Wave Race: Blue Storm Review

In 2001, Nintendo developed and published Wave Race: Blue Storm on the GameCube. It was a follow-up to the wildly successful hit on the N64, Wave Race 64. Sadly, this is the last entry in the series but not because it wasn’t a great game. Let’s hope on those jetskis one last time and take a spin around the lake in this Wave Race: Blue Storm review!

Wave Race: Blue Storm Plot:

Well, as this is a racing game there’s not really a plot but instead a wider variety of characters to select to race with. Some racers return from Wave Race 64, while others are new. Let’s take a look at the playable racers in Wave Race: Blue Storm and the perks of each of them.

Ryota Hayami: As an 18-year-old, he’s from Japan and his pit chief is his coach. Ryota’s signature color is red and is great for beginners and experts alike as he has great top speed and handling.

David Mariner: He’s a 32-year-old from the United States and a bit round in the middle. His pit chief is his buddy, Ray, and his signature color is green. David is recommended for experts only as he has the best top speed and great power but handles very poorly.

Ayumi Stewart: She’s a 21-year-old from the United States with his signature color being purple. Her pit chief is her coach, Robin. Ayumi is great for both beginners and experts alike as she has moderate skills across the board from top speed, acceleration, handling, power, and pulling off stunts.

Akari Hayami: She’s a 17-year-old from Japan with her signature color being pink. Akari is perfect for beginners as she has the best acceleration and is great with stunts but beware that her top speed and power are very weak. She’s coached by her pit chief, Kyoko who is also her roommate.

Nigel Carver: A 28-year-old from England, Nigel’s signature color is black. He’s best used for advanced and expert riders as he has good acceleration and stunt power with his handling being perfect. Nigel’s pit chief is his coach, Terrence.

Rob Haywood: This 20-year-old from the United States is quite buff and for experts only. He has a near-perfect top speed, and his power is the best. This muscle man’s signature color is blue and his pit chief is his friend and coach, Doug.

Ricky Winterborn: He’s a young rider at only 14 years old, but this Canadian can still hold his own. Ricky’s signature color is teal, and he’s coached by his Uncle, Russ. He’s great for beginners as he accelerates well and has tremendous stunt skills.

Serena del Mar: A Brazilian who is 19, Serena’s signature color is orange. Her pit chief is her coach, and boyfriend, Luis. Serena is suggested for advanced and expert riders as she has great acceleration and handling but not much power.

Interestingly enough, the only rider not to return from Wave Race 64, was Miles Jeter, who was my main racer of choice! For my Wave Race: Blue Storm review, I chose to play as Ryota Hayami. He had a solid skill set across the board, but Ayumi Stewart is also a great choice for a well-balanced rider.

Wave Race: Blue Storm Gameplay:

Wave Race: Blue Storm offers a variety of gameplay modes including the championship, free roam, time attack, tutorial, multiplayer, and stunt mode. Similar to my playthrough of Wave Race 64, I stuck to the bread and butter of this game by playing through the championships in which you’ll race against seven others. I did experience the free roam which I thought was an excellent idea to give players an idea of the course and just a fun option to explore. It’s a great inclusion for young racers just to drive around and have fun.

I’ve never been good at stunts, and that was the case in my Wave Race: Blue Storm review. I like to race, not do kickflips or shimmy shammies in the air. (Are those even tricks?) I appreciate the inclusion of this mode in the game, but it just wasn’t for me. There’s a great tutorial and section on stunts in the manual so if interested, check it out to help learn button combinations for stunts.

In Championship mode, you’ll collect points and race seven computer-controlled opponents for three laps. You score the most points by finishing the race in first place and so forth. At the end of the series of races, the one with the most points wins. There are three difficulty settings to race on from normal, hard, and expert. Normal has five races, hard has six, and expert has seven. When the difficulty goes up, your rivals’ techniques will improve, the routes on the course will change, and the location of the buoys or number of obstacles on a course will change. Buoys play an important role in the races as you need to weave in and out of them to pick up speed. If you keep missing buoys you are disqualified. One thing that is very much lacking from Wave Race: Blue Storm is the cheery announcer from Wave Race 64. I had a wonderful interview with him on my Retro Video Game Talk Show but he doesn’t return for the sequel. Instead, racers are coached through the radio in their helmets by their pit coach. It still works, but I missed the announcer screaming “Maximum Power!”.

The courses and lakes that you race are beautiful on the GameCube. They were beautiful on the N64, and the GameCube continues that tradition with excellent water mechanics from the wave physics, to the design in environments. Weather can play a factor in courses and wave height and you’ll need to prepare to race in clear, cloudy, partly rainy, rainy, and stormy weather. The worse the weather is, the higher the waves are.

If you’ve read any of my reviews or watched them on YouTube, you understand how crucial small details are for me. I’m happy to say that in my Wave Race: Blue Storm review, I found plenty of them to keep me happy. Each character has unique music and their designs of them are excellent. Sound effects are supreme with the revving of the engines, happy dolphins chattering, and the sounds of the waves crashing against objects. Small things like the lights being frozen on the ice course create an immersive experience as you race.

There are plenty of shortcuts to find as you race and obstacles to avoid. Each lap may have something different in store for you as you progress through the race that keeps you on your feet. Ice began to fall in during the frozen course and cargo started to leak onto a course during a race. These are great inclusions that keep the racer guessing while they maneuver a course. The key to everything is the control of your jetski and I did find that the joystick was surprisingly sensitive to the touch of water and turning. Sometimes it was a bit too sensitive, but after some time I was able to get used to it.

Wave Race: Blue Storm Review Score:

Wave Race: Blue Storm is a fully upgraded sequel with more content, racers, and even free roam! The water physics is incredible and the sound effects are near perfect. There’s a lot to love in this edition of Wave Race and I’m disappointed to say this is the last entry in the series, and quite frankly, I wonder why? It’s a great racer, and I recommend it more so than Wave Race 64.

Wave Race: Blue Storm scores an 8 out of 10.

What would you write in your Wace Race: Blue Storm review? Who was your favorite racer? What was your favorite course? Would you like to see the series return? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Wave Race: Blue Storm, I’d love to read them.


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