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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Atari

 

Developer

Babylon Software

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q2 2003

 

 

- Pick up and play
- A quick racer
- Solid track and kart physics
- Some kart adjustments

 

 

- Pushover AI
- Power-ups just aren’t good enough
- Lack of variety in the track department

 

 

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Furious Karting

Score: 5.9 / 10

 

furious karting xbox review          furious karting xbox review

 

Furious Karting has its heart in the right place but stops short of being a must-play title. If you’re a karting fan you’ll appreciate the solid kart and track physics – of course, Furious Karting (FK) is the only kart racer on the Xbox.

First and foremost, this is the easiest game I’ve played for Xbox. Gaining and maintaining the lead is so easy that the only race I completely blew was due to a sneezing fit. The AI is a pushover even racing against the more “challenging” characters even in Pro and SuperKart circuits. I'm no gaming god, farthest thing from it, so there's really no other explanation as to why I breezed through. (Human opponents are way more challenging, of course.) It doesn’t help that the courses are all relatively short, even in comparison to the classic Mario Kart series. So not

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only will you win easily, but also quickly.

The track layouts aren’t just short, they aren’t as various as you’d expect. There are a handful of environments to race in, with various tracks – marked by arrows and pylons – to conquer. Even so, they must be unlocked by progressing through Scenario mode to make them available during multiplayer races. More variety, more

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fantasy in the locales would have been welcomed.

The Scenario mode actually adds something to the game (and a bit of replayability). You’re recruited to join a group of kart racers and soap opera fare ensues – this is no “save the world” excursion but it does offer some reward for finishing well. And it does give you the basics of controlling your driver and a chance to unlock more powerful karts. Some will gripe about the coaches though. During some races if their instructions aren't followed to the letter, you're screwed.

The control itself is first-rate – even young gamers will have no problems. But even they’ll ask why FK includes the ability to perform flips. Or why the boost power-up fails to actually make you feel like you’re moving faster. Or why there is such a lack of variety with the on-track power-ups.

 

furious karting xbox review         furious karting xbox review


The flips seem to do nothing more than screw you up. Not landing perfectly – and I do mean perfectly – you’ll find yourself bouncing around. Logic dictates that a nitro-boost will speed you up significantly. Not so with those found in FK where the increase in speed is barely noticeable. A real beef is the lack of variety in on-track power-ups. There are a total of six items that can be collected: Nitro, blast (great acceleration), red smoke, oil, flammable glue, and chicken. There’s some creativity with the last two items but with today’s technology and storage capacity six just isn’t enough. (Granted, there are three power levels for these power-ups but it doesn’t seem to make much difference.) In a salute to the classic Road Rash, FK allows you to crack opponents with a bat during the race, making the power-ups even more pointless. Why try to line up an opponent to lob a smoke bomb when you can pull alongside and wail on them?

On the plus side, FK features limited kart modification that actually does affect kart handling. FK also takes into account driver attributes: speed, karma, and fun. (That's right, fun.) But these seem to have less impact on the racing even as they increase over time and as you perform well during races.

Furious Karting has the attitude to be a serious kart game but it just doesn’t have enough – not enough tracks, power-ups, challenge or fun. Hopefully, we’ll see better results with any sequels because the technical groundwork (the kart physics) is already here.

- Omni
(April 26, 2003)

 

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