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Looney Tunes Space Race

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Infogrames
Developer: EA Games
Media: GD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Well, it must be said that cel-shading is the hot idea right now. And Looney Tunes Space Race pulls it off brilliantly. Even moreso than in the Dreamcast's own Wacky Races, as I played Space Race I felt as if I were in a cartoon. It had to do with the environments as much as the characters and vehicles -- Planet ACME looked just like I imagined it would, and the canyons in the Pyramids of Mars are drawn in the same style that all Looney Tunes canyons are drawn in. The game is drop-dead gorgous, to put it simply, and is just as fun to watch as it is to play. Wait until you see the pink elephant and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Unfortunately, the game starts to chug a little on occasion. I noticed this most often on the first Planet ACME course, which didn't make much sense to me, and it rarely occured anywhere else. Be forewarned, however.

The sound is also excellent, even if it gets on your nerves after a while. All of the characters, from Sylvester to Daffy to Bugs, sound just like they should, and they have little phrases that they say when they pass someone up, blow them up, or get blown up themselves. It works wonderfully, really. However, after long play sessions, I find myself tending to use Wile E. Coyote -- he just uses signs, no speaking, and it's nice to have a quieter race. The music is solid, if not particularly impressive ( Looney Tunes Racing for the PSX sounds more faithful to the cartoon, at least to me), but the sound effects are all there. The sound of a dropping piano/elephant/whatever is priceless, and keys you in to your impending doom.


See, it's not a kart racer. Because they drive rockets. See?

No, I don't see, really, but that's not to say that Looney Tunes Space Race is a bad game. Far from it. It's just not particularly inventive. While I prefer it to Wacky Races, it has less 'stuff' to do. In the end, it's all down to which you personally prefer.

In Space Race, you'll find yourself as one of a handful of Looney Tunes characters, piloting some sort of flying thingie on courses around the galaxy. Each racer handles differently, of course, and you'll have to experiment to find the one that suits you the most. Foghorn Leghorn and Lola Bunny narrate the races, often providing 'witty commentary' (read: mocking statements) when you get your butt kicked. All the while, you're picking up various weapons, er, gags, and using them on your opponents. It's nothing you haven't seen before, but it has a few unique touches on this fun-yet-tired genre.

First of all, very few places on the tracks have rails or walls that keep you on them. The first few play sessions that you have will irritate the hell out of you, as you fall off of both sides of the track constantly. The game only gets harder as it progresses, with some tracks having large sections barely wide enough for one vehicle. It's reminiscent of some of the hairier segments of F-Zero X, and it can be both exhilirating and frustrating.

Secondly, at least in the single-player game, I've never seen a racer where it's so simple to go to the back of the pack, only to shoot forward soon afterwards. You gain super boost power by picking up five batteries, and careful use of it can rocket you past every other racer on the track. Of course, then you have to worry about all the gags hitting you. It's a nice thing, as I can't remember how many kart racing games I've played where once you're out of the loop, you're out permanently. Of course, it can be frustrating as well, as places change right before the finish line.

The gags are pretty standard, although fitting with the Looney Tunes theme. There's lots of heavy objects to drop on people, an extendable punching glove, a Portable Hole, and more. There's an invulnerability item as well, which is nice when you're in first and getting bombarded by all of the other racers.

There are a few oddities. You can get caught on the wrong side of the 'railing', making you slide for miles down the rail at a reduced speed because your racer won't quite fall off but won't quite make it back onto the track. And you 'fall' whenever you go over the rails, whether there's ground there or not. It sometimes looks nonsensical, even for a Looney Tunes game. The tracks go from pretty original to rather droll straight racing back to original near the end of the game, which makes for inconsistent levels of interest. And the unlocking scheme is a little too convoluted for my tastes. But it's all fun in the end.

And don't forget multiplayer. While not as solid as CTR or Speed Punks, it's certainly enjoyable, and a nice way to waste an hour or two. If you own any of the aforementioned racers, though, you'll find yourself soon going back to those more-polished efforts.


While it may seem that this game is for kids, you may want to think twice about buying Space Race for the younger set. The fact that the courses don't keep you on-track and the often crazily-twisting offerings make for a frustrating experience for those not experienced in the ways of kart racing with an analog pad. Once you've got the controls down pat, however, the game is quite simple to handle. Few of the challenges, even the ACME Events, are really that . . . er . . . challenging. Once you learn the courses by doing a Time Trial or two, you'll be ready to race on any of them.

Game Mechanics:

The basic controls are simple enough to use, although, like in Wacky Races , my fingers start to hurt after holding down the right trigger so long for accelerating. The alternate setup isn't as good, though, as it makes acceleration digital instead of analog. All of the vehicles control terribly floatily, although I suppose it's justified, being rocket-powered and flying and all. And, for the most part, the game is glitch-free. I clipped the camera through the walls a few times, and saw a few graphical bugs, but it stayed solid almost constantly. The menus are easy to understand and navigate, if a good bit laggier than I personally like. And there's pink elephants! How can you beat that?

While it's nothing particularly original, Looney Tunes Space Race will satisfy any fan of the kart racing genre. With plenty of tracks, characters, and things to unlock, you'll play this one for a while. It's a solid offering in a crowded genre, though, so you may want to rent it first to make sure it has enough uniqueness to make it worth your time. It's definitely worth a rent or two, though -- its drop-dead looks and often humourous gameplay make for an entertaining night.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Sega Dreamcast Sonic Adventure 2 Sega Dreamcast Spider-Man

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated