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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC and Zaurus games

Crazy Kart by int13 production, Price: $15
Reviewed September 2003

Even though there aren’t a lot of racing games for the Pocket PC, it still takes a special game to stand out and grab gamers’ attention. Developed by int13 production, Crazy Kart stands out with its Wallace and Gromit cartoon style, well designed racing courses and game controls that are easy to master. What’s even more special is that not only does the game support both Pocket PC and Zaurus Linux, but also within a week of the game release, there is already another add-on pack that shows off some new cool tracks.

Veteran Bandicoot racers won’t find the dynamite or strategically placed pedestrians along your speedway. What you will find are 12 clean go-kart tracks set in 5 dramatically different backgrounds with a few items to pick up and obstacles to avoid. Instead of the usual car selection, Crazy Kart gives you 4 adorable cartoon characters to choose from, each having different strong points in speed, control, acceleration, etc. and you must race as these characters to find out exactly what their strong points are. The game plays in landscape mode, which can be flipped for lefties, and controlled by the d-pad and hardware buttons. There is an auto acceleration feature, which allows you to only control the d-pad during the game. The AI is well designed so that you won’t take a long time to master the controls, and the various surfaces effect your cart in a very realistic fashion.

Crazy Kart has 12 fantasy tracks. The background graphics are sharp and vibrant, and the tracks have a decent number of obstacles, such as water puddles on a rainy day, black holes on the space tracks, etc. As you pick up the bonus items on the tracks, you can spill oil or shoot rockets at other carts. The style of the cartoon racers and in-between-race title screens will bring smiles to Chicken Run fans’ faces. The frame rates are very good during the race. As you unlock the tracks by winning the races in the Championship mode, you can enjoy a short race in Quick Race or Time Trial mode.

Accompanying the cartoon racers in their go-karts are the equally cartoon-ish music tunes and sound effects. The music fits the mood and you will hear the wheels squealing when they are leaving skid marks on the tracks. Crazy Kart supports both Pocket PC and the Sharp Zaurus models running Linux. It takes about 5MB storage space.

It’s not everyday a cute game like Crazy Kart shows up on PDAs. While the cool looking cartoon racers will attract gamers’ attention, the tracks length seems a bit too short. The three racing modes will satisfy both types of gamers who either have only a few minutes for a quick race or want to go all the way to earn the Championship crown!

Playing Hints and Tips
Try every racer to see the difference in the race. It’s not always a good idea to go for the bonus items, especially when these items are out of your best routes.

screen shot

 

Pocket PC

 

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics The graphics are sharp and stylish. The package is very polished.
Sound The music tracks and sound FX go well with the gameplay, though the game could stand to have more sound FX.
Fun Meter A good number of tracks in various environments are worthy of the tour, even though the track length seems a bit short. It’s great news when the developer releases add-on tracks almost immediately after the game’s release.
Addictivity Not only are there are 4 difficulty levels to toy with, but also each racing character can have his own Championship record. With 12 original race tracks, a new add-on track pack and more tracks and map editor on the horizon, this game has a lot of depth and replay value.


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