Game Review - by James Allen
Value priced software can run the span from Serious Sam (good) to Airport Tycoon (provoking involuntary projectile vomiting). This brings us to Hot Wired, a driving game in the same league as Driver, published by Xicat Interactive (if you can pronounce their name, you win a cookie). You must evade the police and race toward the county line and freedom. Will Hot Wired become Most Wanted, or crash and burn in an electrifying display of boredom and appalling energy?
Ah yes, the features. Now, I've seen some skimpy features in my day, but Hot Wired takes the cake and eats it. Eats it big time. You get to avoid the cops and the local traffic in 10 different "cities." These "cities" are just one stretch of highway with some different backgrounds (but not really: it's night). Now, I was expecting "cities" as in the cities rendered in Driver. But one road? C'mon folks, you can try harder than that. Also, there are six cars to choose from. You unlock additional cars with the money you earn. You UNLOCK the cars with MONEY. You're a car jacker! Why do you need to PAY to UNLOCK the cars??? All there is in the game is avoiding the cops driving to the county line. No multiplayer. No practice. No other driver modes. Plus, you can select your controller to be "keyboard," "joystick," "gamepad," and "wheel." There is no reconfiguring, and if you have two controllers (like I do), get ready for some keyboard action: you can't define which one to use, and it will not even default to the first ID. I guess my first clue should have been the massive 40 MB full install. I smell refund!
If your idea of sound is constant police sirens and gruff officers shouting, "Stop," then Hot Wired is the game for you! Your boss has the worst voice I have ever heard in my entire gaming career. There is some soundtrack, but you'll never hear it over the loud and constant wailing of the sirens (not the Greek ones, unfortunately). Save yourself the agony and turn off the speakers.
Hold down the accelerator. There you go.
But seriously, the gameplay is just go as fast as you can on a wide road. You are given the choice of a few cars to "hot wire," which you take over mysteriously in the middle of a large highway. This guy must be talented; he can even do it in total darkness (the high jacking procedure is depicted with just sound and a blank screen). You are given a map (with the straight line road) with all the cops on it. Now, in a game like Driver, strategy would come into play here, but in Hot Wired, there's only one road! You can't turn on a sidestreet to avoid the cops, just swerve around them. The AI is complete garbage. The traffic will routinely ram into each other, and the cop cars hop up and down as if they are equipped with hydraulics. Really. It's actually pretty funny, but still not worth it. The game is over when you reach the county line or your car is completely destroyed. You can be surrounded by cops and unable to move, and the game WILL NOT END until they slowly nudge your car to 0 Cr worth. Solid objects in the real world (lightposts, street signs) can be easily passed through in Hot Wired. Airport Tycoon ain't looking so badů
The graphics is the lone high (relatively speaking, of course) point of Hot Wired. The cars look OK, the cities are fine (although it's always night), but since they ARE only one road, that isn't so impressive. The car damage is, however. Check out some of the wrecks I got into: how the heck did I continue my career after that. Realistic? Maybe. Cool? Sort of. Going to bring this one out of the doldrums? Not a chance.
Ladies and Gentleman, we have a new low for me: Hot Wired replaces Airport Tycoon as the worst game I have reviewed, and get the first 1/5 overall rating. Using outstanding features such as six cars, one highway per city, and one driving mode, Hot Wired certainly has earned this lowest accolade. It turned out the worst possible game I could have imagined. Let's have one of those old-fashioned book burnings for Hot Wired, because that is the only possible way it could ever be hot.