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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: The Game Factory
Developed By: DC Studios
Genre: Racing
Players: 1-4
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: November 30, 2006
Written By: Matthew Prunty
Screenshots: Link
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Mario Kart made its debut on the Super Nintendo console in 1992, which introduced gamers to a new and creative style of racing. It was the first time that franchise characters ever got together to duke it out on the race tracks for the chance to proclaim themselves as the best of the best. Ever since Nintendo achieve high success with this new style of racing, they have never looked back. Over the next 14 years, Nintendo created a masterpiece with ever release they made for ever platform they released. And seeing how the formula always worked, several developers look to follow a similar route to fame and fortune with their versions of Mario Kart. Each company that tried, succeeded in some aspects, but never could match the atmosphere, and impact that Mario Kart brought to the genre and industry.

Fourteen years later, we seem to have our closest competition that we have ever seen. Cartoon Network; with the help of DC Studios have been hard at work on their latest entry into the racing genre with Cartoon Network Racing for the Nintendo DS. Unlike the other titles released for the various platforms, none of them actually brought humor, attitude, and the pure essence of its original product to the forefront of the title like Cartoon Network Racing did. Just like Mario Kart, CNR brought several different cartoon personalities together, to create a unique experience. We see appearances from the Power Puff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Cow & Chicken, etc. all of which bring their own personal features and abilities.

As you dive into the title, you are limited to the Championship and Versus modes. Within the Championship mode, you will gain access to Cowardly, Booger, Pork Butt, and Chemical X racing tournaments, each with their own distinct racing courses and challenges. Each tournament features four races, for a total of 16 tracks to compete on. Once you beat each tournament, the tracks are made available within the Time Trial and Versus modes. At the end of each tournament, you will also acquire coins, which can be used to purchase various items and features in the Toon-Up Shop. These items can be bonus minigames, cartoon segments, new characters, etc.

Within the Time Trail mode, you get race on tracks you have already completed in the Championship mode in order to better your time or even get yourself familiar with the many shortcuts. With the Versus Mode, you have the option of playing other gamers via an individual cartridge, or via multiple cartridges. Either way, up to four gamers can do battle against each other and the computer opponents. With all these modes noted, the real meat of the game comes from its replay value. This title has tons of unlockables to acquire throughout the game. You can unlock mystery characters, new items, new modes and mini-games, and several other items. You can’t help but try out the traditional modes with the new features and characters to see what they are all about and how they compare to the original set.

Off the bat, you can tell that Cartoon Network isn’t the most impressive visual title on the Nintendo DS, but does hold its own against several of the key titles on the handheld. Unlike most games where the detail is either focused on the character models or the environment, Cartoon Network Racing focuses on both aspects. The backgrounds use a variety of colors and shapes blended together, to create a playful, yet intense racing atmosphere. Another notable feature about each race track is that the environment gives you elements from the various cartoons and a unique feel. Each character model sports a solid amount of polygons, detailing all their wacky facial features and special abilities.

The musical soundtrack from Cartoon Network Racing features several musical tunes from the various cartoons like Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo, and even the Power Puff Girls. Seeing how most of these cartoons are watched by teenagers and younger, these cartoons will have a nostalgic feeling for them, and entice them to play more and more, even humming the tunes.

Personal Thought
Now when most look at this title, they will see it as another Mario Kart clone, but the fact of the matter is that this title is easily as enjoyable and full of potential as that series. You get the best of the Cartoon Network roster, intuitive gameplay, decent graphics, and lots of unlockables that will raise the enjoyment factor ten fold. For those who have yet to pick this title up, it’s certainly work your time and effort. Once you start playing, you will see why this game is the start of something special for Cartoon Network and The Game Factory.


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