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Gamer Tuesday

August 30, 2011

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Mickey's Speedway USA
Developed by: Rare
System: Nintendo 64

In a past Gamer Tuesday article, I described some of the weirdest Disney games ever released. One of these happened to be Mickey's Speedway USA, a kart racing game developed by English game developer Rare and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. While the idea of Mickey and the gang going kart racing doesn't seem to be that weird (after all, they did partake in a polo match featuring many Hollywood stars as their opponents in one classic short film), the story behind it all certainly is.

Mickey Mouse loves his pal Pluto so much; he gave him a diamond studded collar. The weasels found out about this and have kidnapped Pluto. Mickey enlists the help of his friends, which include Donald, Goofy and even Pete, to try and rescue him. They do so by going kart racing across the USA. What a weird rescue tactic, don't you think?

Wacky storyline aside, if you are a big fan of Nintendo's Mario Kart series, then you are likely to enjoy Mickey's Speedway USA as it loyally follows the concepts established in that game series. The game features seven characters to choose from. Each character features a different set of stats, such as speed, weight and handling. Much like in Mario Kart, this affects a racer's performance on the track. For example, a light character may handle the best, but his or her top speed is not as great, while a heavy character has great speed but handles slowly. In addition to the default seven, four additional characters can be unlocked.

As the title states, the tracks take place across the USA, such as New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Alaska, and New Orleans. Each track is littered with weapons, a feature borrowed from Mario Kart's playbook. Some of these weapons include oil spills and baseballs. If players find themselves lagging behind, they can use any of these weapons to attack their enemies to try and gain the lead. The gameplay modes in Mickey's Speedway USA will be familiar to fans of Nintendo's Mario Kart franchise. Grand Prix mode is a single player mode where players can race across the United States in search of Pluto and the weasels. Multiplayer mode features classic modes such as multiplayer racing and a battle mode, all for up to four players via split screen.

Rare is known for putting a lot of effort into a game's graphical presentation. During their time as Nintendo's exclusive developer, they created some of the most visually impressive games ever seen on the Nintendo 64. Mickey's Speedway USA proudly follows that tradition. The menus are playroom themed, which add a very charming feel to the game. The classic characters look great in their 3D presentation. Even Mickey's ears have been lovingly rendered to move just as his head turns. The tracks are well designed, taking a lot of inspiration from each State, placing in the background famous landmarks and locales to add a lot of visual flare to the track. The sense of speed is solid throughout, never dropping even during the busier scenes.

The music will sound very familiar to Rare fans who have enjoyed their previous efforts on the system. Unfortunately, Mickey's Speedway USA doesn't feature any classic Disney songs. It does, however, feature a great cast of voice talent borrowed from Mickey's Mouse Works, which was airing at the time the game was released. Some of these include the late Wayne Allwine as Mickey Mouse, Jim Cummings as Pete, Bill Farmer as Goofy, Tress McNeille as Daisy Duck and many more. The best thing about this is that the voice acting is very dynamic. The characters are constantly reacting to the events on the track, such as being hit by a weapon or taking the lead. They will shout comments, letting the player how they feel about what is going on around them. It adds a great deal of detail, taking great advantage of the legacy these characters have as well as the talent behind it all.

Mickey's Speedway USA creates its own effective spin to the classic Mario Kart formula. It may not be as in-depth as Nintendo's own series but it has a lot of charm that Disney and Mickey Mouse fans will greatly enjoy. The tracks are very colorful and effective enough that you will feel patriotic and make you want to go on your own tour across the USA. It is certainly a great way to spend some time with Mickey and friends.


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