Many a quick and dirty cash-in has trudged its way onto the Wii in the time since publishers began to exclaim, "Holy smokes! People are buying this thing! Get games on system make go money now!" Cruis'n ranks highly amongst the most egregious of these games. Cruis'n is essentially Midway's attempt to unearth the consistently mediocre arcade driving franchise the company used to port to consoles regularly back in the N64 days. A fitting notion, given that Cruis'n actually looks a little bit like an N64 game that's been cranked to a resolution it never should have and plays like something that would have felt like an ancient relic years ago, let alone now.
It's well known fact that the novelty of having two-dimensional cutouts of real life people in games was already played out by 1997. In case anyone was keeping track, this is 2007.
Again, fitting, considering that this is just a fairly straightforward port of The Fast and the Furious arcade game that came out back in 2004. Midway doesn't have the FATF license, so instead, it slapped the Cruis'n name on this puppy and churned it out for Wii owners. It's an OK fit in that regard because FATF had a number of hallmarks of the Cruis'n series already, including the creepy 2D cutouts of real people standing around at the starting line, the variety of wacky-themed US locales to drive around in, and the driving model that gives you a good idea of what it would be like if you were to cut all the good parts out of Burnout.
You can choose from one of several different licensed street racing rides, from the Mitsubishi Eclipse to the Nissan Skyline, though which car you choose doesn't really make a ton of difference because every car still feels like a squirrely mess. You steer your car by holding the Wii Remote sideways and tilting it, Ã la Excite Truck. The steering mechanics are, at the very least, consistent, but also incredibly touchy. Extremely minor movements are required to steer properly, and if you go even a smidge over, your car will spin like crazy then end up wrecking into a wall, or a tree, or whatever other bric-a-brac litters a given stage. You can buy upgrades for your car that help alleviate some of the loose feel, but not so much that it ever quite fixes the problem.
The intense grip you have to keep on the Wii Remote is about the only intense thing Cruis'n has going for it. Races are a bore, no matter how many crazy jumps and tight turns you might be taking. The game's sense of speed is OK, but the racing simply feels devoid of skill. You could wreck into a billion objects on the track, hit your nitrous on one decent straightaway, and somehow come out on top. Or you could race a perfect race the whole way through, hit one bump, and somehow come in last. Part of that is likely attributable to the sort of catch-up artificial intelligence prevalent in arcade racers like these, and it's definitely here in spades.