Wacky Races

a game by Eden Entertainment Software, and Atlus

Platforms: DreamcastSega GenesisGenesisNESNES

Genres: Racing, Platformer, Multiplayer/Hotseat

Those Hanna-Barbera-ians of questionable character, Dick Dastardly and his sidekick Mutley, have been competing in the international Wacky Races forever, and they've never won. In fact, they rarely finish a race.

Nothing's changed in this NES game. As usual, everything's gone wrong and poor old Mutley's must save DD from disaster.

A Toothy Grin

Wacky Races by Atlus sends the swift, easy-to-maneuver Mutley on foot through three multi-part courses: Hip Hop, Splish Splash, and Go Go America. As he pads along, Mutley clashes with a variety of unsavory creatures. What's a poor doggie to do? Flash those pearly whites and start chompin'. However, Mutley needs some back up, which is why he's hidden Bones throughout each course.

When Mutley sinks his teeth into a Bone, he beefs up his energy level and gains super canine powers, such as his dreaded Sonic Bark which blasts enemies right off the screen. Other tasty power-ups include a pair of Wings and a supply of Bombs. This wouldn't be a wacky race without the motley crew of wacky racers, which include the Bouldermobile, the Creepy Coup, the Compact Pussy Cat, and the Arkansas Chugga Bug. At the end of each course, one of the Racers attempts to turn Mutley into road-pizza.

ProTip: To preserve energy while you build up your heart meter, collect as many Bones as you can get your paws on. Weapons enable you to attack from a safer distance.

Hot Doggie

Mutley's NES adventure is as entertaining as the cartoon and has a challenge level suitable for middle-of-the-road gamers. Mutley deserves a break. You won't go wrong doing this doggie a good deed.

Bounce off whale's head to reach the upper most platform in the third part of World B. If you take the lower route, Mutley's forced to make an impossibly long jump.

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Wacky Races Downloads

Wacky Races download

This video game, that is called Chiki Chiki Machine Mou Race in Japan, was an Atlus platformer for the Nintendo Entertainment System. A Game Boy Color/ Dreamcast/ PlayStation game of the same name that came out in 2000. But it was published by Infogrames, and was a racing game.

Wacky Races is based on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, starring Dick Dastardly and Muttley. For those, who remember the cartoon, this may a blast from the past. The player can choose from all the your favorite characters, including Penelope Pitstop, Peter Perfect, Dick Dastardly, Muttley, winding his/her way through cartoon, like environments in the well-known vehicles of each character. All you need is to get to the end of the race first in order to open up new tracks. And use weapons to pick off the rest of the cast and also aid your progress.

reggie posted a review

Overview

And now, here they are: the most daredevil group of daffy drivers ever to roll their wheels in "Wacky Races". You fans of "Wacky Races" already know the kind of mayhem you can expect on the track. Those of you who don’t know the show can expect to see some crazy looking cars and drivers who deploy all kinds of devices and trickery in an effort to win. Get behind the wheel with the likes of Penelope Pitstop, The Slag Brothers, The Ant Hill Mob, Peter Perfect, Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth, and all the rest! Do you have what it takes to be the world’s wackiest racer?

Gameplay

The quickest way to explain this game is to simply say it’s a Go-Kart style racing game such as Mario Kart. Don’t, however, think this game is the same as Mario Kart, as it isn’t (not to mention Sega would probably bite my head off if I said it was).

Wacky Races includes all of the characters from the cartoon series. You can choose to race with eight of the 11 vehicles at the outset (the three that are not available are Dick Dastardly, The Red Max, and Professor Pat Pending). I was a bit disappointed by this as I always was partial to Pat Pending and his Convert-A-Car. I believe that these three vehicles/characters can be unlocked at some point in the game based on some things in the game and some information I read in both the manual and on the Internet. I’m not 100% sure of this, though, as nothing actually comes right out and says it and I have yet to unlock them.

There are three major modes of races available that can occur on 22 different tracks: The Wacky Championship, Time Trials, and Multiplayer. Within the Championship there are many challenges that await you. Most are not available when you start and require you beating the initial challenges (which wins you gold stars or trial wrenches) before the new ones will be unlocked. These challenges include the Track Challenge (three laps around the various courses and you must come in first place), the Wacky Cup Challenge (same as the Track Challenge, but in a Grand Prix style where you must race and beat all the tracks at that location in one sitting), the Golden Muttley Challenge (same as the Track Challenge, but you must also find and pick up 10 golden Muttley statues hidden around the track to win), and the Battle Challenge (just think of a destruction derby and you’ll get the idea -- the last one standing wins). After enough gold stars are won, you then have some "boss" style characters that will present a more difficult challenge for you. Upon beating them, you will receive a new special ability for your vehicle.

Abilities in this game are the various weapons, shields, and other goodies that are available for use against your opponents or to get you ahead in the race. Each car has three available at the beginning of the game and up to three more can be earned for each vehicle. By the time all of them are earned, all of the cars have pretty much the same abilities as all the others. The abilities in general are a speed-up, shield, forward projectile (like Rufus Ruffcut’s Eject-a-log), rear weapon (like Sergeant Blast’s Rubber Mines), and some sort of temporary flight (such as the Dragon in the Creepy Coupe). These abilities really make each vehicle very unique and each one requires a different strategy to really get the hang of it.

While the controls are actually the same for each vehicle, they do handle very differently. For instance, Peter Perfect’s Turbo Terrific is probably the fastest car in the lot, but it has no traction making it difficult to take turns. Penelope Pitstop’s Compact Pussycat handles like a dream, but doesn’t have the top speed of some other cars. Some vehicles have slower acceleration and a faster top speed, like the Army Surplus Special. I think you get the idea -- they all handle differently. If you don’t like how a vehicle handles, you can go back and change it. There are two types of control: Kart (for beginners or casual players) and Advanced (for you hard-core types). The two analog triggers handle the throttle -- left being brake/reverse, right being acceleration. The ‘A’ button allows you to slide around corners (or handbrake in Advanced mode), and the ‘X’, ‘Y’, and ‘B’ buttons are used for the abilities during a race (yes, you can only take three types per race with you). That’s it for the controls. They are pretty simple and react very nicely even though the particular car you’re driving can be sluggish.

The interface is a combination of menus and driving around a central "hub" to the various race locations. There are signposts located in the central area. When you run into one, it will bring up a menu for what you can do there. This central hub is a good area to also just practice driving and/or seeing how your vehicle handles. The normal difficulty for the game is just that -- normal. It’s not too hard, not too easy. There is also an easy and hard level. When you finish a "boss" challenge, you will feel a sense of accomplishment as well as when you finish the Golden Muttley Challenges. The challenges are set up in such a way that they get more difficult as you continue to unlock them. Once you beat a particular challenge, you can always go back and play them again and try to beat your best time.

Graphics

Is it possible that a game about a cartoon show can actually look better than the cartoon show itself? In this case, yes. Imagine watching "Wacky Races" but in brighter colors and with a bit more definition to the characters and vehicles and you now know what to expect when looking at this game. It looks absolutely wonderful in every aspect. I have to admit that I actually had a hard time determining if the opening sequence was a hand-drawn cartoon or a computer generated graphic.

In the options menu, there are options for removing the heavy black lines around all the art (as cartoons normally do) and also to put the game in a wide-screen mode (which will look a bit smaller but you can see more at once).

Audio

Much like the graphics, take the sounds from the original cartoon, spice ‘em up a bit and make them clearer as well as adding in some nice cartoony sound effects and you’ve got your audio. Now go hook up a nice stereo for the full effect. There are also frequent comments from the racers as well as the announcer, all of which sound like the originals to me (but I haven’t seen the show itself in a while). At any rate, I felt they did a good job on re-creating the voices if they weren’t the originals.

Documentation

If you can’t figure it out, check the docs -- they tell you what you need to know in a (more or less) clear and concise manner. There are blurbs on each of the Wacky Racers too for those of you that want to brush up on your knowledge or those of you that don’t know the racers at all. The docs do not tell you EVERYTHING about the game, though. To see what the different abilities do, you’ll need to check the center signpost in the game. Likewise it tells you secrets exist, but not where they are. Otherwise they wouldn’t be secrets, now would they?

Bottom Line

I’m very impressed with this game. Its great controls, bright, crisp graphics and sound, and variety of racing styles, challenges, and vehicles, will keep you entertained for many hours and probably weeks. I simply had a hard time pulling myself away from the TV (whaddya mean it’s time for bed, I just started, um, oh, four hours ago...). This game is even fun to just watch someone else play if you aren’t in the mood. Connect up to four controllers and get some people together for a Wacky Race of your own. If you like the "Wacky Races" cartoon, you need this game. If you’ve never even heard of "Wacky Races," but like go-kart style games or racing games in general, you’re sure to enjoy this game which is why I’m happy to give it a score of 91.

reggie posted a review
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