Ive been looking for a good
Dreamcast kart racer for a while now (theyre the only type of game that my wife will
play with me). With all of its processing power I found it odd that there wasnt
anything that could measure up to Mario Kart 64 or Crash Team Racing. Kart racers are a
delicate balancing act. Trying to pull off the right combination of racing and power-ups
is no mean feat. Although Looney Tunes is a little power up happy, it works perfectly with
the Looney Tunes environment. You know that if these guys were racing in one of their
classic cartoons theyd spend more time trying to drop 10-ton weights on one another
than vying for the best lap time. Its is less about being the fastest than being the
most ruthless. Chuck Jones would be proud.
The first thing youll notice
when you start this game is how true the characters look. Infogrames used the same cell
shading technique that was used in Jet Grind Radio, and in some ways it even looks better
here. These Looney Tunes characters belong on the two dimensional plane. The other Looney
Tune games Ive seen have tried to turn Daffy or Bugs into Mario. But bugs and Daffy
are not and will never be Mario (with all due respect to Nintendo). The graphics are not
jaw dropping. Theyre something bettertheyre satisfying.
All of your
favorites are here from Elmer Fudd to Wile E. Coyote. Youll love the detail put into
their expressions and voices (Wile E. remains silent of course, but he does have signs to
let you know how hes feeling). You actually feel like youre in control of a
cartoon. Granted, theres not much of a plot, but then plot was never the strength of
Looney Tunes cartoons. Just look at any of the shorts with Wile E. Coyote and his
Roadrunner fixation or Elmer Fudd and his rabbit obsession. The stories are all the same;
its the environments and gags that change. And if youre looking for a variety
of tracks and jokes, you wont have to look any further.
There are 12 tracks on a variety of planets to race on. Each track is jam-packed with
detail. I particularly liked the slave Martians plugging away in the mines. Being a Space
Race game, you need to be particularly careful about staying on the tracks. Theres
nothing below, which makes some of the jumps all that more daring.
The power ups
are everything that you would hope for in a game like this. Sure, there are your
traditional rockets and bombs, but only in the Looney Tunes universe can you pick up a
remote control and drop pinkelephants on your opponents. The Acmeä
Gags never get old. And although its frustrating to have a piano come crashing down
on you, its also kind of fun. There are also fuel barrels that you collect for your
turbo boost. You need to be extra careful where you use these because the racers
dont handle corners well at high speeds.
As you win races, youre awarded with Acmeä Gold coins
which you can use to unlock a series of events like a portable hole only track, or a
course fraught with falling objects. There are forty of these events, so its not
likely youll be getting bored anytime soon with this game.
The real test of
its replayability is in the multi-player mode and Looney Tunes Space Race does not
disappoint. Theres no real noticeable slow down with the multi-player modes. It
looks great and I couldnt notice any significant loss of detail. This is also one of
those rare games where onlookers will have just as much fun as the players. It really
lends itself well to get togethers. The level design, animation, and gags all work
together to create a uniquely entertaining sporting event that will have onlookers
cheering for their favorite characters with all of the enthusiasm they might show for a
Nascar event. Except there are no falling safes in Nascar.
Its a sad
truth that so many games lack a sense of style or personality regardless of how pretty
they look or how well they play. The Warner Bros. cartoons, however, have never been short
in the personality or style department. Infogrames has done a remarkable job of staying
faithful to a franchise that everyone loves while at the same time creating a game so
addictive that it would stand on its own without Bugs and his crew. Infogrames hasnt
made a game for Looney Tunes fans, its made a game for video game fans.
There has not been
a lot of hype surrounding this game. It arrived on the market without a lot of fanfare and
I feel a sort of gamers obligation to alert the world to the fun that they can have
with this little package. On top of all of thisits cheap! At $29.99 I was
expecting a few corners to be cut in the number of tracks or characters, but everything
you could ask for (and more) is here.
I keep waiting for
signs of the Dreamcast going the way of the world. The first sign is usually erratic third
party release of a substandard quality. If Looney Tunes Space Race is any indication, the
Dreamcasts pulse is still strong and will be with us for awhile yet. If you have
even a passing fancy for kart games you owe it to yourself to buy this game. You will be
hard pressed to find an experience that is more enjoyable. Looking over this review I
cant help but notice that I didnt level one criticism against it. Thats
because I cannot find a single fault in the game. Looney Tunes Space Race is as close to a
flawless game as Ive ever played. If it doesnt deserve our coveted 1st
place medal, I dont know what does. Oh, and my wife likes it too.