Where's the magic?
I love DisneyWorld, don't you? All the magic and childhood wonder you've ever experienced in your lifetime wrapped up into one gigantic theme park that will never die. Ever. The whole Disney crew has been delighting fans both old and new for ages, so what would make a better game than Disney Racing? You know, people could become one of their favorite characters and drive around the different attractions at Disney World. Kids would love it, grown-ups would love it, and as long as it made money, Michael Eisner would love it.
It has taken a while for game companies to pick up this idea, but finally Eidos has signed on to tackle this Disney dream racer. Sounds like child's play, doesn't it? Well, apparently not.
Before you even start to race, you'll notice a grievous error committed by the designers. Where are the Disney characters?!? Let's play a game. Name one of the thirteen Disney characters in Eidos' Walt Disney World Quest Magical Racing Tour. Nope, no Mickey... um, no Donald... no Goofy, either... no Pluto and none of the other guesses you just made. In fact, there are only three characters you might recognize: Chip, Dale, and Jiminy Cricket. The other ten characters are just scabs, as the real Disney characters we know and love seem to be on strike. Either that or they've had one too many shots of that pure mouse liquor and weren't cleared by the DMV to participate in the game. In any case, it ought to be illegal to make a Disney game without a mouse, a duck, or a man-dog-thing.
The graphical representation of Disney World isn't too stellar, either. To put it bluntly, the Dreamcast version of Disney Racing looks like the Playstation one. While the textures are decent, characters and backgrounds are often blocky and unrefined.
The camera also isn't that great, offering up a mere three options. There's one angle "behind the vehicle," one angle slightly behind the "behind the vehicle," and one showing the front of the car that makes absolutely no sense at all. I like to call it the "deer vs. oncoming headlights" view, as you can see your headlights and not much else. None of these angles work particularly well and an angle that is able to show more of what is coming up would have been very welcome.
On a positive note, Disney Racing moves along at a blazing pace. It's so fast that you barely have time to sit back and enjoy all of the familiar Disney scenery that you cruise through. Races are fast and furious and you'll need to keep your eyes glued to the track at all times to keep ahead of the of the computer characters (who you've never heard of).
It won't be that hard, though, as the majority of the track layouts aren't very difficult to negotiate. Most of them are very direct, with shortcuts that really aren't that short.
Beating the others racers isn't difficult. It just takes half a brain and plenty of weapon pick ups to send your opponents back to the hellish drawing board from whence they came. These weapons are your run of the mill kart items with the exception of the 'frog spell' that will magically transform your opponents into a mystery animal. (*nudge, nudge, wink, wink*). Still, it really all comes down to one weapon - the acorns, baby.
Despite all its faults, Disney Racing does contain some small redeeming details. For starters, vehicles are track specific. Head over to Big Thunder Mountain and you'll drive a train-kart. Over at Space Mountain, you've got a rocket-kart. At the Pirates of the Caribbean track, there's even a pirate ship-kart. This feature is a nice little aesthetic touch to keep in the whole theme park theme going.
Then there's the music. This is where you'll find the best little goodie of the entire game. Disney Racing contains a boatload of familiar tunes from "It's a Small World" to "Yo, Ho! Yo, Ho!" It'll have you singing along in no time. Just be careful not to piss off your next door neighbors like I did.
Overall, Disney Racing is a ho-hum title that definitely doesn't do the Disney name any justice. If you're a Disney fan, look for something else. After all, what's Disney without the mouse? On the other hand, if you're willing to overlook the absence of the main characters, have a really open mind about kart games and are under the age of ten, you'll probably enjoy this one.