Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Konami Krazy Racers

"Mario Kart Clone" is a term used far too often. Calling games clones certainly spreads out of the kart-racing genre, but it seems to be especially prevalent in the realm of mascot characters slamming one another into lava. Many games are undeserving of such a title though. I fail to see the problem with simply being inspired by another game. Granted, some are clones and this game happens to be one of them. Here is a thought though: Would it be crazy to say Konami Krazy Racers is actually better than Mario Kart Super Circuit, its obvious competition?

Konami Krazy Racers is exactly what you would expect it to be. The best characters of Konami's history decide it is time to burn some rubber. Krazy Racers' roster of characters is not large but it is satisfying. Characters from series like Metal Gear, Goemon, and more are playable as soon as you turn on the game. There are a few unlockable characters as well. Like Mario Kart on the GBA, Krazy Racers uses a pseudo-3D perspective while you're racing and it works very well. Render distance and overall cleanness of character sprites are not as good as Mario Kart but scenes past the horizon are very nice looking and stay true to the game they are representing. The gameplay itself also feels very familiar and that is a good thing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it right? In reality, this game is basically just Mario Kart with Konami characters. There are so many similarities between the two games it is kind of ridiculous.

So, if you like Mario Kart you will like this game right? Well, not necessarily, but yes for most people. There are enough subtle differences between the two games for the average gamer to tell them apart. Most notable is the intense difficulty of Krazy Racers. Not only does the computer put up quite the fight, but there are also a ton of hazards on each course. Whether it be being pelted by baseballs or melted by fireballs there are plenty of times you will have to dodge objects hurdling towards you. A very nice feature was that your kart handles poorly in snow and on ice, so poorly that you may even rage quit once or twice. Krazy Racers is much harder than Mario Kart and it is proud of it. The game never lets up and will never allow you to get too far ahead. Harder difficulty means more intense races. Keep in mind I played on normal difficulty. Even though each of the four cups gets progressively harder you can also choose to play on easy, normal, or hard. Winning all four gold cups on normal difficulty took me around four hours. Nothing to marvel at, but certainly not bad for a kart racer that offers difficulty settings, unlockable characters, and mini-games.

Along with a much needed challenge Krazy Racers has automatic drifting. This can take a while to get used to especially after playing newer games like Mario Kart 7 and drift-boosting the entire race, but turning is very solid and forgiving. You almost never need to slow down at a turn and when you do it is only for a second. Be careful with your turns though because if you even slightly bump a wall you lose all acceleration and that can be brutal. Acceleration feels very natural and it will take a while to reach max speed. With plenty of speed boosts on each course though as well as items the game is super fast and engaging. There is a large selection of items but it is all standard fare. Homing rockets will cripple the racer in front of you and lightning stuns all racers but you for a short time. Of course nitro is available as well. One particularly interesting item/power-up was one that turns all racers into pigs. I literally laughed out loud when I first saw it in action and it greatly adds to the charm of this game.

With 16 courses in total, 12 of them needing to be unlocked, there is plenty of racing to be done in this super fun kart-racer. If the awesome gameplay is not enough to reel you in, the music is incredible, in fact it is some of the best on the GBA. Yes, that is a bold yet true statement. When you hear the remixed Metal Gear theme you will have an orgasm in your ear. If you ever get tired of endlessly racing  against the computer why not race against yourself for the best time in the trial mode? There is also a tag inspired mini-game and one that requires you to hit the breaks right before falling off the edge of the course resulting in the one closest to edge being victorious. These mini-games are fun excuses to stop playing the main game but they will not keep you hooked. You can also endure especially enduring time trials and races to increase the rank of your license which will make more content available to you.

Please do not hate me for saying this, but the fact of the matter is Konami Krazy Racers is not just a better game than Mario Kart Super Circuit, it is a lot better. This is one of the few games I have ever reviewed that was simply hard to critique. Pointing out almost any flaws with this game would be nit-picking. I would only not recommend it if you for some reason hate Konami with a burning passion. Otherwise there is absolutely no excuse for this game to not be in your collection.

Released: 6/11/2001
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami


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