Monster Truck Madness

Monster Truck Madness is a racing video game developed by Terminal Reality and published by Microsoft, released in North America on August 31, 1996. The game has twelve monster trucks and tasks the player with beating computer opponents. Checkpoints, multiple hidden shortcuts, and interactable objects commonly appear in the tracks. In the garage, the player modifies the truck to account for terrain surfaces. Online multiplayer is accessed with a modem, a local area network (LAN), or TCP/IP.

Monster Truck Madness
A race between two monster trucks, Bigfoot and Snake Bite, is depicted within a background of sepia-toned sky and dirt. The silver metallic Monster Truck Madness logo (with bolts surrounding the left and right sides of "Truck") and the slogan "Down & Dirty Racing!" ("Racing!" in orange) is in the bottom half of the cover art, accompanied by the Entertainment Software Rating Board's (ESRB) Kids to Adults (K-A) rating. The "Designed for Microsoft Windows 95" and "CD-ROM" logos are depicted alongside the text "Requires Windows 95" in the top-left portion, and the Microsoft logo is at the top-right corner.
Developer(s)Terminal Reality
Publisher(s)Microsoft
Designer(s)
  • Joseph Selinske
  • Gaither Simmons
Programmer(s)
Artist(s)
  • Chuck Carson
  • Drew Haworth
  • Terry Simmons
Composer(s)
  • Kyle Richards
  • Tom Wedge
EnginePhotex
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Release
  • NA: August 31, 1996
Genre(s)Racing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Terminal Reality designed Monster Truck Madness to accurately simulate monster truck events and replicate the titular off-road vehicles. The developer recruited announcer Armey Armstrong to perform sports commentary. The game received a massive following, and video game publications generally praised its gameplay, graphics, and physics. Its critical and commercial success spawned the Madness series of racing titles, which included Motocross Madness and Midtown Madness. Monster Truck Madness was followed by a sequel, Monster Truck Madness 2. The off-road truck racing theme is also present in Terminal Reality's 4x4 Evo series.

GameplayEdit

 
The player driving Bigfoot on A Crazy Eight.

Monster Truck Madness offers twelve monster trucks, including Bigfoot, Grave Digger and Snake Bite,[a] and tasks the player with beating computer opponents in four single-player modes: Drag, Circuit, Rally, and Tournament.[2][3] Drag focuses on traditional monster truck events set in arena and stadium venues[4][5] like BC Place[6] and Tacoma Dome;[7] the player qualifies to participate in knockout races that involve jumping over rows of cars.[4][5] Circuit has five short race tracks, and Rally has long exotic tracks[4][5] themed after Arizona,[8] the highlands,[9] and the Yucatán.[10] In Tournament, the player participates in a custom series of events with computer opponents.[11] Checkpoints,[12] multiple hidden shortcuts (like a broken bridge),[3] and interactable objects (such as cactuses, road signs, and fences) commonly appear in the tracks.[4][13] The finder directs the truck towards the checkpoint. The player can call the helicopter to put the truck back on the road.[3]

In the garage, the player modifies the truck's tires, suspension, and acceleration-to-speed ratio to account for terrain surfaces such as mud and grass. The player can compete in multiplayer using DirectPlay and with a modem, LAN, or TCP/IP.[2][3] The game includes multiple camera angles like blimp and cockpit, as well as the ability to watch and save replays of the events.[2][14]

Development and releaseEdit

 
Samson (pictured in the 2011 Monster Jam event) is one of the twelve monster trucks in Monster Truck Madness.

Terminal Reality, Inc. was earlier known for three exoplanet-themed combat flight simulators: Terminal Velocity, Fury3,[15] and Hellbender.[16] The developer designed Monster Truck Madness to accurately simulate monster truck events such as drag tracks and enclosed circuit races, and replicate the titular off-road vehicles on land, when jumping, and during collisions. Sound effects of the trucks were recorded and digitized from such races. The game's twelve monster trucks were used under license from companies like Bigfoot 4×4, Inc., the owner of Bigfoot, Grave Digger, and Snake Bite. The studio recruited successful monster truck announcer Armey Armstrong[b] to perform sports commentary, resulting in lines such as "Bigfoot is doing it in the air!" and "when it's going your way, it's going your way."[2][14]

Monster Truck Madness's beta version received a preview from GameSpot writer Rebecca Anderson, who said Psygnosis was also focusing on monster trucks in its then-upcoming Thunder Truck Rally.[14] On May 16, the game was displayed at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), and Microsoft announced its autumn release date.[2] The game was released in North America on August 31.[18] It was one of the first titles to provide force feedback and Direct3D support and required a video card for smooth, quickly processed graphics.[3][19] It even included an online manual and full motion videos (FMVs) of monster truck events.[5]

ReceptionEdit

SalesEdit

Monster Truck Madness was a commercial success, accumulating a massive worldwide following.[20] The game peaked at number 10 at PC Data's PC games sales charts during October, subsequently dropping to number 18 for November.[21] It debuted at number 73 at NPD Group's Top Entertainment Titles chart in September, reaching number 13 in October.[22]

Critical reviewsEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings77%[23]
Review scores
PublicationScore
AllGame     [24]
CGWPositive[13]
GameSpot7.4/10[12]
Next Generation     [25]
PC Gamer (US)85/100[3]
PC Zone78%[26]
Game BriefsPositive[20]
Game RevolutionB+[4]
PC GamesB-[5]
Surprisingly, this game is honestly one of the prettiest things to appear on the PC screen for quite some time.

— Jason C. Carnevale of Game Revolution on the graphics of Monster Truck Madness.[4]

Monster Truck Madness received mainly positive reviews from printed and online video game publications. Praise was given by Jeff Lundrigan, a review editor for Next Generation, who stated it exploits the capabilities of Windows 95, since it can achieve high frame rates without 3D graphics accelerator cards. He was entertained by the game's physics model but saw it as unrealistic, citing an example of a monster truck jumping almost 100 feet above a hill.[25] While Anderson perceived monster truck racing as immature, she enjoyed playing the game and praised Armstrong's commentary. However, she spotted visual glitches appearing near static objects.[12] The game's official website quoted a review from Bernard Dy of the website Game Briefs; Dy accoladed it as one of the greatest Windows 95 games, viewing its graphics as similar to Papyrus Design's NASCAR Racing and saying the physics were "designed for fun." Although he cautioned that players expecting realism would be disappointed at the lack of a printed manual and an absent damage model, he opinioned its sound design and online manual benefit the game.[20] All three writers considered the significant number of customizable performance variables to befit all "skill level[s]."[12][25][20] PC Zone likened the game to a hybrid of Stunt Car Racer and NASCAR Racing.[26]

Writing for Computer Gaming World, M. Clarkson commented that Monster Truck Madness puts an emphasis on simplicity over detail, and added that players would be amused over jumping in the air and traversing the mud.[13] Jason C. Carnevale of Game Revolution was surprised at its graphical quality, saying driving through the circuits is visually pleasant with billboards, stands, and automobiles. He viewed the controls as comfortable and appreciated the game's multiple shortcuts. Carnevale recommended Monster Truck Madness for players desiring a short game of excitement.[4] Reviewing the game for PC Gamer, Colin Williamson was enthused over the design of the trucks and enjoyed its gameplay, but criticized Armstrong and felt a higher number of tracks would be satisfactory. He said the tracks are sizeable and diverse and favored the Rally races for their openness. Williamson stated that Microsoft minimized the realism to lessen the game's difficulty.[3] Rob Smith of PC Games commented about the trucks' slowness and noticed that their big tires allow them to bounce when "stray[ing] from the beaten track." According to Smith, auto-shift and auto-braking "on corners" assist players well. He was impressed that up to eight players can participate in the game's online multiplayer mode. Smith summarized that the game lacked originality, but provided a solid arcade-style racing experience.[5] Monster Truck Madness was nominated for Computer Games Strategy Plus' 1996 Racing Simulation of the Year award, but lost to NASCAR Racing 2.[27]

LegacyEdit

Monster Truck Madness's critical and commercial success spawned the Madness series of racing titles. Its 1998 sequel, Monster Truck Madness 2, uses the Photex2 engine for improved physics.[19] Microsoft subsequently published the motorcross-related Motocross Madness in 1998,[28] and the open world Chicago-themed Midtown Madness in 1999,[29] both of which also received sequels.[30][31][32] In collaboration with Microsoft, THQ and Tantalus Media created a 2003 Game Boy Advance game dubbed Monster Truck Madness, sporting 2.5D graphics, powerups, and time trial mode.[33]

Terminal Reality developed 4x4 Evo, which has an off-road truck racing theme similar to Monster Truck Madness. In the game's Career Mode, the player participates in races to earn money and subsequently purchase trucks.[34] Its sequel, 4x4 EVO 2, introduces Adventure Mission mode, where the player performs treasure hunts and rescue operations to obtain additional money.[35]

Notes and referencesEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ The other monster trucks are Bear Foot, Boogey Van, Carolina Crusher, Monster Patrol, Overkill, Power Wheels, Rampage, Samson, and Wildfoot.[1]
  2. ^ Armey Armstrong is listed as "Army Armstrong" in the credits.[17]

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ Terminal Reality (August 31, 1996). Monster Truck Madness. Microsoft Windows. Microsoft. Scene: Races menu (Pick A Truck).
  2. ^ a b c d e "Microsoft Monster Truck Madness Crushes and Leaps Its Way Into Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)". Microsoft. Microsoft. May 16, 1996. Archived from the original on February 16, 2020. Retrieved February 16, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Williamson, Colin (December 1996). "Microsoft Monster Truck Madness". PC Gamer. Imagine Media. Archived from the original on February 29, 2000. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Carnevale, Jason C. (1996). "Monster Truck Madness Review". Game Revolution. Net Revolution, Inc. Archived from the original on April 17, 2004. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Smith, Rob (December 1996). "Monster Truck Madness". PC Games. International Data Group (IDG). Archived from the original on February 7, 1997. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  6. ^ Terminal Reality (August 31, 1996). Monster Truck Madness. Microsoft Windows. Microsoft. Scene: BC Place description. The monster truck tour takes on an international flavor when the Bad Bots and Girls with the Bad Toys battle it out in B.C. Place every February. With a straight indoor drag track like this, national affiliations are unimportant: speed is the universal language!
  7. ^ Terminal Reality (August 31, 1996). Monster Truck Madness. Microsoft Windows. Microsoft. Scene: Tacoma Dome description. You can hear the "Thunder in the Dome" when the monster trucks start the new year in style every January. The Tacoma Dome's J-style indoor drag track starts with a straightaway, followed by a tight J-turn that sends your truck onto a crush car ramp with the finish line just ahead.
  8. ^ Terminal Reality (August 31, 1996). Monster Truck Madness. Microsoft Windows. Microsoft. Scene: Arizona description. The hot sands of the Arizona desert await the brave and heart monster trucker. If you can't stand the heat, get out of this rally now! Hurtle past catci and canyons, and visit a ghost town or two. When you hit the four-lane blacktop, be prepared to make some adjustments. This is where the rubber really meets the road!
  9. ^ Terminal Reality (August 31, 1996). Monster Truck Madness. Microsoft Windows. Microsoft. Scene: Highlands Rally description. Maneuver your monster through verdant farmland dotted with quaint thatch-roofed cottages and cobblestone streets. Admire the scenery as you wind your way this land of lochs. Those who explore will be rewarded!
  10. ^ Terminal Reality (August 31, 1996). Monster Truck Madness. Microsoft Windows. Microsoft. Scene: Yucatan Adventure description. This rally is designed for the confident monster trucker. The Yucatan offers a variety of terrain, from paved roads and sandy beaches to the crushed lava rock of a live volcano. Turns are sharp and numerous and the terrain is hilly, especially just before turns. The variety of driving conditions combined with the high number of treacherous turns and spectacular jumps calls for someone who really knows how to handle a monster truck. Are you up to the challenge?
  11. ^ Terminal Reality (August 31, 1996). Monster Truck Madness. Microsoft Windows. Microsoft. Scene: Tournament menu.
  12. ^ a b c d Anderson, Rebecca (September 26, 1996). "Monster Truck Madness (1996) Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on June 28, 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Clarkson, M. (December 1996). "On the Shelf: Monster Truck Madness". Computer Gaming World. No. 149. Ziff Davis. p. 43.
  14. ^ a b c Anderson, Rebecca (May 1, 1996). "Monster Truck Madness Preview". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on February 16, 2020. Retrieved February 16, 2020.
  15. ^ Foster, Hugo (May 1, 1996). "Fury 3 Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on December 6, 2003. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  16. ^ Charla, Chris (June 1996). "MicroSoft Alphas: Hellbender". Next Generation. No. 18. Imagine Media. p. 54.
  17. ^ Terminal Reality (August 31, 1996). Monster Truck Madness. Microsoft Windows. Microsoft. Scene: Credits.
  18. ^ "Monster Truck Madness (1996)". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. August 31, 1996. Archived from the original on May 9, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Lundrigan, Jeff (August 1998). "Finals: Monster Truck Madness 2". Next Generation. No. 44. Imagine Media. p. 102.
  20. ^ a b c d "Terminal Reality Web Site: Monster Truck Madness". Terminal Reality. Terminal Reality. 1997. Archived from the original on February 4, 1998. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  21. ^ GamerX (January 10, 1997). "November's 30 best-sellers". CNET GAMECENTER. PC Data. Archived from the original on February 5, 1997. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  22. ^ "Industry Expertise - PC Software - October 1996". NPD. NPD Group. November 1996. Archived from the original on February 25, 1999. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  23. ^ "Monster Truck Madness Reviews". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. 2009. Archived from the original on December 6, 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  24. ^ "Monster Truck Madness - Overview". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  25. ^ a b c Lundrigan, Jeff (February 1997). "Finals: Monster Truck Madness". Next Generation. No. 26. Imagine Media. p. 130.
  26. ^ a b "Buyer's Guide: Monster Truck Madness". PC Zone. No. 45. Future plc. December 1996. p. 178.
  27. ^ "Computer Games Strategy Plus announces 1996 Awards". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Chips & Bits. March 25, 1997. Archived from the original on June 14, 1997. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
  28. ^ Peters, Terry. "Motocross Madness - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  29. ^ Couper, Chris. "Midtown Madness - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  30. ^ Kanarick, Mark. "Motocross Madness 2 - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  31. ^ Couper, Chris. "Midtown Madness 2 - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  32. ^ "Midtown Madness 3". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 170. August 2003. p. 119. Archived from the original on 10 March 2004. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  33. ^ Harris, Craig (August 19, 2003). "Monster Truck Madness". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  34. ^ Bramwell, Tom (November 15, 2000). "4x4 Evolution (PC)". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  35. ^ Mahood, Andy (March 2002). "4x4 Evo 2". PC Gamer. Imagine Media. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved January 7, 2015.

External linksEdit