Wacky Races (NES Review)

So, it’s diamonds, bone or snail for lunch? Hmm...
So, it’s diamonds, bone or snail for lunch? Hmm…


Just what Atlus were thinking when they developed this game I don’t know.  Actually I do know – let’s purchase a license of a fairly popular cartoon and create a Super Mario Bros rip-off and watch it sell for milliiiiiiiions.  Lesson One – if you’re going to create a game based on Wacky Races, make it a racing game!  The premise of this game is that Dastardly has been kidnapped by someone and it’s up to Muttley to save him (oh god).  If that hasn’t put you off, keep reading…


There appears to a rather large piece of ice in front me. A little help perhaps Snowy?
There appears to a rather large piece of ice in front me. A little help perhaps Snowy?


Muttley is Mario but he collects diamonds instead of coins.  Anyone who’s watched Wacky Races will know of Muttley’s love for diamonds…  Muttley can’t “bounce” enemies, another point in the column marked “things that differ from Mario”, which is highly annoying as he only seems to have this chomp attack.  The RSPCA will not be happy.  There are three different paths to choose from (hmmm) but they all involve the same platform-type action.  A few plus points, the game does feel very cartoony which some nice graphical touches.


Santa??? Ahh, duuuuuuuude :(
Santa??? Ahh, duuuuuuuude 🙁


For instance, in the “Ice” zone, if you leave Muttley idle for a while, he’ll frost over and start to shiver (really, no one call the RSPCA).  Some of the initial levels feel good and the chomp works fairly well.  You can also get laser and bomb power-ups which adds a little variety to the action.  Plus you can also get wings to access different platforms.

Although the graphics and sound are decent enough for a 1991 NES title, it all feels a bit half-arsed.  Apart from these two characters I don’t recall seeing any of the other characters.  The later levels are tough which isn’t aided by a really annoying respawn.  Think shuffle to the left a bit to chomp an enemy only to find that when you shuffle a little back to the right he’s back again!

I’m not saying this should be a classic but if they’re going for a Mario rip-off surely it should have evolved and innovated more.  I struggle to believe you can’t improve from the original Super Mario Bros in six bloody years.  Another license horribly misused.  Chomp.




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