Some say superb and at a fault, almost aggravating amounts of alliteration absolutely agitates any and all associated around or in the area. I always thought that an explosively colorful language can articulate a point perfectly and illustrate an image in magnificent ways not possible without unique and a nuanced sense of interesting dialogue. And yet others would love to dance around the English language in such obtuse ways as to create a labyrinth of such complex or fanciful phrases, any party lucky enough might feel blessed enough to spread the verbal joy in a relative manner. After playing Wacky Races: Crash and Dash on the Wii, however, I think the English language can jump off the highest cliff while I hand it the wrong backpack for a “safe” landing.
Focusing my complaints toward speech and not racing may seem a bit cross when first discussing a racing game, but if you were familiar with Wacky Races, you would be very familiar with why an abusive amount of alliteration takes noticeable precedence over driving slightly fast through a finish line. The game is based off a cartoon concept from the late 1960s about 10 cars full of different cartoon characters racing to get to the finish line. The rage I express is directly toward the anonymous announcer who is nothing short of a complete buzzkill throughout. He’ll go out of his way to remind you that the English language is molested in all manners every day of your life and, sometimes, in horrifically cute or over the top manners in which to obliterate the chances of anyone enjoying a fictional race amongst a bunch of offbeat wackos for some unknown recreational reason.
I remember the dialogue as “fun” when I was a kid — much like someone might find curling to be fun at a second glance. Whether retrospect has the better of me or I’m not one for copious control when it comes to casting canny words in large bunches, the dialogue has miffed me in ways I can only attempt to describe here. Much like horse racing, no one feels good at the end of the day, and much like horse racing, the announcer never really stops. With this sort of friction from before the starting gate, you can imagine how taxing a Grand Prix could be on any poor soul wishing to see an end to it all.
So, aside from the destroyed atmosphere lay barren at my feet, the racing portion tries to write its own book instead of taking a page out of one of the already numerous “karters” out there and approaches the racing experience with good intent but shoddy execution. The camera takes place at a side-scoping angle that can pan around, so the track will always be shot from a side-scrolling perspective, or an eagle eye’s point of view.
The shoddy execution makes its self-clear at this time, as this vantage point basically kills any chance of a player to make the race his, or to steer clear of the rest of the racers. See, since there is a fixed camera, no one individual can fall behind or gain a lead, so the game rests its laurels on never coloring outside the racing lines even once. The tracks are all reduced to 10-foot long stretches repeated because of this, and the power-ups are moot, as there is no danger of ever changing pace. Soon into the second race, I realized the game poses itself in the racing genre but veers off to show you that the experience feels like one gigantically mobile group hug to the finish line, so everyone feels all warm inside (except Dick Dastardly).
You could see why this might offend anyone but a 6-year-old and only bewilder and confuse racing enthusiasts the world over. Hell, the quarrels of competitive spirit and age-old sporting traditions aside, the very notion of a paradoxical sporting event that defies even the most basic principles of Darwin’s laws would thrust even the entire scientific community into such a deep hate. This game could single-handedly start race riots and religious feuds the world over for implicating intelligent design as more than a moralistic belief and ignite the spark for the very beginning of a never ending chain of brutal civil wars culminating in the end of days nuclear age that will be the epilogue to what I could only refer to as World War III.
OK, that might be a bit extreme, but the venting and healing process due to the always present and persistently abstract pri ... err, the announcer, has not yet ended. You’d think that the mechanic of everyone moving as one massing hulk across a landscape might be therapeutic for all of the bizarre wording being thrown around, but during the race, to add a Wii-mote twist to the scenario (Nintendo!), you have to shake the Wii controller in order to gain an edge, thwart enemies using power-ups or avoid Dick Dastardly traps that appear everyone once in awhile to avoid certain doom. Certain doom would be the case, if there were any consequences for performing poorly, so I guess none of that matters.
What does matter is how tiring the Wii-mote process can be, as the game insists on having you shake your arm back and forth to gain a speed boost. This can be physically draining after even two races. And with no return or danger involved, the mechanic seems like a forced mechanism of involved control, but I guess not requiring a good example of the controller innovation would prove in this instance the Wii-mote isn’t always a good idea? Truly a catch-22 Wacky Races has presented us with, and how would we make progress if we backtracked all the time! Laziness is not a virtue, though with any poorly constructed licensed game (with no exclusion to Wii third-party titles), lack of creativity certainly seems to abound.
With every race boiling down to only the last 30 feet of a mad dash to a photo finish (Peter Perfect Wins), the rest of the terrible ideas implemented here mean even less than I initially thought. Why all the landscapes seem the same is almost as poignant a question as why make each race five minutes long based on the reviewed fact no ground covered except the last five-second mad dash matters. Even in a budget title sense, and with a parent and child sitting down and having fun together, there are too many racers out there (I shouldn’t even have to say his name) that make this recommendation almost as impossible as the race riots and eventual Rapture it will cause if the word gets out that this trite exists.
I think I loved the cartoon as a kid, and any intention translated from the show to the game, with any noble idea for a different approach to something fun was lost in a sped-up, uncared-for, poorly managed development of what could have been a fun racer for kids. With a pride of the last sentence containing no traces of two tons of alliteration, I’ll be happy if I avoid any and all raceways/language/children for the next few days or so. I’m going to lie down.
Afterthought: The bottom line here is that for so much wackiness hyped, advertised, packaged and promised, the game almost seemingly goes out of its ways to avoid any wackiness whatsoever. All racers possess cookie-cutter versions of each of their powers and have almost no-impact stats, which isn’t wacky at all; it’s depressing. When a game’s title is Wacky Races, and neither exist, exactly which group of people are you trying to impress, and how much money did you lose in a bet?