Ladies and gentlemen... start your engines. Last week we took a look at The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse. This week we're looking at Mickey's Speedway USA for the Nintendo 64. Just how well does it shape up?
The rat goes racing
All screenshots by SuperPhillip.
Fresh off the heels of one of the greatest kart racing games of all time in Diddy Kong Racing (at least in this reviewer's opinion), Rareware partnered with Disney to concoct a new kart racer featuring Disney's esteemed mascot. The final product? Mickey's Speedway USA for the Nintendo 64. To anyone ever wondering who would win in a kart race-- Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck: 1) Get the hell outside more often, and 2) Now one can find out. When a group of weasels dog-naps Mickey's best bud, Pluto, Mickey and his friends follow the trail of clues to the whereabouts of the missing pooch. But why stop there? Let's race each other in the process! Screw working together to save our friend, Donald, Goofy, Minnie, Daisy and Pete! We're going to race each other for no reason at all instead of racing those damned weasels! Nonetheless, so the race is on.
Race around the speedy straightaways of Indianapolis...
Mickey's Speedway USA has all the modes you'd come to expect from a kart racer. Starting off there's three cups with four races apiece to speed through. These three cups each have three difficulties-- amateur, intermediate, and professional. Obviously amateur is the easiest and professional is the most arduous. By completing certain requirements players can unlock two more cups, a mirror mode, and additional characters aside from the likes of the six characters already available. Additionally there's your mandatory time trial mode, a battle mode which is a direct rip-off of Mario Kart (it uses balloons as health even), and a practice mode to try out all of the simple maneuvers offered in Speedway USA.
...Or take it to the hills of San Francisco.
The twenty-one tracks of Speedway are all themed and named after American locales. Mickey and friends will jet past the canyon walls of New Mexico, sightsee at the Grand Canyon, get in touch with their artistic sides in San Francisco, and promote gambling in Las Vegas among many other tracks. Never at any point did I sit back and go... "Wow... that track was awesome." The tracks just seem like standard fare for a kart racing game-- pretty unremarkable. The track design only showcases a few "out-there" shortcuts to impress your friends, too.
Then again, New Mexico is prime for racing.
Racing isn't enough for Mickey and his friends either. They need to beat the crap out of each other with items (and then apologize for it vocally mid-race afterwards). There's a nice variety of items to unleash upon your friends including a decent-sized baseball which bowls over anyone in its way as it bounces off walls like a shell from Mario Kart. Take that, you damn duo of ducks! Then there's green oil slicks to shoot behind you, a remote-control airplane which homes in on the racer in front of you, a shield which makes the wearer race faster while invincible, and there's also a rocket boost that speeds you ahead for a brief period of time like a mushroom in Mario Kart. Hm... I'm certainly saying Mario Kart a lot in this review.
And that's basically the problem with this title. Not only is it fairly quick to complete, but almost everything this game does Mario Kart does better. Unless you have deep-rooted childhood memories of Mickey and his friends or are interested in a fairly enjoyable multiplayer experience, Mickey's Speedway USA is worth a rental. However, this game is probably so cheap now that you could get away with buying it. I certainly don't mind having the game in my collection, so it's nothing to be ashamed of-- that's for sure. While not revolutionary by any means, Mickey's Speedway USA IS enjoyable and more so if you have friends to play alongside. Just don't expect Mario Kart-caliber gameplay.
[SuperPhillip Says: 6.5/10] - Not a horrible kart racer, but there are so many that are better. [Insert obligatory Mario Kart comparison here.]