American Chopper Full Throttle Review

Although the television series, “American Chopper” has admittedly lost some of its raw edginess since its debut in 2003 on the Discovery Channel, the show is still a favorite among many. For those who are not familiar with AC, the “plot” revolves around a family business–a custom motorcycle shop. The owner of the shop, Paul Teutul Sr., is a raging bear who basically whips his employees into doing the best work they can. His son, Paul Jr., is constantly at odds with his father as he tries to be the creative force behind the family business. There in a nutshell, is the story of the show.

This reality show became an instant and surprising over night hit. Since then, the Teutul,s and the Discovery Channel have found an assortment of ways to cash in on the popularity of the series. And one of those things are the video game tie-ins to the show. Enter Activision,s latest entry: American Chopper 2: Full Throttle. If Paul Sr. ever really played this title, I can imagine him saying, “What the #$#$! You call this a GAME, JACKASS?” Paul, I,d have to agree with you on that one.

The game,s premise is based upon the show, its motorcycles, and a thin shell of a plot in order to justify the game,s existence. Don,t get me wrong here, I actually enjoyed some of the elements of the game, but the sad truth of the matter is, I enjoyed the cut scenes of the game more than the gameplay. More about that later.

Let,s take this game, put it on the hydraulic lift, and take it apart to see what makes it tick, just like they do to the bikes on American Chopper.

The first thing that struck me was the graphics, or lack thereof. I,m not sure what they were thinking over in Activision, but the graphics are just a tad better than the graphics you,d find on a Playstation One. The game,s overall look is grainy, choppy, (no pun intended) and uninspired. Your first reaction will be, “This is a PS2 game?” Yes, poor soul, it really is.

The gameplay centers on “missions” that has the player going through obstacle courses, running errands before the time limit runs out, racing and chasing other motorcycles, and picking up the various “tools” that are found throughout the game. You have the option of selecting the character you want to be, (Paul Sr., Paul Jr., Mikey, or Vinny), and a chopper that is custom made or chosen from the garage. If you are a fan of the series, bikes such as the “MIA Bike”, the “Black Widow”, “Old School Bike” and others, will be among those available for unlocking.

Before selecting a mission, you have the opportunity to construct your very own chopper. The assembly process is simple, and mimics the TV show. You are given a selection of parts to choose from such as engines, exhausts, gas tanks, etc. The parts that are available to you are limited at first, but as you accumulate more points, you,ll be able to upgrade your chopper with more parts.

Each mission is relatively short and doesn,t require a lot of expertise to accomplish. They are straight forward and uncomplicated. In one example, you are following a drag racer in order to learn how to race from him. If you are able to catch him, you then get a chance at drag racing your bike against the clock. Other missions have you going around town in search of tools, items or objects. Since many of these missions are timed, you,ll have to avoid traffic and cars to get to where you,re going, fast. All the riding action sequences are seen from the third person view.

The controls for the game are realistic. The choppers are hard to steer when navigating through turns and carry a good amount of weight. If you are a biker, the controls won,t bother you, but if you aren,t a biker, the physics of the game will drive you crazy as you overshoot your exits or crash into cars, trucks and trees. After a while, the game may get tedious and you,ll find crashing Paul Sr. and the other family members against oncoming traffic more entertaining than the game itself. They sprawl helplessly through the air and crash horrifically down to earth. Now that,s what we call funny. But even this little bit of entertainment soon becomes stale.

If you,ve watched American Chopper for any length of time, you,ve probably enjoyed the music that accompanies the series. Your expectations will definitely be let down as the music composed for the game is irritating and well below par of the television series. Somebody at production seems to think that power chords and lots of distortion are all you need for a soundtrack. Wrong.

A few points are worth mentioning that are good about the game. One of them is the in-game cut scenes. Before each mission, there is a small cut-scene which features the character you have selected for the mission. The clips are often funny and revealing about the real life characters. As you finish more of the game, extra video bonus material becomes available. I found that part of the reason I was playing the game was to just see the cut scenes, and not because the game was that good. Another point that may be an attraction to some is the idea that American Chopper 2: Full Throttle, is an extension of the television series. The game is a vehicle for die hard fans to continue the experience of the American Chopper series.

I am a fan of the show, but even so, the game American Chopper 2: Full Throttle failed to become a full throttle experience. While I was entertained by the cut scenes, the novelty of seeing the characters in a video game, and the laughs I got from crashing the Teutuls into oncoming traffic, these brief instances of fun were not enough to merit a high game rating.

If you are an avid American Chopper fan, you may be more forgiving of the game,s faults than someone who is not familiar with the show. But anyway you cut it, American Chopper 2: Full Throttle, needs to go back to the shop for some major re-fabrication.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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