Wave Race Blue Storm (GameCube)
It has already been over 15 years since this game's release and I still love to play it. Content is in short supply, but what the game makes out of it is stellar. The controls with their additions of leaning with the shoulder buttons and the new turbo system in combination with the weather system that has a significant impact on the surface you are riding on... that's simply awesome.
A race on Aspen Lake that starts with light rain and has you maneuvering around rocks in addition to the buoys in lap 1, then medium rain in lap 2 and some of the rocks already covered by the raising water level, then lap 3 conditions with a full-blown storm that reduces the sight and lightning that fells a tree you have to drive around... magnificent.
Interestingly enough, the same Aspen Lake is the most difficult when there's clear and sunny weather. The water level is at its lowest, so the rocks stick high out of the water. Championship mode shows the weather forecast for the current day and the next two, and all tracks except the final one of a circuit are up for choice. It's up to the player to decide how difficult each track is going to be, at least partly.
Another big improvement over Wave Race 64 is the increase of racers from four to eight. They all handle differently, so more options to change things up. Playing through all difficulty settings of championship mode only takes about an hour, but the game plays so well and there are so many ways how you can approach it. Considering how low the chances for a superior water racing game are, I'll be playing Wave Race Blue Storm for another 15 years.
|Controls||10||There is a learning curve, but once you get the hang
of shifting the driver's weight around, it's fantastic.
|Gameplay||Jetski racing. Pass buoys on the correct side or get
disqualified. New boost system adds more depth.
|Single-player||Weather conditions affect water level and wave height,
and can change during the course of a race.
|Multiplayer||Up to four players in splitscreen, but no CPU rivals.
No points system or anything like it.
|Graphics||Great where it counts, but some objects outside of the
water look like they've come from the Nintendo 64.
|Sound||Music stays in the background. Sound effects and
announcers dominate the racing action.
|Value||Eight locations that amount to only 19 course variations.
Short championship mode. Time attack, stunt mode.
|Replay Value||Weather and waves keep every race interesting and easily
make up for the low amount of content.
|Score||9||Wave Race Blue Storm doesn't check all boxes, but it
absolutely excels where it really matters.