I know that these are only video
game reviews. The words I write here will not likely endure past a few months of the
release date, but I still feel a need to try to say something interesting or different
when approaching these games. I like to use personal anecdotes to show that I can make
connections between video games and life. I also enjoy making literary references to show
that Im well read. However, with the kart racer genre it feels like every possible
allusion has already been stolen. There have been so many of these games in that last few
years that there is really nothing new to say. Even if the game is pretty goodwhich
this one iswhatever I write is going to sound like every other kart racer review
that has been written. It all boils down to cute characters going around and around the
mini-golf equivalent of race tracks. The strategy is simple: learn the track and use your
power ups well. In the five years since Mario Kart 64, Kart racers are pretty much the
same with only a few variations. This is not necessarily a bad thing if you like kart
racers, but it makes it almost impossible to write about them.
A few weeks ago I reviewed Looney
Tunes Space Race for the Dreamcast and I assumed that when I plunked the Looney Tunes
Racing disc down into my PSone that I would find pretty much the same game. I was wrong.
Looney Tunes Racing is a more traditional kart racer than its Dreamcast counterpart. Which
isnt a bad thing. Its obvious that Infogrames was well aware of those that had
gone before and they have proven to be up to the challenge. Forget Crash, forget Mario,
Elmer Fudd is where its at. That is, if you dont already have a kart racer.
just get something out of the way, Looney Tunes Racing for the PlayStation is probably the
single best kart racer available for the system. Although it is not miles ahead of Crash
Team Racing, it does seem to edge it out because of the unique power-up system and the
addition of gag gates. The tracks are all really well designed. Each one a nice homage to
the classic Chuck Jones shorts of years gone by. As I said in my review of Looney Tunes
Space Race, there is just something about these characters that belongs in the kart racing
genre (I just wish that they had beat Diddy Kong to the punch). Daffy, Bugs and Marvin all
belong in these races. The biggest problem I have in writing this review is that at its
heart it is like every other kart racer and if you already have one for your Psone then
there probably isnt a whole lot of reason to get this. It pains me to write this
because it is such a solid game in its own right.
a few things that set this game apart from the crowd, like the power up system. Rather
than work with a random selection of power ups like most racers do, you can collect tokens
strewn about the track which will level up your attacks. This adds an element of strategy
that we havent seen in previous kart racers. I enjoyed being able to hold off on an
attack until I got the homing pie or the anvil. The track design is really nice as well.
There are over 15 tracks in this game and all of them will remind you of the Looney Tunes
cartoons of your youth. I was also impressed with the level of animation going on in the
backgrounds. There were a few times when I veered off course because I was too distracted
by something in the periphery. Another nice touch is the use of Gag Gates that will
trigger traps like falling rocks, giant prancing sheep, and carrot-like ghosts. Its
one more element of danger to make things interesting. The sound effects are also well
done, but I would have liked a few more voice samples to keep things lively.
racers, you have over fifteen characters to choose from. All of the Looney Tune favorites
are here and a few of the marginal characters as well. There are a lot of characters and
tracks to unlock as you win tournaments. The only thing this game is lacking is a 4-player
option. But since I have difficulty rounding up 3 of my friends at any one time to play a
kart racer, I honestly dont even notice its absence while playing. It does, however,
make the battle mode a little stale going up against just one person.
If youre looking for a sense of narrative in your racer there is an adventure
section of the game that has you racing for rare Acme artifacts. Its not the most
enthralling story, but its a nice change of pace. Looney Tunes Racing has everything
that you could be looking for in a kart game, and if it had come out before CTR it would
be making a much bigger splash in the industry.
I am so happy that there was no such thing as Pokemon when I was growing up. It was
Looney Tunes all the way (supplemented by the original Transformers and GI Joe) and I feel
that I am a better person for it. Infogrames has given us Warner Bros. aficionados a way
to return to our youth. This is a great game, but in the end, its just another kart
racer. There hasnt been a second Mario Kart for the N64 because theres no need
for it. The game does what it needs to do and it still sells well. If you have Crash Team
Racing this game wont feel new or revolutionary, but if youre looking for a
kart racer for the PSone or PS2, you wont go wrong with this. It does everything it
should better than it needs to.