Not every Looney game is a Tune—that’s what I learned from playing this 2D Mario Kart arcade racing clone on the Game Boy Color. The fact that it nowaday costs less than
€5 should probably raise an alarm bell—if collectors aren’t after it, it usually also means the gameplay isn’t worth chasing after. Good lesson. In my defense: my wife bought this—precisely because of the Looney Tunes text on the box (or cart). They’ve still got it, but this ain’t no Sunsoft Looney Tunes.
The problem is immediately apparent when deciding to go for the championship and starting in the second track: the music is exactly the same, and so is the track—at least, that is my impression. After racing nearly all tracks, I can safely say that the music does stay the same, but the tracks slightly differ: a turn to the right here, a slight slope there. Sure, the visuals are impressive for a Game Boy game—but it’s a 2000 GBC game, and the GBA appeared just one year later, so it better well be.
Take a look at the above screenshots. I was first focusing on the top right corner: why are all tracks circle-shaped? But then it hit me: this isn’t your track tracker! It’s just an indicator of how far you’re removed from the finish line. In Mario Kart, even on the Super Nintendo, you can follow where your adversaries are on the track and clearly see the track layout. Here, not so much. Not even on the road: the downhill slopes reduce visibility and make the background eat up even more real estate. Pretty backgrounds with parallax scrolling effects, but still: what’s going on?
Your racer choice does not matter at all. Everyone acts and feels the same, and besides the car skin (a carrot, a rocket with ACME on it, a barnyard tractor), you’re left wondering what “everyone does”. Well, nothing, really. Then there’s chasing and passing contestants: the game apparently can only handle drawing one enemy at the time, which only stays there for about half a second. Good thing they put a number next to the progress indicator. The start line only shows you and another car: you always start last, and the others always can be passed about halfway and 3/4th through.
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on an 8-bit racing game with a camera right behind the cart, but if Mario Kart can do it, why can’t this game that came years and years later? I’d personally change the camera to a top-down perspective: while racing, I was in desperate need of an overview, and all I could do was press
A and slide along in the turns. That seemed to work every single time: on top of all other letdowns, Looney Tunes Racing is also way too easy.
And please, stop making games with only one single (and bad) soundtrack! For the year 2000 and a GBC game, that’s simply unacceptable.
A curiosity for the Looney Tunes fan that others best leave in the second hand discount bins. If you insist on a colorful Looney Tunes fix, go for Sylvester & Tweety: Breakfast on the Run instead.