Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Konami Krazy Racers review

Konami is a company that prides itself on being weird and Japanese. Ever since they began they've been one of the most Japanese companies out there, and even when their games cover European mythology and American wars, they still wind up being weird and Japanese. Konami Krazy Racrs is the result of 20 years of weirdness being wrapped up into a nice kart racing package.

Story-1/10: I have to give this one point at least, since there is at leas an excuse for why Konami KCharacters are racing around in go-karts.  Basically, the mysterious Konami Man sends an e-mail to 12 different Konami characters, challenging them to a Grand Prix to win trophies and fame, I never said it was a good excuse. Now, I think it's time we talk about our racers, and oh boy, what a strange group they are.

 First is Mystical Ninja Goemon, who is the most Japanese character. He has an extending pipe he uses for attacks, and he also drives a giant robot sometimes. Following me so far? Second up is Pastel, a character from the series TwinBee. She never actually appears in the games, but drives the second player spaceship.

Third is Power Pro, who is an anime baseball player. Not really much to say there, but we have a baseball player racing. In fourth is Nyami, who is a really creepy cat girl from a rhythm game series. I can't really find any more information than that. The last four characters are the weirdest out of all of them though, so brace yourselves.

Fifth is Gray Fox, the cyborg ninja man from the Metal Gear series. I'm not entirely sure why they went with Gray Fox instead of Metal Gear main character Solid Snake, but eh. After that is, um, Dracula. A blue Dracula with a fantastic beard and mustache. This is specifically the Count from the Castlevania series, but still, Dracula. In a go-kart.

For the last two, we have Takosuke, the friendly octopus from the Parodius series, and of course, my favorite character, the Moai head. Or, if you prefer, the Easter Island head. This is the Moai enemy from Gradius, to be exact. Konami has a "thing" for Moai heads. There are 4 other characters, but I'll cover them later. Overall, probably the weirdest selection of characters in a racing game.

Gameplay-8/10: The game is your standard kart racing game, in the vein of Super Mario Kart. In fact, it's pretty much EXACTLY like Super Mario Kart, at least control wise. The only new thing it does with the controls is providing an otherwise useless hop function.

While it may not do much new, it does manage to function great, and is one of the smoothest racing games I've played. Many of the tracks require having you let go of the engine button for a split second to make sharp turns, and it ends up feeling really good most of the time.

It doesn't exactly have that much to it mode wise either, having just the Grand Prix, Time Attack, and Free Race in it, which are exactly what they are in every kart racing game ever. The only thing it has that's new is the Drivers Tests, which consist of several challenges ranging from racing against one opponent, multiple opponents and beating the track in a certain time.

Beating the Tests opens up the 3 other Grand Prix tournaments, which consist of the standard 16 tracks. Each track is more "organically" designed than most racing games. What that means is, basically, there are tons of turns, making the "letting go of the button" driving style even better than it feels.

The Grand Prix works like it usually does, get in first to score more points, get the most points to come in first. But there is something a bit odd with the GPs, as they actually have a continue screen, which displays when you get lower then 3rd place. You have three tries, and when you run out of them you have to start the Grand Prix over. This is annoying, mostly in the latter cups, which can be incredibly hard if you choose a bad character.

Speaking of characters, each character has stats, but they're never actually displayed for you. From what I gathered, Moai head is fast, but has low acceleration, Takosuke is good all around, and Dracula is just awful at everything. This relates to one of my problems with the game, it doesn't tell you much. No stats are displayed, the game doesn't tell you when you unlock characters, and it doesn't give you any hints to what to do to unlock said characters.

Segueing into the next section, there are 4 unlockable characters, which consist of: Bear Tank, from the brilliantly insane Rakugakids, Ebisumaru, the secondary character of Mystical Ninja Goemon, King, a dude from the same game as Nyami, and the Vic Viper, the spaceship from Gradius. In order to unlock these characters, you need to find hidden diamonds in 3 of the tracks. The fourth character is unlocked by beating two tie trials.

Of course, there are also items to use. This time the items are contained in red and blue bells. The red bell gives you one of a few different (but all equally bizarre) attack items, while the blue will just give you a boost. You can actually collect up to three boosts to power it up, which doesn't work with the attack items.

The items themselves are just Mario Kart items with really weird skins. For example, the lightning bolt has been turned into a pig, which then turns all you opponents into pigs and slows them down. There's also icicles, bombs, missiles, and batteries that you can use too. There are also coins scattered across the tracks that you can use to buy items, but it's never a necessity.

There's also a special weapon for each character, but they all act the same but with different skins.

My main problem with the game is that it's way too short. There are three difficulties, but you can get everything on easy mode, and there really isn't any reason to play the other two difficulties other than because.

Graphics-8/10: The graphics use the same type of style from Super Mario Kart and Banjo Pilot, but this game used it on the GBA first, and it uses it well.

The tracks are all based on Konami franchises, including some not represented in playable form, and they all have some uniqueness to them. You can go from racing through a Japanese garden, to blazing through a neon road in space, to trying to survive Bowser's Dracula's castle, and they mostly represent the series faithfully.

The characters are also well animated, each one having a different animation for every occasion, most of them being rather entertaining to watch. On problem with the characters is that, due to the anime art style, characters like Gray Fox and Dracula are completely unrecognizable and have heavy liberties taken for them.

Each track also usually has a unique obstacle, from tree stumps and boxes to penguins and dancing ballerina pandas with duck hats. Parodius was a weird game.

The graphics are fun, cute, and colorful. They suit the game well, and there really isn't anything much else to say.

Overall-7/10: The game is one of the better direct Mario Kart ripoffs, and the crossover aspects certainly make it a bit more entertaining than most, and the racing itself is great, but it's overall length and low difficulty makes it only a good distraction for a few hours.

Next time, we're gonna go a bit console.

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