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Konami Krazy Racers

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  KCEK
Publisher:  Konami
# of Players:  1-2 (Link Cable)
Genre:  Racing
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  7-12-01

Ever since being displayed at Nintendo’s Spaceworld 2000 show, most critics have labeled Konami Krazy Racers (KKR) as nothing more than a Mario Kart clone. Well, for the most part their right. It is very much like a Mario Kart game. However, this doesn’t change the fact that it’s also an extremely entertaining game and worthy of a purchase on its own merits (especially with Mario Kart: Super Circuit’s delay).

The gameplay is in the classic Mario Kart mold. Anyone who has played a Mario Kart game in the past will be instantly familiar with KKR’s control scheme. The "A" button handles acceleration, the "B" button handles braking, the "R" button handles jumping, and finally the "L" button handles item usage. Overall, it really plays just as well as any Mario Kart game. Each of the eight different drivers (more on them later) has their own different characteristics, ranking 1-5 on Top Speed, Acceleration, and Grip. Just like Mario Kart 64, there are two drivers each with the exact same characteristics. Each driver controls exactly as he/she/it should, making it a strategic decision as to whether you should choose a driver with a high Top Speed or good Grip. A very solid (and proven) control scheme, that’s easy to understand but deep in strategy.

KKR’s multiplayer is excellent, although it falls just a bit short of…well…"that" series. In addition to your standard racing mode, it also features two different battle modes. The first is "Bomb Chaser". In this mode, one racer is randomly chosen to hold the bomb as the time begins. When that racer runs into another racer, the bomb will be transferred to that racer. Whoever is left with the bomb when time expires loses. The other mode is "Chicken". In this mode, each racer’s go-kart automatically begins towards the finish line. Once the brake is applied, each racer will stop as fast as their speed will allow. Whoever stops the closest to the finish line (without going over) wins. The battle modes are also playable by a single individual, so if you have no friends with a GBA you aren’t out of luck.  Also, it's worth noting that it is possible to link up four players (whereas the manual only indicates that two can play) at once.  However, it's very glitchy and can lock up the game (and thus not recommended by Konami). 

Course design is another high point, with all kinds of various obstacles, jumps, speed boosts, etc. for you to navigate. Really, the only major change in the Mario Kart-design is that the weapons system works a bit differently here. Weapons are contained in "Bells", but here there are two types of them (versus just a "?" block in MK). Engine Turbo boosts are now found in Blue Bells, while all other weapons are found in Red Bells. This is a great addition to the MK formula, as in my experience I’ve found myself wanting a speed boost more than any other weapon. With this setup, I can pick up an Engine Boost whenever I prefer it to a random weapon. Each of the weapons, while mostly performing the same functions as MK weapons, are unique in their own right and very "Japanese" in feel. One example of this is a "Scooper Drill" (really a groundhog), which when dropped will dig a hole that other racers can fall in.

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