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==About The Game==
Madagascar Kartz is a racing game developed by Sidhe Interactive in 2009. It is based on DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar. It is the second game in Madagascar's spin-off series.
It is a basic kart racing game in which the players can perform rolls, jumps and flips. Many of the stages are from the scenes of the franchise.
==Price and Availability==
Madagascar Kartz costs around £15 new on Amazon and seems to be easily available online. I am not sure how available it is in high street stores as I haven't looked for it in the shops as of yet.
There are a total of nine playable characters in the game. Seven of these are from Madagascar, these are; Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippopotamus, Melman the Giraffe, The Penguins, The Chimps and King Julien. In addition to these there are two other characters, Shrek from Shrek and B.O.B from Monsters vs. Aliens. Shrek and B.O.B also have their own themed stages as well as the other stages in the game themed on Madagascar.
Each of the characters have their own strengths and weaknesses, for example King Julien is harder to control that Marty for example. Each character also has their own special move that helps them try and win races.
The game has four race types. These are Quick Race, Championship, Time Trial and Checkpoint race.
A Championship race is where the player collects mangoes and tries to finish the races in first place so they can unlock the higher speed classes (50cc, 100cc, 150cc, 200cc), more tracks and also more kartz. The 200cc class is raced in mirror mode which means that the track is reversed, so you start from the end and work your way backwards. This is quite hard as by this point you have got to know the tracks pretty well and now you have to relearn them all over again.
Time Trial races are where players have to beat the best times to try and earn gold, silver and bronze medals.
In Checkpoint Races players collect as many hourglasses as they can before they run out of time.
Personally I did not like this game, I thought that considering it is aimed at children aged 3+ they made it way too hard. Some older gamers may find it an easy game but children may find it hard to get all the way through without help. I got a friend of mine who is really good at racing games to try it out and even he said it was way too hard. Otherwise I'd say give this game a miss, even if you don't find it too hard it's a poor attempt at a Madagascar themed game and doesn't hold a candle to Mario Kart or Sonic and Sega Allstars Racing. If you like these then you may find yourself disappointed with this game. I rent games from LoveFilm so I can try before I buy as it were and this is one of the reasons for that, so I don't waste my money on games like this one.
The grandson and I have enjoyed our games of Mario Kart a lot, so with him being a huge fan of the Madagascar films, and more specifically - the Madagascar penguins - we just had to give this Wii game a go! We got our copy in Tesco for around £12 - £15 which I thought was a good price, and Play.com currently have it for an even cheaper £9.95 - or £14.95 if you want to buy it with a steering wheel included.
To play this game, you don't 'need' a Wii wheel but it is considerably easier to manage to play if you have one! You can get an official one for around £6 from most retailers, including stores like Tesco Extra or large Asda stores even, or you can pick up a cheap import version from your local pound shop usually. It doesn't make any difference to the game play which kind of wheel you buy as they are literally just plastic shells used to hold the wiimote in the correct position to steer with. They don't actually 'do' anything and don't use any electricity or have any buttons on them etc.
Getting started with this game was very simple, and we found it was extremely similar to Mario Kart in how we played the game. The graphics looked very different, but they are quite similar to the kind you see in the Madagascar films and in the Penguins of Madagascar television show, so that's a good thing in our book. We liked that our favourite characters were instantly recognisable, and all had authentic character voices too. Similarly, we liked that we could choose who to play as, and this meant the grandson could race as the penguins! He loved that he didn't have to be just one penguin, he gets a whole jeep full of them!! All the characters have their own vehicles, special tricks and memorable quotes.
Playing the game is fairly easy, and this surprised me as I'd read a few discouraging reviews about the gameplay on other review sites before purchasing this game ourselves. Although it does feel a little fast paced at first, the tracks are fairly easy to navigate, and the wiimote responds well to our movements. The grandson has some hand-eye co-ordination problems and struggles with some video games, but he could manage this. Okay he usually comes last, but he is about on par with your average four year old where computer game skills are concerned, so I don't feel the game is at fault here. The grandson is not discouraged by coming last as the game is a lot of fun to play, and the focus is on the fun graphics, character quotes, animal stunts and visual displays as you whiz around the course - it's not just about winning or losing.
The music is pretty fun and I feel quite uplifted and motivated when I play this. You can expect the usual kinds of jungle music that feature in the films. To add interest, there are bonus items to collect along the way, and if you win enough races, you can also unlock some popular characters from other films - including Shrek. There are more than 20 race tracks so there's lots of variety here, making the game remain fun and appealing for longer. In fact there are still some tracks on here that we've not raced on yet.
Over all this definitely deserves a full five star rating. I haven't found a single fault with it! It's very reasonably priced, especially considering how much other similar games cost, and it's a lot of fun to play. There's a good variety of characters and tracks to choose from, as well as lots of little bonuses to unlock and a great soundtrack. Best of all, the game is fairly easy to play for youngsters while keeping some challenges to hand (eg stunts, bonus items) for older players. I'd recommend this as a family game, ours loves it.