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Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour

Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Racing

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour are quite beautiful, but they also tend to be sparse. What’s there is gorgeous and well-rendered; a look at the dinosaurs or at Tomorrowland is all you need to realize that. But the tracks feel like they’re plonked down in the middle of nowhere, with a bit of set dressing tossed on to make it fit a theme. It works sometimes, but it just as often falls flat on its face. When the game shines, though, it shines very, very nicely.

The tracks have different modes of transportation, so the game is not technically a ‘kart racer.’ But since it uses the same handling style and such in all cases, they may as well just be karts with pretty covers on them. That’s not too bothersome. What’s going to get you is the fact that of the vast myriad of Disney characters in existence, you get to play with... three; and only two of them from the start (Chip and Dale). Now, mind you, I was a huge fan of Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers in my youth, but I really wanted to see a little more Walt Disney Magic in this Magical Racing Tour. Yes, the full motion video is stunning, with Jiminy Cricket looking disturbingly lifelike, but I want my favorite characters! If not Mickey, then at least Goofy and Donald and his nephews and... ugh.

The music in Walt Disney World Quest is straight from the Disney archives, and it shows. You’ll hear ‘It’s a Small World’ and other classic Disney favorites, all reproduced in rather good style. Unfortunately, the music rarely seems to be the pumping driving-game type. Racing games is the one genre where I actually don’t mind generic pumping techno tracks -- they help get my blood flowing. Of course, this game isn’t necessarily tailored for me. Perhaps the younger mindset would enjoy it more, neh?


I can almost assure you that they won’t enjoy the game’s rampant difficulty, however. I won’t rant too much about it here, but this is the only game other than Super Magnetic Neo that’s ever made me want to throw my controller down in frustration. Well, a lot of bad old NES games did as well, but that was because they were made on shoestring budgets with crappy controls. Modern games don’t have this excuse.

But enough about that for the moment. Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour is about racing on various themed tracks, recovering parts of a Magic Machine that Chip and Dale accidentally blew up. The plot makes no sense, but kart racers have never been known for epic storylines that touch the heart and lighten the soul. They’re known for mad racing action.

And MRT provides mad racing action. A little too mad, in fact. You’ve got your standard bevy of weapons, which often take the form of things like acorns and teacups. You’ll be tooling around tracks set in various theme parks, racing against five others for three laps. The tracks range from the rather mundane to the exotic, and the other racers are hot on your tail. Or, more often, way past you. You can pick up coins to speed you up, a la Mario Kart 64 and Crash Team Racing, and there are other things on the track that open up shortcuts or complete bonus objectives. But the core of the game is racing.


And here’s the problem. The racing in Walt Disney World Quest is hard. It took me five or six tries before I could get first in the game, and as the tracks progressed, some turned out to be rather easier whereas others had me playing them again and again. This wouldn’t be so bad -- Wacky Races was fiendishly difficult the first few times you tried a track -- but MRT just feels like it’s doing everything in its power to keep you from winning. When you get hit by a weapon by the A.I., you tend to drop back to sixth place and never manage to catch back up. The A.I. races like a complete maniac, zooming past you when they had no seeming way to do so. And they make use of practically every shortcut in the book, which means that the first few times around a track you should tail two or three of them to see where they go and what they skip. If you simply race the tracks as-is, you’re going to lose, hard. Only by using the same shortcuts as them, racing flat-out, and having a little luck will you win the various races.

Game Mechanics:

Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour’s mechanics are generally solid, with a few strange glitches. I had some really weird stuff happen in mid-air when I tried to turn, like the vehicle making massive angle adjustments when I tapped the controller. This threw me off for a bit, then disappeared, then resurfaced later. You have the powerslide-boost that’s become so popular in kart racers; you can jump, and you can fire weapons. All of the basic components that make up a kart racer are present in Magical Racing Tour.

The problem is that it’s just not all that fun. The target audience would become intensely frustrated at the first track or two -- my nephew played the game for more than a half-hour and couldn’t beat the first track, and he’s no wimp when it comes to video games -- and those of us who are capable of playing it have better games available. Wacky Races for the Dreamcast suffers from a few of the same problems, yet manages to be decidedly enjoyable once you get over its quirks. Walt Disney World Quest, on the other hand, just manages to eke out a rather standard experience. I live and breathe kart racers, and I’m not going to spend too much time ever again on Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour. Chances are you won’t either.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Sega Dreamcast Tokyo Xtreme Racer Sega Dreamcast Wacky Races

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated