18 Wheels of Steel: Pedal to the Metal

Racing 2004 Windows Akella Other transport simulation City race

Unusual but absorbing trucking sim

This is the third instalment in the long-running 18 Wheels of Steel series, which gives players the opportunity to get behind the wheel of massively oversized trucks and find out if they have what it takes to be a true trucker. However, it's not all about high speed races and such, and instead the game adds in a surprisingly thoughtful management aspect which gives it a depth greater than might be expected. Players start out as the owner of a lowly trucking business, with just a little cash and one truck. By bidding on and successfully completing delivery jobs, you can build up your reputation and fleet, but watch out for hazards like accidents, the police, and environmental disasters, as these can all hamper your empire-building plans. The game takes in the entire continental US as well as southern Canada and northern Mexico and the wonderful variety of locations are all well realised and realistic, with plenty of detail and good use of textures and weather conditions. For those looking for an unusual driving sim, this is a great bet. It is certainly different from the average racer and provides plenty of challenge, with the management aspect making for an interesting addition. It certainly won't suit speed freaks, but for a realistic trucking game, this is difficult to beat.

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