"Here in my car, I feel safest of all, I can lock all my doors, and that's the only way in... in cars!" Wasn't that an awesome song by Gary Numan, and then magnificently re-done by "Fear Factory"? This will be the feeling tingling down your spine as you are sitting down on your chair, with the Blue Thunder Steering Wheel being held beneath your legs or attached to your table top. Getting a grip at the Blue Thunder Racing Wheel is a lot like sitting inside a vehicle, the wheel is designed incredibly well, it features rubber outlining to keep hands from slipping, that is an incredibly nice touch for the wheel, and the steering wheel gets some big points for that.
A lot like Interact's V3 Steering Wheel, which by the way I liked a lot, the Blue Thunder also allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the wheel by using the SET button and pressing one of the directional buttons. The Blue Thunder lets you do a lot things with it, you can re-map every single action button and directional button to another place, reset the buttons by pressing the button you want to be rested twice, while the SET button is blinking. Now why don't we get to the evaluation tests? I first tried to play Blue Thunder with Midnight Club: Street Racing, and I was pleasantly surprised with the performance, the cars handled themselves ideally to the movements I was making on the steering wheel, and the rumble vibrations were extremely good. Basically a great wheel to play with Midnight Club, as well Smuggler's Run I may add.
Gran Turismo 2 on the other hand didn't do so well, I found my self playing in the digital mode with GT2, so in general this was a flop, and for you GT fans out there don't bother with this wheel, the V3FX might be a better choice for you, since its PSOne brother was extremely playable with both GT games. On the other hand, the Blue Thunder was incredibly good when it came down to Driving Emotion Type-S, which I still say is an excellent racing game, the response was all there, thanks to Type-S' sensitivity options I was able to get the most out of the wheel when playing Driving Emotion, and the vibration effect was great as well. If GT2 is any indication of how the Blue Thunder will work on GT3, then chances are you won't want it, but if you love games like Midnight Club, Smuggler's Run, Need for Speed, and Driving Emotion, then this baby is it!
The Blue Thunder is an amazingly good wheel, it got a detachable foot rest on the pedals, a gear shift on the wheel, the ability to either set the wheel on your table or on your lap, and re-mapping buttons to your liking. But Blue Thunder would have gotten even more praise from me if the wheel it self was a bit lighter when it came down to turning it, the handling is a bit stiff when compared to other wheels, including the Logic 3 Steering Wheel. Other than that one negative, the Blue Thunder is a grand wheel, that comes with a grand sticker of $60, whether or not you are willing to spend that much on a wheel is up to you, but if you enjoy racing games to the fullest you will spend your cash on this wonderful wheel, next time though I hope the stiffness factor is lightened up.
2/12/2001 Arnold Katayev