In the days after Sega released CRAZY TAXI to much critical acclaim and commercial success, another game through the pipes that would allow gamers to become another type of commercial driver. This game allowed players to get behind the wheel of a semi, and was appropriately titled 18-WHEELER. But it didn't have nearly as replayable as CRAZY TAXI did and didn't do nearly as well. After a few years, Sega is back with a follow-up, KING OF ROUTE 66, but the result is much of the same.
The biggest problem with KING OF ROUTE 66 is that is just sits there and never really gets you into it. While AM2 has gone in and added a bunch of modes to the game such as two-player and mini-games, it hasn't really done anything to make the game any deeper or more enjoyable. You still just essentially sit there in a lackadaisical fashion driving through the courses. The gameplay is shallow enough that you never really seem to get into it at all.
The racing elements are fairly cheap as well. If you crash, you're screwed, but your rival or opponent can crash and then recover immediately. The whole point of the game is to find shortcuts, race dirty, and catch some mega-air by using nitro at the right times. Yes, you go way air born in an 18-wheeler in this game. But I won't complain about that because I don't complain about CRAZY TAXI's insane air and jumps.
I probably laughed more at this game than anything else. There is a lot of humor in the loosely connected story mode most of it at the expense of rural folks. It's all very stereotypical and would probably been seen as offensive to some, but I found it pretty funny. Regardless, I was more than ready to be done playing the game when I finished.
The graphics in the game are not that impressive. There is a lot of color, but there is nothing particularly exciting or jaw dropping. The visual style does work well for the game though, and I'd like to think that this was a stylistic choice rather than just laziness on the part of AM2. With that in mind, the graphics are fitting of what is trying to be represented and work well for KING OF ROUTE 66.
The music on the other hand is painful. All of the sound in the game is some of the worst in quality that I've heard in a while. It's painful to your ears and I quickly had the sound system turned nearly all the way down. The voice acting is so bad it had to have been intention thus putting it actually on the side of good (see the RESIDENT EVIL series). The music isn't actually that bad, but the quality is so awful you'll barely notice the musical tracks.
Ultimately, KING OF ROUTE 66 can easily be gotten through in a weekend and doesn't really have the depth or longevity to warrant a purchase. It's a rental at best.