Wacky Races: Crash & Dash (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew



There does seem to be a bit of a trend at the moment to dig up absolutely every license possible, regardless of age, in the hope that maybe a game of some description can be constructed from the characters and storyline. Wacky Races was clearly at the top of the pile recently but, while the cross country antics of what can only be described as a bunch of misfits was incredibly popular in the early 1970's, it's difficult to see who it will play to with a modern audience who demand more sophisticated visuals and plot. From a personal point of view though, I felt the cartoon was genius and seeing just how Dick Dastardly and Mutley were going to cheat this week always added to the fun. If anything, this should be aimed at 30 something gamers who are ready for a nostalgia trip, but surely this has been targeted at a pre-teen audience.


Your first challenge is to decide whom you wish to race as each character has slightly different abilities, although none appear faster than the other. You can opt for the 'Wacky Rally' or a single race although selecting the latter is possibly better saved for when you only have a limited amount of time. The Rally places you in six separate challenges all of which consist of three races. The objective is to simply finish first, or at least get the best placing possible in order to amass points to unlock the next stage. The races themselves are a mixture of classic racing, with the usual bonus items to pick up, and, bizarrely, mini-games. This is probably the game's biggest problem because, while the majority of these games are simple enough, it does seem an odd choice to embed them in a racing title, especially mid-race. The mini-games also form the basis of the other option 'Trap Challenge' where you can indulge in tracing short cuts or inflating tires whilst the car is still in motion. This is also available for up to four players (by passing your DS around) but if you can manage to get anyone interested in this, you deserve to win anyway.


Other than selecting a couple of special items, the whole thing is stylus controlled. Does it work? Well, you'll have to read on to find out won't you?


I'll start by saying that the developers have caught the look and feel of the show perfectly although if you do happen to catch the show you'll realize that it wasn't that pretty to begin with. The animation is very good but the tracks themselves lack detail, as do the various racers.


The music and voice acting is really quite good but because of the game's structure, you're likely to hear it over and over again.

Dual screen

Firstly, forget about your traditional control system altogether as once you have selected your mode of transport you steer with the stylus by placing it in front of your vehicle and moving it from side to side. This works most of the time although you will find yourself with one eye on the track and one on the map, just so you can anticipate those sharp bends. Your other stylus challenge is the various mini-games that pop up during the game. These are simple enough though and you even get instructions before each one however they are more of a distraction than anything else, like advert breaks during a good film. Probably the most fun to be had is at the end of each race where you must blow into the microphone to give yourself that final push to cross the finish line.

Final comments

Like the first outing for PIXAR's Cars, the biggest problem with Wacky Races is that it's not, strictly speaking, a racer but rather a collection of mini-games with a minimal amount of actually car control thrown in for good measure. Had this been released in the early days of the DS then I'm sure it would have delighted gamers with its use of the stylus and microphone, but gamers demand so much more now and the result is a collection of average touch-screen challenges linked by some rather nice visuals and animated clips. The resulting game is a bit of a mess really and what's worse, not much fun to actually play.

Pro: Nice Sound and Animation.
Con: Simple and Tiresome Mini-Games
Final score: 4.1


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Boxart of Wacky Races: Crash & Dash (Nintendo DS)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Racing
Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment