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Playstation 2






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E (Everyone)



Q1 2006



- Identifiable Cartoon Network characters



- Terrible, terrible physics

- Equally terrible map design

- Just is not fun to play








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Cartoon Network Racing

Score: 3.0 / 10


Ever since the first kart racer came out (Iím sure you all know which one Iím referencing) there have been a deluge of titles that have tried to pick up that formula and drive away with it. There have been some that have achieved a modicum of success but we all know who the grand king of kart racing is Ė and it ainít Cartoon Network Racing.


cartoon network racing            cartoon network racing


Basically what we have here is a lot of the staples of kart racing; cute characters, fun vehicles, power-ups and pick-ups, and even special attacks. These are the things that every Kart Racing game has, more or less. In that regard, I think they were hoping that the identifiable cartoon characters Ė Johnny Bravo, Dexter, the Powerpuff Girls, and a host of others Ė would be the reason that folks (probably children) pick this title up instead of the myriad of other kart racers out there. Donít be fooled. This would be a poor move.


What really makes a racing game, not just kart racers but all racing games, are the driving physics. And that is really what ruins Cartoon Network Racing before




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you even finish your first map. I picked out a kart and a driver, chose a map, and was ready to have some of the frantic fun that kart racing is usually good for. Only it never happened. It felt like my kart was moving at about four miles per hour, and, oh yeah Ė for some reason it was steering like an airplane. I thought it was probably just the 


kart Iíd picked that caused the steering and speed problems. Iíd chosen a lemon. No problem, right? So on the next map I picked something else Ė I went for a light kart and a light driver. It had no effect, though. The kartís center of gravity seemed way off, the steering remained so cumbersome as to be nearly impossible to get a grasp of, and the physics were floaty and frankly just bad.


These problems are compounded by the fact that you can get stuck on almost anything in this game. The walls, other drivers, random map elements, pretty much anything thatís on the screen you can, and will, get stuck on.


Take all of the above and throw in one more particularly irksome element; dire map design. Seriously, itís terrible. There are turns that you will flip on every single time you go around them, simply because the messed up driving physics wonít allow you to turn fast enough not to flip. I mean, no matter what kart youíre in, who the driver is, how you take the turn, you are going to flip. All you can really do is try to mitigate the damage by learning how to recover as fast as possible. Now, granted Ė there are lots of tracks. But theyíre all terrible. Calling the abundance of tracks in this game a good thing is comparable to saying youíd rather be punched in the stomach a dozen times rather than once. More isnít always better.


cartoon network racing          cartoon network racing


One thing that I can give it partial-credit for is the pick-ups. The majority are standard stuff, which isnít terribly objectionable. One or two have neat quirks though that, if the physics werenít so terrible, might have actually been fun to use. For example, the bomb (think a big, black cartoon style bomb with a fuse sticking out) behave more or less like the green shells in any Mario Kart game. Except that once launched you can tap the fire button again to force it to explode. That way you can turn what would have been a near-hit into an actual strike. It would have been fun if the mechanics it relied on werenít totally, utterly, broken.


As Iíve said a dozen times over (in other reviews), I donít like cell-shading. However, in this case it does kind of work. These are cartoon characters weíre talking about and the cell-shading is an effective way of making them look how they should look. Thereís no real life to it, no eye-catching elements, but it illustrates the characters well, so I can deal with it.


The low score on this game goes back to the very basics. There are neat things here. Unfortunately, the mechanics that all of the neat things are based on are such complete garbage that the game itself is virtually unplayable. Donít quote me on this, but putting this game in your system may actually make all of your other games less fun. There is simply not an ounce of joy in this product, and I canít recommend it to anyone, at all, ever.


- D.T. Mathers

(March 29, 2007)


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