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Review: Wacky Races - Nintendo DS

by Steven Williamson on 25 July 2008, 10:07

Tags: Wacky Races, Eidos (TYO:9684), DS, Wii, Racing

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Crazy vehicles, crazy characters

In Wacky Races: Crash & Dash, you don’t actually race the vehicles. Instead, you guide them around the track with the stylus. Simple for kids, maybe, but because the tracks are so narrow and the camera angle moves from a side view to a top-down approach quite frequently, it’s pretty difficult to prevent yourself from crashing into things or avoiding the likes of the The Slag Brothers, especially when they change their Bouldermobile into a rolling rock of destruction.

As you guide your vehicle around the track, most of which seem identical in design to the last, you can scoop up power-ups and then activate them using the d-pad. Amongst the power-ups on offer are speed boosts, which are different for each vehicle, for example, a dragon lifts up the The Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe to give them a boost, but the Crimson Haybailer will extend its mechanical legs and simply drive over opponents. There are also power-ups that mimic those used in the show, allowing you to smack other racers out of the way with the wooden clubs of the Slag Brothers or using the propeller of Red Max’Crimson Haybailer to slice opponents out the way.

It does sound like quite good fun, and it is for a while, but the array of crazy vehicles and their special powers just aren’t used as well as they could have been. The vehicles’ powers all look different on screen, but they mostly all have the same effect on the gameplay, either boosting or bumping others off the track. Furthermore, because you’re only using the stylus to control them, all of the vehicles handle exactly the same.

Still, it’s not all about racing and there are also two mini-games that you have to take part in during each race, both of which are introduced by a cut-scene showing Dastardly and Muttley setting up a devious trap, such as planting dynamite or removing screws from a bridge.

During the mini-game stages, you need use your stylus to participate in some very simple tasks, such as rotating it to tighten bolts or hovering it over a certain point in order to pump up a tyre. There’s even a painstakingly simple dot-to-dot puzzle that requires you to connect six points as fast as possible.

As well as being simple, even too simple for kids, the mini-games also repeat themselves frequently. I’d guess that someone in the development studio simply ran out of ideas.

Continued overleaf