Disney's Herbie: Fully Loaded
puts you in the driver seat of one of the most famous racing vehicles to grace the silver screen. Herbie has been entertaining movie-goers since the 60's with his come-from-behind victories and personality. Yet after all that time -- not a single game... but all that's changed with the release of the latest Love Bug flick.
In Fully Loaded, you get to race on tracks in the desert, in cities, at raceways and much more as you prove that this little Beetle has got what it takes to be a champion. Since Herbie is known for his tricks, the developers have done a fair job in putting that aspect of the character in the game. As you race around, you will be able to pick up four different colored stars (red, green, blue and yellow). Each one has a different effect that can help Number 53 come out ahead ... well, if used right that is.
The blue stars acts as a boost that has you moving so fast, Herbie does a wheelie. Red stars launch a tire from under the hood ... err trunk... bonnet... front part of the car. Green stars let the Bug hop (though I never really found a good time to use this), while the yellow ones causes the Bug to turn around and speed off in reverse making him go a bit faster than the blue stars. The yellow star is the only one that gets acted on immediately. The green, red and blue ones appear at the top of the screen and can be used at will with the shoulder buttons. But wait, that's three stars and two buttons?! If you pick up a blue star and already have a green one, the old star goes away and vice versa, so even though there are four stars -- you can only hold two at a time.
Herbie: Fully Loaded has three modes: Story Mode, Free Race Mode and Championship Mode. Story Mode is where you unlock new tracks. In order to advance to the next track, you need to come in first; anything less and it's game over. Each track that you unlock is another one that you can race on in Free Race Mode or another one that you have to beat in Championship Mode.
Free Race is just what it sounds like -- that's where you go when you want to just practice on a track or race without needing to come in first. Championship Mode takes you through each track you've unlocked, earning points based on how you placed. That doesn't mean you are guaranteed to always advance to the next track though. If you do too poorly -- you're out altogether.
So in order to unlock new tracks, you have to come in first in Story Mode... but I also mentioned above that you have to keep Herbie happy. Because of this, there are times when you just know that you can't win the race and get the next track. Unless you pull ahead early, Herbie's performance drops because his mood sours. When his performance goes down, so does your rank -- so his mood gets worse. I found that unless I was in the top three before I finished the first lap, the race was pretty much over. This is a bit sad considering that in his movies, Herbie has a habit of coming from behind. Thankfully, with enough practice, you can eventually start nabbing many of the star power-ups and pull ahead; you just have to get a feel for the track first.