Toy Story Racer
You are the great Buzz Lightyear, seated at the wheel of a powerful remote control car. Your adrenalin is rushing, the monkeys (yes monkeys!) change from red to green and you’re off. Welcome to Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story Racer. Join Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang in this newest addition to the realm of kart racing.
The gloves are off. Choose between the different Toy Story toys and race toward the goal of Sheriff. Race through Andy’s house or around the block. Not enough for you? Then eliminate the next guy by hurling bouncing balls, spinning tops, or rockets at the competition. Want more? Then beat the clock, or chase the next guy till you catch up and smash him right out of the game. Believe it or not, you have to do it all throughout the course of the game. Toy Story Racer definitely leaves you walking away happy.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Toy Story Racer is not a difficult game to figure out. Although it is more basic than your regular racing games, the AI will adjust to the level of the player. In other words, the better you play, the harder it gets. You start off the game by selecting one of four characters: Woody, R.C., Buzz, or Bo Peep. Each has a number of challenges for you to complete. After you complete one of the character’s missions, you go on to the next character and beat those challenges, all the while collecting toy soldier points. The levels are depicted as building blocks and you need a certain number of points to go on to the next level. Hidden in the blocks are other characters that you can unlock and play. There are over 30 courses with over 100 different character missions. Since Toy Story Racer is a kart racing game, do not expect to be wowed with the sense of speed or cars that look like they should be racing in the Indy 500. They just speed around in remote control cars. It is based on the Mario Kart style of play. In one of the challenges, you may have to race around the house four times to win, beating out the other seven racers. Or you may have to eliminate the competition by smashing them with a power-up. Whatever the case, it’s a fun game.
The controls are easy to master, which is always a plus in my book. You have the left and right turns, the X button for gas, and the R-1 button fires the power-ups. Easy enough for even me. The turning takes a little getting used to and I found that it was easier to control the characters using the pad as opposed to the analog controls. To pick up the power-ups, you simply run over them. If you’re like me and like the simpler controls, then this game is right up your alley.
The interface of the game was great. Like I said before, it’s a kart game so speed really isn’t an issue, although it does give you a sense that you are moving right along. While racing on the different tracks, the game changes accordingly. If you are on wet or icy surfaces, you slip and slide. You slow down on the rough terrain and speed up on the solid terrain. There are plenty of different tracks to race on that do not allow boredom to set in while you are playing and there are plenty of things to look at as you drive around the tracks. You get to see the neighbor’s dog as he growls at you speeding by, and there are bushes cut into the shapes of the toy soldiers from the movie. In one of the races you’re in a bowling alley and the floors have that shine that you usually only see in bowling lanes. The use of texture on different surfaces was done well.
This game allows for up to two players to race the games and gives you all thirty of the tracks to race on. One bonus of the two-player mode is the presence of the other racers -- not only do you have to beat your opponent, but you also have to beat the computer at the same time. Even if your friend isn’t a great racer, the AI makes up the difference and bumps up the ability of the other racers. So regardless of your inept friend’s abilities, you will still enjoy this mode.
If you are expecting the type of graphics that were in the Toy Story movies, then you’re going to be let down. The background will make you feel like you are racing in a 3D world and not a drawing. The views of the surroundings change as you alter direction or turn around corners. The overall graphics are not as sharp as I would have liked them to be, but I have also seen worse. The characters themselves are well-rendered, but they too are a little rough and pixilated. There was no lag in the game play, even when action got busy. I don’t know about you, but I never go into these games with as high of an expectation as I would with RPGs and such. But for the type of game that it is, I think it’s done as well as Crash Team Racing or even Mario Kart.
Although I am sure the staff at Activision wanted to go out and grab Tom Hanks to do the voiceover for their game, I am sure it would have taken nothing less than a kidnapping to make that happen. Although Tom Hanks did not do new voiceovers for the game, they used someone who sounds an awful lot like him. As for the other voices in the game, they used sound clips from the movie (Tim Allen, Don Rickles, etc.) and combined them with new phrases and comments from these actors which were incorporated into the game. As for the music, you can expect that circus-style, Peter Pan, I’m-so-happy music that goes along with these style of games. I can’t say that I expected Blink 182 on the soundtrack, but would it have hurt to throw in B.T.O.’s "The Boys Are Back In Town?"
The combination of racing and challenges makes Toy Story Racer a must-have for kart racing fans. With all the different challenges to complete and the different characters to unlock, you will have many fun hours of gameplay. Toy Story Racer delivers. And now if you’ll excuse me, writing this review has given me the hankering to go downstairs and see if I can launch Buzz Lightyear into infinity and beyond!