SCORE International Baja 1000 Review
SCORE International Baja 1000 box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Left Field 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Activision 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 28, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

One race that has been garnering a lot of attention in recent years is the Baja International 1000, which is a thousand-mile endurance race that takes place in the heat of the Mexican desert. Although this race does not have the cheap thrills or quick intensity of NASCAR, it is a great race to follow. It’s not so much of a race about speed and driving strategy, but more of a race that pushes human boundaries and tests your will to drive.

SCORE International Baja 1000 screenshot

It should come as no surprise then that this year we have had not one but two titles based on this epic race. SCORE International Baja aims to satisfy arcade racing fans with interesting tracks and tons of vehicles to hit the dirt in. It all sounds very good on paper, but the execution in this Wii title is way off-base.

First of all, the signature feature of Baja racing is the “endurance” aspect. As such, you would think there would be endurance-focused races that have interesting formats and conditions. However, almost every race in Baja 1000’s Career mode is basically the same. You jump in, do a few laps, and finish. Sure, there are the usual “challenge” tracks, and there are separated class tracks, but there is nothing here that effectively channels the spirit and unique conditions of the Baja race. The only thing that even comes close is the Exhibition mode, which allows you to switch everything up and use any vehicle on whatever track you want. But this sort of aimless gameplay still just doesn’t live up to the real thing.

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Another gripe that I have with this game is its barebones multiplayer modes. Any automotive game fan will tell you that most of the fun with these titles comes from playing with friends. As such, varied multiplayer modes are essential. However, SCORE offers only one multiplayer option, which is the two-player split-screen. There are no options as to course rules or even race style in the split-screen; you just pick your cars and go.

SCORE International Baja 1000 screenshot

The only thing that really makes this game playable is the variety of cars. This game boasts an impressive list of over 90 vehicles for you to unlock from seven different classes: ATV, dirt bike, SCORE Lite, Tomcar, Class 1, Class ½ 1600, and SCORE Trophy Trucks. The different classes all have unique handling, and you can definitely notice the intricacies of each car and its corresponding class. You can also race under different Baja 1000 team banners, which is pretty cool for fans of the series.

SCORE International Baja 1000 screenshot

Screenshots / Images
SCORE International Baja 1000 screenshot - click to enlarge SCORE International Baja 1000 screenshot - click to enlarge SCORE International Baja 1000 screenshot - click to enlarge SCORE International Baja 1000 screenshot - click to enlarge

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