Wake up and smell the saltwater.
All right, you know you’ve got it rough when it’s the middle of November and
you’re sitting in the middle of your frozen living room bathed in every single
sweater that Aunt Edna has knitted you over the past five years. As your digits
slowly begin to turn blue, you begin to wonder what is the best way to keep
your medulla oblongata from turning into a block of ice.
Hmmm… Baywatch reruns or the latest Britney Spears video, perhaps? Never
fear, frozen gamer – Nintendo’s got just the thing. Think sandy beaches and
crystal blue waters. Think watersports and warm sunshine. Now open your eyes,
throw on a couple more layers, and head out into the freezing cold to find a
copy of Wave Race: Blue Storm. What were you expecting, a free
As the successor to the N64’s Wave Race 64,
Blue Storm brings jet ski racing into the next generation of video games.
Once again, you’ll cut through the water in speedy sea demons while doing tricks
to please the eye. It’s a fun, brightly colored arcade racer that turns out
to be every bit the solid launch title you’d expect from the Nintendo crew.
Blue Storm is broken up into five basic modes – Tutorial, Time Attack,
Free Roam, Stunt Mode, and Championship. Tutorial is a great place to learn
the ins and outs of the game. The controls are simple enough, but you’ll need
to get used to the timing of the tricks. Time Attack is a simple race against
the clock, Free Roam is exactly as advertised, and Stunt Mode will have you
driving through rings and doing tricks for the most points possible.
Naturally, the Championship is where you’ll spend most of your time. You’ll
start off by choosing from one of eight different customizable racers in preparation
for a season of 5, 6, or 7 courses. Each of the racers holds his or her own
statistics and specialties, so you’ll want to choose one that fits you abilities.
When you’ve finally chosen your racer and fiddled with the few customization
options (color, handling, and speed), it’s time to race. Do well, and you’ll
progress through the season, unlocking some extra courses along the way. Fail,
and it’s game over.
One disappointment here is the lame way that the tricks have been integrated.
In order to increase your power meter, you’ll need to either correctly pass
a buoy or pull off a trick. Since you’ll be passing buoys left and right (not
doing so will get you eliminated), you never really need to do tricks. In
fact, doing so often slows you down. You just don’t get rewarded enough for
pulling off the cool stuff.
It would have been nice to see a little more depth in the Championship mode,
possibly by earning money in the races and putting them toward upgradeable parts.
But as it stands, Blue Storm is just a simple and very arcade-like experience.
Still, you’ll have a good time cutting through the water with Blue Storm‘s
realistic wave dynamics. Different weather conditions will yield different waves
(from tiny to monstrous) and you’ll need to adjust your game plan accordingly.
Speaking of which, Blue Storm does a great job with the water. The
water effects are some of the best I’ve seen. On a sunny day at the Southern
Island, you’ll be able to see all kinds of underwater life, while a stormy day
at the Lost Temple will swirl up the mud. Water even splashes on your camera
for a better immersive effect.
And to go along with all of this great looking water is a great looking game.
In true Nintendo style, Blue Storm is filled with all kinds of bright
colors and good looking characters. Nintendo put out a very solid effort in
The eight tracks in the game look good as well, but their design is way too
simple. Some levels feature dolphins or killer whales swimming around, but others
don’t have a whole lot going on. There are a few shortcuts, but they only allow
you to cut corners instead of taking you somewhere hidden and interesting.
Although Wave Race: Blue Storm is a little too plain for the more mature
gamer, it’s about right for the less discerning fan. It’s a good looking game
with very easy to handle gameplay. Trademark Nintendo all the way.