I have to admit I never watched Herbie before; not even the recently remade one that hit the summer box office. I know of the car, though, since it always manages to get slated into any list of Disney highlights. Just as some generations grew up with Mary Poppins and her umbrella, some with Herbie, my generation grew up with that kid from The Flight of the Navigator and the silver time traveling spaceship called Max. Lindsay Lohan, who was born when the Navigator movie came out (I am getting old), stars in the remake called Herbie: Fully Loaded, which gives us this accompanying wireless game.
Fully Loaded is a top down 2D driving game. I hesitate to call it a racing game since you don’t really race on anything resembling a track. Instead, you are given short missions that take place in three arenas that are basically boxed areas where cars do destruction derbies. Each arena features four missions and must be completed in sequential fashion before you move on to the next one.
My biggest gripe with Fully Loaded has to be with the controls. There’s no way to change whether your directional control is relative to the screen or the car and nearly every time I shut off the phone and came back to it, I had to spend a good minute trying to avoid driving in reverse. Although the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t quite matter if you’re rear-ending or front-ending someone since you travel at the same speed.
Fully Loaded’s missions usually take between two or three minutes to complete. Most missions involve picking up something, whether it’s a power up or a flag attached to a car, destroying a car or simply surviving. All of them end with a mad dash to the exit gate at the top of the arena. The execution of these elements is, to put it mildly, lacking.
For example, when the game tells you to survive for two minutes and then reach the open gate, I simply parked myself in front of the gate and lo and behold, after two minutes, rushed into the exit area to complete the mission. Not exactly my idea of a fun time gaming. Another mission involved protecting a car from being destroyed. This meant putting yourself in harm’s way. There was only one car making a pass at the target, though, and after it decided to ram itself into Herbie until it blew up, the rest of the game time was spent waiting for the exit gate to open up and the stage to end.
There are less absurd moments where you’re actually playing the game but most of the time it involves picking things up or stealing things from other cars. You are given a radar map that covers your immediate vicinity but to find these items, you have to drive through the arena searching for it. Since the arenas are all square boxes, it isn’t a big deal and even someone bad at action games (myself) could finish these missions with time to spare.
Ultimately, I found myself looking for a way to ratchet up the difficulty level to make Fully Loaded a little more entertaining but alas, as with my want for a way to tweak the controls of the game, it can’t be found here. The twelve missions, which seem like a lot in the beginning, are lacking in creativity making it hard to recommend this game to anyone.