Reviewed: January 13, 2007
Released: November 28, 2006
Each and every year a hand full of kart racers are released hoping to capture the success of the Mario Kart series. Many of these imitators try to use the very elements that made this series such a success to begin with. One would think that eventually one of these titles would somehow be as good as if not better than Mario Kart.
Each Mario Kart game improves upon its predecessors. If Mario Kart can continue to change and improve the kart-racing genre, why canít other similar games try something innovative as well? Instead they try to copy every element of the Mario Kart series. By doing this they guarantee that their success will never be greater than the Messiah of kart racing, Mario Kart.
Cartoon Network Racing for the PlayStation 2 is no different. It just happens to be another hopeful kart racing game that is trying to get a piece of the success. Many kart racers fall short of capturing the success that this genre once brought to the gaming world. Some games fall harder than others, and this one falls very, very hard.
Imagine this scenario: You are about to finish a race in first place. You can see the finish line. There is only one person near you and that one person bumps you into an oil slick. Your kart spins out. A rocket hits you from behind. You spin out again. Karts are flying past you by this time. The last kart bumps you into a stationary object. Once again you spin out. Finally you regain full control of your kart. You finally cross the finish line in dead last. Does this sound fun to you? If it does then Cartoon Network Racing for the PlayStation 2 belongs in your gaming library. If not then donít buy this game. Stay away from it!
Cartoon Network Racing for the PlayStation 2 is not what I would call an enjoyable experience. The PS2 version does feel faster, not that this will be the fastest racer that you ever play, and more full of action than the DS version, which would usually result in a better game. Do not let these elements fool you; the PS2 version is flat-out frustrating. If you have any kind of gaming ability, this game will appear easy.
Unfortunately, once you take the first place position your kart will constantly be hit with rocket after rocket after rocket. You will slide over numerous oil spills. Stationary objects are also a pain in the neck, causing you to spin out, sometimes resulting in being completely turned around driving the wrong way. This game penalizes players that have actually played similar games before.
Even if you arenít being completely destroyed by rockets the racing is not fun. The controls are absolutely horrible. You feel like you are driving a Hummer 2 sometimes; although you are only driving a small kart. Even small things like turning can be difficult as walls become very familiar due to the fact that youíll be slamming into them around every corner. Another odd thing about the game are the confusing ďshortcuts - sometimes if you take the path that looks like a shortcut it actually takes longer.
Every gameplay feature is a total rip-off of Mario Kart Double-Dash. There are two players on the kart at all times. The weapons are in small rotating boxes. The weapons are almost identical to the Mario Kart games. Instead of shells you have rockets, instead of mushroom boosts you have star boosts, and instead of banana peelings there are oil slicks.
The only thing that makes this game worth buying is if it is for a fan of the Cartoon Network. This game is packed full of Cartoon Network Characters. There are also a few cartoon episodes to unlock. Beyond that this game has nothing to offer.
I am usually impressed with the cell-shaded graphics of most games. This game is not one of them. There is nothing impressive about the characters, the karts, or even the environments. The one element about this game that I was actually looking forward to was a complete disappointment. Like the DS version the environments are bland, and during racing they look blurry.
From a distance the water looks like a light blue solid, not a liquid. The character design doesnít match the environments either. This may sound odd but the characters are cell-shaded and most of the environments are not. It just seems that the characters do not fit in to these bland environments.
On one hand there is the music, which is somewhat catchy and entertaining, and occasionally the characters will shout out there catchphrases which can be funny. Each track has its own music to match the environment. On the other hand the karts have a constant humming noise which sounds nothing like a real kart engine and will get annoying unless you change the sound settings. Plus, when your kart goes astray, and trust me it will, and hits an object there is an over-exaggerated cartoon-like crashing or bumping sound which isnít exactly what you would expect after slamming into a palm tree.
Donít waste your time or money on this disaster of a game. If you absolutely have to play Cartoon Network Racing, rent it for the DS. The DS version is not a great game by any means but it surely is a lot better than this monstrosity. Iím sure there is a better way for you to spend $30 than to buy this game. My recommendation is just to avoid at all costs.
I was looking forward to playing this game after I had completed the DS version. After all, most games are better on consoles than on handhelds, but I must say that after playing this game that I was completely disappointed. It tries to be exactly like Mario Kart, but it doesnít even come close to that level of enjoyment. This genre does not need any more lame imitators. It needs innovators.