* Prices may differ from that shown
I got wacky races crash & dash as a birthday present this year so I couldn't tell you the price which my sister paid for this although it is currently selling in game for £8.98.
When you first insert the game there is a very long introduction with all the licensing details from Eidos (the creators of the game) then it goes into a little cut scene of the cartoon itself which will keep repeating until you touch the screen. Once you have touched the screen you will see four sets of keys, these keys are your save points after you have selected what keys you would like and have touched the pedal with the tick you are taken to the main screen. On the main screen there are 3 categories and as always an option category.
The first category is 'wacky rally' in this category you select which character you would like to play as (you can be any of the characters from wacky races except for dick dastardly) Once you have chosen you will be taken to the select rally menu, when you first start there is only one rally track available, to unlock more tracks you have to try and reach the target points. You get points by completing a rally the higher the position you finish the more points you get. There is three races per rally making it quite easy to earn the required amount of points. The 'wacky rally' category is the most like the hit TV show including Dick Dastardly's evil tricks but unlike Mario kart ds where you use the a, b, x and y buttons you use your stylus which I have found can be quite difficult as you don't get the rear view as you do with Mario kart ds but more of an angled birds eye view.
The second category is 'single race' is much like the 'wacky rally' but you don't unlock any new tracks by trying to reach the target amount of points. You can only the rally's which you have unlocked but you do have the option to chose which track on that rally you would like to play. I find that this option is more of a practice run for the 'wacky rally'
The final category is called 'trap challenge' this category includes a series of mini games. When you choose this option you can play with up to 4 players (you can't do this wirelessly so if you wish to play these against a friend you have to share one ds.) The idea of the mini games is to escape from one of Dick Dastardly's evil plans the more you manage to escape the more rounds you will play. Personally I have only done two rounds but this was because I found them quite boring as they were quite simple for example the dot to dot so I couldn't tell you how many rounds there is in total.
All together I found this game somewhat boring because once you get use to the awkward camera angle it can be quite fun but that soon deteriorates as each race goes on.
This review is for Nintendo DS game, Wacky Races Crash and Dash, developed by Farming Limited and published by Eidos. The game is an action racing game based on the television series.
This racing game is in principle quite wide, there are ten different cars, two different difficulty levels and a range of drivers. There are also three ways of playing the game, playing the main challenge mode "Wacky Rally", you can opt to play just one race, or play the "Trap Challenge" which is a series of mini games.
The control of the game is primarily through the stylus and the touchscreen, to direct your car along its journey. You don't have to do much however in the race though, there's no need to worry about acceleration or direction as it's all automated. This is rather an omission for a racing game, and although the stylus control to direct the car is quite fun in principle, it's more frustrating than anything as you never really feel in control of the car.
Near the end of the race, you always appear to be placed within winning distance, which makes the previous racing a little bit irrelevant. At this point you need to use the microphone to blow into, to go as fast as you can, although you can also use the stylus to draw on the screen as quickly as possible. Much as it's good to see the Nintendo DS's features used, it does seem to be a bit pointless in this instance.
There are a range of mini games which appear throughout the main game as well. These are quite varied, but seem to have very little bearing upon your progress in the game, so they do sit rather uncomfortably.
In terms of the difficulty level, this is probably best for younger children, as it's very easy. Any child, or adult for that matter, who becomes frustrating at losing games would likely take to this, as you are rarely punished for any gaming mistakes. The disadvantage of this is that there is only a limited amount of gaming hours before you finish this game, and little long-term interest so you're unlikely to want to play again.
The graphics in the game are good, with bright animated characters and colours, much like the television cartoon on which this game is based. Some of the graphics aren't very clear, but along with the sound effects and background music, which are good, this all adds to the atmosphere of the game. You may however become a little bit irritated at the rather repetitive commentator in the game.
The game retails for 29.99 pounds, but is currently available on Amazon for just 5.49 pounds. If you are happy with a second hand copy, at the time of writing, these are available for around just two pounds on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The game is rated as 3+, so is suitable for children of nearly all ages.
In summary, this is a poor game although the principles behind the game aren't bad at all. There's not really enough control of the cars to make this much fun, and playing the game is pointless much of the time, as regardless of how well you do, all the cars are allowed to catch up at the end. The graphics and sound in the game are good, but overall, this isn't worth paying much for, unless you pick up a copy very cheaply.
About the Game
Released in 2008 by Eidos, Wacky Races is a racing rally game based on the popular Warner Brothers cartoon show. The game, true to the cartoons theme sees the evil scoundrel Dick Dastardly and his wheezing dog Muttley do their utmost to disrupt and sabotage the races using a series of booby traps and schemes.
On loading the cartridge you are presented with the main menu where you have the options of -
Wacky Rally - This is a series of 3 races where you can compete as one of your eight favourite Wacky Races character. In these races points are awarded to your chosen character based on your race position. The races are littered with power ups and traps that are laid in front of you by Dastardly and Muttley. The player with the most points at the end of the rally is crowned the champion. There are several rallies to compete in, which are available as you succeed in previous races.
Single Race - A quick single race identical in play to the Wacky Rally however this is only a single race and your aim is to gain a place in the top three races, but ideally to win.
Trap challenge - This is a compilation of all of the traps that you will have experienced in the races, put into a continual compilation. The idea is to survive each trap and progress to the next trap, which is slightly more difficult. This Gameplay continues until you lose your life (yes, you only have one!).
Options - From this menu item you can change the games difficulty. The game defaults to normal but can be updated to a far more difficult mode named Crazy. This mode can be unlocked after successful progress in the rallies. Also on the options menu is the option to change the Sound FX and Music volumes. Finally in this menu you can also view a list of the credits detailing the games production team details.
So let's play! On starting a single race you are given the choice of playing as one of eight key characters, these are -
Boulder Mobile - driven by the hairy cavemen the Slag Brothers!
The creepy coupe - A haunted house on wheels driven by the gruesome twosome!
The convert-a-car - The multifunction car driven by the Professor Pat Pending
The Crimson Haybailer - A plane car driven (or flown) by Ted Max
The Compact Pussycat - Driven by the delectable, and my personal favourite Penelope Pitstop
The Army Surplus Special - A tank car driven by Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly
The Bullet Proof Bomb - A stately car driven by the Ant Hill Mob
The Arkansas Chugabug - A hillbilly vehicle driven by Luke and Blubber Bear
The Turbo Terrific - A dragster driven by the rather smug (in my opinion!) Peter Perfect
The Buzzwagon - A logger's vehicle driven by Rufus Ruffcut and his beaver Saw Tooth.
It is advisable to choose your character carefully as they all have their own unique skills and power ups. Each has its own strength weaknesses in areas of Speed, Grip on the road, weight of vehicle and overall strength. The varying power ups either give greater firepower or temporary speed improvement to your vehicle, even flight!
Once you have chose your character the race begins.
In the upper screen of the NDS a map of the track, your position in the race and a progress indicator showing how far your have progressed in the race. This is useful as it prepares you for the race end (which I'll explain later). The lower NDS screen displays a birds eye view of the track shows an aerial view of your car and your competitors cars.
You use the stylus to steer the direction of the car by pointing in the direction that you wish to go. This at first is difficult as all of the other cars are jostling you left and right to gain advantage. As you race a running commentary of the race and the endeavours of your competitors in an identical voice to the original cartoons narration (whether or not it is voiced by the same person I don't know, but it is convincing).
Along the track there are power up icons that can be collected by simply driving your vehicle over them. Once collected, the power ups are displayed on the lower touch screen and are activated by a single tap. The power ups can be extremely useful to gain position in a race, whether it is speed boost, a flying autopilot or bomb (there are many others depending on the character that you are playing). It is worth noting that the CPU controls the other racers in the game and they too have power ups and use them without remorse!
In addition to the jostling and warfare antics of your competitors you also have to escape the traps that are that are layed by Dastardly and Muttley. There are usually a couple of these per race and your object is to escape the trap. If you escape then you continue as you were, if you fail then you lose position in the race. There aren't that many different traps throughout the game, all are pitched against an onscreen stopwatch (approximately ten seconds per trap). A few examples of these traps are -
Volley Bomb - Using the stylus keep dragging bombs out of the path of your car tyre.
Cliffhanger - Use the stylus to draw a path through a ravine for your car to follow without voyaging of the edge and falling to your death.
Wacky Tyres - Use the stylus to keep an air pump on an inflation valve of a tyre as it rotates.
There are several more traps, all of which use the stylus and get progressively harder as you move into new and more challenging rallies.
So once you've navigated the traps, used your power ups and head for the finish line the game takes a wicked twist. To dash to the chequered flag you must blow hard into the microphone and wiggle the stylus across the touch screen at the same time to gain speed.
This part of the game really does take your breath away.
Once you've crossed the line the race is over and your position and score shown. If it's a single race then that's it, however if your racing a rally the second race of the three would then start.
And that's the game really. Rally after rally gets harder, the traps more difficult and the terrain more winding but Gameplay is the same - win the race!
The graphics are colourful and vibrant and recreate the feeling of the original cartoons accurately. The characters look identical to their cartoon counterparts and have been drawn perfectly. The cut scenes and introduction sequences are also excellent. Animation is smooth, with no slowdown or blurring during the faster parts of the game.
Sound and controls
The music, as found in the original cartoons is up-tempo sixties music with lots of swing. If you think of the Austin Powers soundtrack then you're in the right ballpark.
The sound effects are good. Car engines rumble, bombs go bang and in general the whole sound scheme is polished and professional. The race narrator, as mentioned earlier, is indistinguishable from the cartoons voice.
The game is controlled largely by the stylus. The cars direction is steered by pointing the stylus in the direction that the car is required to go and the car follows. Any power ups that have been collected can be activated by tapping their icons on the lower NDS screen, alternatively the A and Y buttons or control pad can be used. The traps that are set by Dick Dastardly and Muttley also make heavy use the stylus.
Each final stretch of a race requires you to blow into the microphone and keep blowing. The greater the ferocity and length of your breath the quicker the car will go. Personally I found this hard to keep a sustained breath blowing that long and usually lost position in a race as a result of this. I did try cheating and moved the console towards my oscillating desk fan once; this did indeed work, but it doesn't really offer a portable solution. Saxophone players or deep sea divers will not have any problem with this stage!
I'm not usually a fan of cartoon endorsed race games; however Wacky Races takes me back to my childhood and you cannot help liking Muttley.
The game itself is structured quite well and runs very smoothly and looks very polished, however there is not a great level of variety in the game and this does spoils it. The limited number of traps and tracks would make repeat playability a little on the dull side.
If you're a fan of the Wacky Races and always wanted to drive as Peter Perfect in a race then this is for you, if not then stick with Mario Kart.
Additional details, Price & Availability
Genre: Racing game
The game was available for £24.98 from www.amazon.com at the time of writing.
Copyright M Jones (Otalgia) 2008