty the less freight is worth and the amount of miles you must travel to get any value out of them. Traffic is miniscule on easy, normal it's about average and on hard it's all over the place just waiting to cause you an accident or slow you down.
Every game is random as far as jobs go from city to city. A city that might have been lucrative in your last game could be a pot hole in your next game. I like this about the game it keeps it from becoming stale with same paths and routes. Each game you can start in your choice of the 20 cities. Also there are five truck sales depots in the game, unfortunately these are not randomized every game and you are required to visit them to be able to upgrade your vehicle each new game. You start out with a clunker for sure which barely goes 50mph and if you hit an incline it'll take you some time to get up it.
Also, you can hire up to 7 computer truckers to run routes for you in certain scenarios. It's very detailed in the routes you can pick for them or you can let them pick their own. You'll pass them or meet them and others (both independent and the computer AI's team of trucks as well since they also can hire up to 7 computer AI truckers to work for them) going the other way as you travel your routes. You can talk to them on the CB which is basically for being able to hire them or your opponents truckers to your side. It's best to answer their requests and talke CB jargan with them. lol Each AI driver is rated by stars (prestige) and the more stars they have the better drivers they are and the better materials/routes they will use when getting to new cities.
The graphics are superb (fanboi talk there lol), but, they really are good. Landmark sights many of you are familar with you might see in the game from that round rock (like needle rock) sitting balanced on top of another rock that looks like a needle balancing a big rock to the Great Lakes, the Golden Gate bridge, to the Whitehouse and just many more things I'm sure you've seen in your time.
Of course gas stations are strategically placed around the map and there's tons of interstates and of course your old familar highways like HWY 60 and Florida Hwy 1. At each main service station you can repair your truck and get gas. This is the origional 18 Wheels and is pretty basic. I got it for like $3 bucks on AMazon recently and just ordered "18 Steel Wheels: CONVOY" Which has like 40 cities and tons more stuff and more detail on the loads you get where you have to compete more for it in bidding and delivery times etc.
The Law is pretty forgiving and you have to just really be a total ass in front of them to get a ticket. I've run red lights in cities right in front of them and they don't do a thing. But, let me hit some car or bus or whatever in front of one and I'll get a wreckless driving ticket. Let me pass a weigh station and here they come (and those tickets are EXPENSIVE) and of course the occassional speeding ticket. You have a radar or cop dector in your vehicle from the start and the BEEP starts slow and the closer you're getting to the cop the faster and louder it gets. Well, it's pretty easy to back off the pedal on the first beep. This they probably should have had as something you buy and it's not always effective.
The types of trucks and equipment you buy for them are pretty impressive. From Engines to Transmissions to wheels, stacks, horns, etc etc. Much of it is for looks, but, at least five of the items are pretty important for power and handling. You can eventually upgrade to the monster truck that goes way past the maxed out speed of 80mph and then you can also have fun out running the cops. There's several choices of custom paint jobs for each type of truck. There's also some mods you can download of skins as well.
The only real major exploit and probably an ironman rule everyone should use once they get used to the game is the passing on the shoulder ability. It's pretty easy to get past all the traffic jams and slowmobiles and anything that would normally slow you down by passing on the shoulder. The only disadvantage of using it is if the vehicle you are passing wants to take an EXIT and you happen to be passing at that time. He'll plow right into you, cause you to lose some percentage points on your load of value and/or cause the law to give you a ticket IF they happen to be there at that time also. Very rare and those accidents are very rare as well if you're watching out for them.
Some things of note I noticed is the truck AI drives slow as molasses if you happen to be behind one and want to just follow it to see where it goes. 30mph to 40mph tops while you are behind it. Also, I found they don't have to load and unload like you do. They get to the town of destiny and POOF they completed their run and have a load from there starting on another. Sometimes though you will see them pulling into a place you are going and they'll poof there as well. They just don't have to do the activity of loading an unloading like you do. Speaking of which you'll have to learn how to backup an 18 wheeler to load and unload trailers. Though there is an exploit to "unloading" them I'll let you figure out for yourself. It's another ironman rule that should be in place once you learn the ropes though. ;)
All n all for $3 bucks and excellent time consuming just one more run game. I like driving games with an economy vs driving games like GTA or Need for Speed. This one has it in spades. If you're into trucking like I am you might find yourself not being able to put this one down except to sleep for a few hours. Then it's back up in the big seat with pedal to the metal 18 wheels a rollin and East Bound and DOwn.! ;)