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Pimp My Ride Member Review for the Wii

GENRE Racing 
PUBLISHER Activision 
DEVELOPER Eutechnyx 
T What do these ratings mean?

Pimp My Ride is based on the MTV show - West Coast rapper Xzibit visits some pretty twenty-something, restores their junky car, and stuffs it with more presents than Santa Claus on a morphine high. Is it just me or was this always a bad idea? Isn't a car with flames, spinners, and TV screens way more likely to get jacked then a duct-taped van? Just a thought.

The game moves Xzibit’s operation from Los Angeles to fictional Pimp City, where the residents love tricked-out cars and must say “pimp” at least once in every sentence - a law that is punishable by death. Pimp. Xzibit adopts you as his apprentice and challenges you to open up a shop, despite a nameless, never-seen rival. I guess. Or whatever. Are we pimpin' yet?

Eventually, you’ll “pimp out” 15 customers and Xzibit himself (is that a good thing?), but first you need cash for all those fancy new flat screens. You can scour the streets and knock the spare change from parking meters or other cars (I guess cars have pockets now), but the real money comes from parking your ride for two identical-but-different Ghost Ridin’ the Whip dancing mini-games.

Yes, Pimp My Ride is about dancing. No, you don’t need any rhythm to play the mini-game. Zero rhythm.

The second half of Pimp My Ride is a far more entertaining blend of the TV show and Crazy Taxi. Xzibit shows up to introduce a customer, banter a little, and give you hints about which items the customer really wants. You have two minutes to find auto shops and pick a pimpin' new replacement for every piece of the car. A simple mini-game at each shop has you swing and mash on the Wii Remote to cut costs. Will the customer choose your whip over your rival’s? They will if you find enough upgrades, or if they know what’s good for 'em. Don't be messin' in my hood. 

click to enlargeTricking out cars and racing against the clock are the most appealing parts of Pimp My Ride. Even the script is half-decent, with a bit of unnecessary cursing that pushes the game to a Teen rating. The rest of the game, which emphasizes slow cruising and dancing, is both empty and a time-killer. The unrealized potential is distractingly apparent as you roam around the streets: How about some racing, or some “let’s go to the customer’s hangout” deliveries? Can we at least get a combo bonus for knocking two cars together? Pimp My Ride throws a few bones like collectible tokens or a hit-the-rival-car battle, but they mostly exist as short-lived, unexplained, and unrewarding intrusions.

However, even if Pimp My Ride was more of a racer, the terrible physics would make driving an ordeal. Cars stick to every wall or corner, bringing the game to a screeching halt, and the city itself is a nightmarish mess of obstacles, narrow alleys, and dead-ends to trap players.

It would also help if Pimp My Ride didn’t crash my Wii half of the times I played it. Fortunately, the auto-save feature is pretty good at preserving your progress; you usually won’t have to repeat any fundraising shenanigans.

A pimped-out whip has to look good, so it’s sad to see Pimp My Ride looking like a PS2 port

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