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It is great to finally get back into the reviewer's chair with another great game at the helm.
Kart racing is a franchise that has long plagued the industry with shoddy rip offs and lame cutesy characters trying to hide their mediocre racing engine. With the exception of Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing none of these games are hardly worth mentioning but now Infogrames has brought Furious Karting to the XBox. With a fresh idea and plenty of attitude to back it up FK could easily be the best kart racer on XBox, oh wait a minute it is the only one on XBox. Well regardless it still delivers tons of fun, now you can find out why!
The Art Of Karting The premise of Furious Karting is simple, fun factor is key and the developers knew this going into the game. They didn't seem interested in copying what others had set before them nor did they seem destined to create the greatest racing game the XBox had ever seen. The end result is a finely crafted game that while short on technical aspect is robust in entertainment value. All college words and large vocabulary aside what I am trying to say is that this game is fun. Taking established ideas and concrete play mechanics and making an all around solid game. There are a few things that keep FK from becoming an instant classic but then again was it ever supposed to be?
Farting..errr I mean Karting The visuals could have used some tweaking, while the bells and whistles seem in place such as lighting and frame rate, the overall look can seem kind of drab and uninspired. The character models are low poly and sport little detail and the karts themselves are hard to decipher from each other. The tracks on the other hand are very well designed providing hours of fun and keeping the game from becoming stale too quickly. While they aren't the greatest looking tracks ever created they fit the game nicely, especially for a budget priced title.
Interactive Music A La Carte The sound can leave something to be desired, while the in game effects are decent the volumes are so mis-proportioned adjustment is necessary. The ability to use custom soundtracks is a nice option but the game uses an innovative feature that almost keeps you from using them. It's called interactive soundtracks which lets you know who is in first place at all times. Once the races begin you choose which team uses which songs to let you know who is in the lead, the downside is that you cannot let the computer use custom soundtracks so you must suffice with the in game music. Needless to say the provided tunes leave you hankering for a better constructed soundtrack.
Weight Shifting Is Fundamental! What keeps this game fun is it's ease of control and innovative control style. You can use the right analog stick to weight shift the kart, this gives you the opportunity to ride on two wheels and perform stunts on the fly. The game also borrows the traditional power ups from other kart style games such as oil slicks and turbo boosts. On top of those projectiles you can also smack your opponents Road Rash style with a giant bat! This gives the game it's stylish personality as well as making it a shitload of fun. The single player game is broken into the traditional modes such as Time Attack and so on but the meat of the game is the Team Racing. When you pick a character you are taken through a story mode that allows you to prove if you are good enough to join your clan. There are two clans in the game, the TNT and the Yellow Sharks. Each character is already determined for either team but you must prove yourself in order to unlock new tracks and other goodies. To top it all off you are also granted with a great multi-player mode that supports up to 4 players extending the fun well into months.
Priced To Own!! What all of this comes down to is a great game priced to own at $29.99. Great control and plenty to keep you busy this game delivers in most areas. It's few technical shortcomings keep it from being a true classic but in all honesty for the price it's more than worth admission. I suggest picking this up if you are in need of something different in the racing genre. The XBox is finally extending it's library into the niche titles and thankfully FK is a good one. Expect many more to follow and even more of them to suck. For now let's enjoy the simple and cheap things in life. Recommended!
GameDiscovery.com : Xbox : Furious Karting Review : Racing