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Showing posts with label 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker. Show all posts

Petrol Panic! 6 of the best gas stations in Dreamcast games

For a relatively brief period in late 2021, the UK transformed from a miserable, grey, rainswept dystopia into a miserable, grey, rainswept dystopia that had no petrol at the vast majority of its filling stations. Many reasons were put forward for this phenomenon, but the general consensus was that some shitty 'news' websites were hungry for clicks, so they told everyone to start panicking and go and buy some fuel before it ran out...even though there wasn't actually a shortage. 

What ensued was an embarrasing display of idiocy on a national scale, with people fighting over diesel and miles long queues at forecourts. Meanwhile, Hexxus from Fern Gully was rubbing his oily hands at the prospect of another few decades of humans acting like assholes because they couldn't put some 4* in their Vauxhall Cavaliers.

Oddly, Crazy Taxi features no gas stations. I know, I've looked.

Anyhow, It occured to me - while I too was sitting in a 14 mile long queue for petrol, incidentally - that there are numerous games on the Dreamcast which feature equally queue-less petrol/gas stations. And here, for your pleasure is a rundown of six such virtual establishments. It's worth noting that none of the petrol/gas stations here feature a digital queue of Crazy Taxis or Afro Thunder punching people on the forecourt. Which is a crying shame, if you ask me.


San Francisco Rush 2049

It's actually quite a push to think that people will still need petrol stations in 2049 - surely electric vehicles will be the norm then? That said, one of the cars in Rush has an actual rocket engine on the back. Either way, If you travel to the Haight course in San Francisco Rush 2049, you'll stumble upon this double Shell garage that has perhaps the largest forecourt canopy ever constructed. Furthermore, the pumps appear to be emblazoned with acid faces, so maybe they aren't fuel dispensers at all, and are in fact tiny portaloos inhabited by local drug dealers.

Summary: Massively over engineered roof canopy, poor vehicle access, bizarre signage on pumps. Could be a front for more serious gang crime in the wider San Francisco area.


18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker

18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker is a game in which you drive trucks with 18 wheels, while pretendng to be an American. Unless you are an American. And a pro trucker. It's a passable arcade to Dreamcast port that is much less impressive when played on a 14" CRT television in a damp bedroom as opposed to on a huge multi-displayed big rig arcade machine with all of your nonexistent friends cheering you on. But enough of my childhood. On the first stage of the arcade mode (Key West), just after you come off the freeway theres a lovely little Texaco on the right offering various delicious fuels for a bargain price. Also, just beyond said petrol station there's an advertising board with a typo. Which is nice.

Summary: Nice looking, well kept and tidy Texaco branch. Intelligently located next to a busy arterial route. Occasionally an overly aggressive rival trucker buying beers will call you a 'greenhorn' and throw a cup of piss at you.


A Quick Look At 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker

Of all the NAOMI to Dreamcast ports that were given a wide release - there are several that only got a limited release in Japan - 18 Wheeler is undoubtedly the one that gets the shortest of shrifts. Cast your mind back to those pastel hued days of Sega's arcade dominance and subsequent ports to the home tellybox, and names like Crazy Taxi, Ferrari F355 Challenge, Virtua Tennis, Outtrigger and Cosmic Smash instantly spring to mind. 18 Wheeler? Not so much.
This is odd for a couple of reasons, but the main one - for me at least - is the awesome way in which the game was presented in coin-op fashion in some locations. To whit, the game was set up with a huge mock truck cab that did a good job of allowing the player to feel like they were really driving an articulated lorry - it certainly felt very grand to the teenage me playing 18 Wheeler in the Namco Station at Manchester's Trafford Centre, anyway.
Since those heady days of the early 2000s, I have gone on to acquire my HGV license in real life (don't ask, it's a long story) and I am legally allowed to drive trucks of varying sizes. I can say though - with some authority - that driving a truck in reality is nowhere near as fun as it is in 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker. The game was ported from the arcade to the Dreamcast and released in PAL territories in June 2001 - several months after the announcement that Sega was ceasing production of the console. As you can probably imagine, the reception was lukewarm - to say the least.
This late release probably has a lot to do with the decision to allow Acclaim to publish the game on the PlayStation 2 and Gamecube after Sega had consigned the Dreamcast to the great bargain bin in the sky; but for the purpose of keeping this consignment of Dreamcast-related cargo on track, let's hit the road and take a look at Crazy Taxi's poor relation. More specifically what it gets right, what it gets wrong and whether it's worth your time and money. This is 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker...