Kart racers are neither the most
elegant nor the most ambitious titles around. The concept is pretty transparent, and
technologically we havent seen much improvement since Mario 64, save mildly improved
graphics. So its somewhat surprising and more than a little bit pleasing that they
are consistently some of the most enjoyable games around.
Theres a simple formula
here that ought to be noted. Whether youre playing Crazy Taxi or Wreckless: The
Yakuza Missions, or Looney Tunes: Space Race, or a multitude of other fantastic games,
there is a quantifiable quality that makes them fun to play. You get to drive really fast,
smack into things, and there isnt really much to worry about. Beyond that, there are
significant differences in how these different games pan out, but that one simple, elegant
concept compels them all.
with many such things, however, its all in the details. Looney Tune: Space Racer has
the details. Most of them anywaymore than enough to make it work, and thats
not always the case. So with a really simple concept thats awfully easy to see, how
can you screw up a kart racer? Consider Mad Dash for a moment. The failure here is
complexity. While a sales person might call this depth, complexity is a much better term.
Complexity is not an inherently negative term. In a lot of senses its actually quite
positive. Kart racers are not meant to be complex. Theyre meant to be fast, easy to
start, easy to finish, with ample opportunities for smack talking.
the point of that rather lengthy diversion was to tell you that Looney Tunes is not an
especially complex game, and thats a good thing. It is, however, a pretty cool game.
Bugs, Daffy, Elmer Willie Coyote, Yosemite Sam, virtually the whole crew is here, nine in
all, and they make splendid characters for a kart racer. The environments, all Looney Tune
inspired, are excellent. Daring jumps, hairpin turns, and endlessly deep holes are some of
the obstacles found in the fourteen different trackstwo more than the Dreamcast
Of course, this really isnt what Space Race is about. The real kicker
here is the gags. While all kart racers have weapons of some sort, the gags in Space Race
are a cut above. (incidentally, gags is far more aesthetically pleasing word, even if the
gags really are weapons). Some Space Racing fool gets uppity, drop a safe on em. Or
a pink elephant. Theyre both really cool, so its a matter of choice really. Or
perhaps you can throw a rain cloud at them and wait for the inevitable lightning bolt. Of
course there really is something especially pleasing about the acme spring powered boxing
glove, though the portable hole is absolutely the most creative, ingenious device to enter
a kart racer. There are plenty more gags to find and use, all of them fun and all of which
help this not only look like a Looney Tunes game but feel like one too. The gags are ample
and make a serious flirt with excessive. Race coinsures will likely find frustration at
the bottom of every acme safeand every other gag for that matter. Space Race is a
lot more like a good old fashioned whipping gauntlet then it is a speed race. Though the
best strategy is to take the fastest racer you can find and go buck naked crazy for a lap
to put a little distance between you and the competition. Assuming, of course, that your
reflexes are up to the task.
Tunes isnt a flawless game. If you played the Dreamcast version, there really
isnt a reason to play this title. Two more tracks are a nice but negligible
additionnot worth the price of admission if youve played it already. Some more
extras, such as more characters, should have been added to the aging Dreamcast port. The
control is good but had room for improvement. The shoulder buttons act as a strafe, which
feels awkward and unnatural, and carries you much too far across the track.
The already enjoyable single player game is aided by the addition of
challengesmore than forty, which add a new challenge to the usual racing routine.
The multiplayer game is excellent as well, and Space Race will find a lot more playtime if
you have a friend or three to play againstand a multitap of course.
Race is still a fantastic game. Though its beginning to age, it still doesnt
have much competition on the PS2. Its worth a purchase if you like kart
gamesespecially if youll make use of the multiplayer aspect. Fans of the
Dreamcast original, however, should dust off the DC and go a few rounds. You wont
find much new and should pass, even on the rental.