Developer: Melbourne House
# of Players: 1-4
N Amer - 05/22/2002
- Also available on:
Looney Tunes Space Race Review
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a wildly frenetic no-holds-barred race of the century is taking place in outer space . . . and the pilots are none other than Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck? Well, it is if you’re playing Space Race, a racing game with a humorous Looney Tunes twist.
The controls are fairly simple to learn and gamers will be racing without trouble in no time. By keeping the controls simple (the default settings are set up nicely, but gamers can always change them to their liking), the game’s emphasis is on winning the race and using the means available to achieve this goal.
Helping each character on the racetrack are ACME crates scattered throughout the course, each with its own surprise. The surprises consist of items you can use against the other racer--known as gags here--and each one has a typical Looney Tunes effect. One gag has a safe fall on an opponent’s head (or even an elephant) while other gags--such as the portable hole--can be used to create a real road hazard. And who can forget the boxing glove attached to an extra lengthy spring?
There are five playing modes in Space Race, all with their own racing styles. Tournament is the main mode where racers go for the Cup while Race is a single race mode to win ACME tokens (used to purchase new victory animations or even new gags). Time-Trail is more of a practice mode (and recommended for first-timers) while Acme Events offer up a couple of races where the rules have changed. More race worlds and racers can be unlocked through the Tournament mode.
Gamers start with six racers--Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam and Wile E. Coyote. Each character pilots their own unique racing vehicle that somewhat varies in speed and maneuvering capabilities. Yosemite Sam, for example, rides an “Easy Rider”-type chopper that is not as fast as Wile E. Coyote’s ACME rocket but it sure handles better around curves than the rocket.
The game is also quite good to look at with its seamless animation sequences that unfortunately don’t play throughout the game. Still Daffy Duck and the rest of the gang aren’t badly rendered at all--especially during Replay--and the impact of a specific gag (like lightening striking a character into black ash) has it’s own visually comic effect. And although just a few backgrounds aren’t as lushly rendered as some of the others, gamers won’t complain at all considering the full-motion details of each planet.
No Looney Tunes game is complete without its wacky sound effects and Space Race is filled with them. There’s also a musical score that plays throughout the race and every planet has it’s own soundtrack--all of which is done quite nicely. However, it’s the voice talent that wins big points here. Racers crack wise and spout insults in the manner you would expect them too (for example, Yosemite Sam cries out “Darn varmint!”) . . . although at times it does grow repetitive. Meanwhile, Leghorn Foghorn and Lola Bunny occasionally butt in with quick observations.
This is the kind of game that should also be played with a group of friends and luckily Space Race includes multiplayer fun for four players at the same time (using the Multitap, of course). Unlocked features obtained through playing Tournament mode or ACME products purchased with ACME tokens can be used in this mode and there are several options that can be activated to enhance the game. If you’re playing against a single friend, the game’s split-screen can be changed from horizontal to vertical through the Options menu.
Space Race is a blast for those gamers--young and older--who like their racing games with a good sense of humor and plenty of tricks. With plenty of surprises, neat graphics and all of your favorite Looney Tunes characters, this title has everything for everyone.
#Reviewer's Scoring Details
Keeping in mind that the gamers will most likely be children, the controls in Space Race have been set up nicely and are not difficult at all to figure out. This gives plenty of room to concentrate on the racing at hand and how to use a gag (ACME bomb, anyone?) to your advantage. Each racer’s vehicle has its own strengths and weaknesses and they all pretty much react differently to boosts, however this difference isn’t a dramatic one.
There are five playing modes--Tournament, Race, Time-Trail, Multiplayer and Acme Events--and most of these modes have different ways of playing the game. I recommend, when playing this game for the first time, to begin with Timed-Trail mode to get a feel for the controls so your racer wouldn’t end up racing off the track (and this does happen quite a lot when you first start out).
Not surprisingly, the game’s animation is really quite stellar. From the opening introductory sequence, gamers can already get the sense that this game will actually be quite good-looking. The racers, such as Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck do look good out there--although not crisply as sharp as the victory animation or the Replay--but they’re not bad at all either.
My only complaint, and this is actually quite minor, is that some of the backgrounds aren’t as magnificent as the North Pole Star, for example. However, there are plenty of eye-catching visual details such as miners hard at work or passing hover-ships.
Aside from looking like a cartoon, Space Race compliments the visuals with a healthy dose of excellent cartoon-quality sound effects and voice acting. During the race, all the racers stay in character at all times. Porky Pig stutters his trash talk while Yosemite Sam’s comical gravelly voice spouts out his insults. All of this is also monitored by Foghorn Leghorn and Lola Bunny’s television-styled running commentary.
However, the most appreciated aspect of the sound is the language selection option in the beginning of the game. Although the game only offers three languages--Spanish, English and French--this gesture is really thoughtful and I am sure the Spanish and French-only speaking crowd will definitely appreciate it. And although my Spanish and French are just a tad rusty, the voice acting in both languages is top-notch. Bravo!
While the game’s difficulty level is set on normal by default, those gamers looking for a challenge can change the settings to Hard in the Game Options menu. The game isn’t really that difficult to master, really, although some might find that winning the race the further you go in Tournament mode becomes less easy. It’s good to see a game that can be modified to meet the comfort level of a game’s difficulty settings.
Although several games using favorite animated characters have been done before, this title has taken the racing formula and spiced it up with trademark Looney Tunes mischief such as dropping a piano on somebody’s head. And there are several different playing modes to keep the game from becoming repetitive.
While there is no actual story, the name of the game is racing and winning as many as you can leads up to the Grand Prize--as well as earning gamers many ACME tokens to be used to purchase new animations, gags and many other goodies. The game is also filled with plenty of things to unlock such as hidden racers and racetracks.
Using the Multitap, up to four friends can join in the comic mayhem and race one another at the same time in the multiplayer mode. It is always fun going up against a couple of friends, especially since the game requires you to use any means necessary (and by that I mean using the gags) to win. And the icing on the cake is that anything opened during Tournament mode will be available in multiplayer mode--such as new racing worlds or new racers.
Filled with all of the delightfully loony character of the Looney Tunes cartoons and their wildly hilarious antics, Space Race is a game that will not fail to amuse or bring a smile to your face. The game is also age appropriate so gamers of all ages will love it.
Filled with all of the delightfully loony character of the Looney Tunes cartoons and their wildly hilarious antics, Space Race is a game that will not fail to amuse or bring a smile to your face.
Reviewer: Nick Valentino
Review Date: 06/10/2002