When a mafia don paid me to race my mammoth truck through Central Park for his pleasure, I came to the following conclusion: Intercepted pay-per-view programs inspired aliens in the Alpha Centauri system to make Monster 4x4. How else can you explain Masters of Metal's creepy announcer—he sounds more like a fey ESL student than a hoarse emcee with too much reverb on his mic (ya know, "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!"). Anyone who actually enjoys the world of monster trucking will instantly realize that this game seriously lacks authenticity.

Despite its rudimentary grasp of redneck culture, Masters of Metal manages to nail the handling and physics of the massive machines, even if its brand of big wheelin' won't convert new followers. (A standard racing game this most certainly is not.) It does deserve credit, however, for a layout that lets you pick up the points you need to proceed by doing donuts in exhibitions instead of rerunning flubbed races, although fans won't feel large and in charge as the camera goes haywire when their truck gets stuck in a wall.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.

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