Feel the fury or just feel furious.
Over the past few years, Midway's claim to fame has risen above "fatalities" and moved on to the "enhancement" of sports games to make them more over the top than they already are. Remember NBA Jam? Then there was NFL Blitz where once again, Midway took real players from the NFL and made them into superheroes who not only caught fire, but also could smash, bash, and trash their opponents after the whistle blew.
Now, Midway has gone and done it to the world of motorsports. Is this a good thing? Almost. While Jam and Blitz were fast-paced and fun, you'd think a racing game would be just as good, but somehow some of the speed in speedway got left in the dust.
On the surface, CART Fury looks like a typical arcade racer. You speed around a track trying not to crash into the walls in an effort to finish before the other guys. But about a second into the race, you see flames shooting out from the cars as they boost forward. And just when you realize that it isn't "just another" racing game, a huge pileup explodes in your face, destroying several cars and littering the track with parts.
But don't let all of this go to your head, because as soon as you experience the horrid menu system and the egregious load times, the achievements take a back seat to the frustration.
As an officially licensed CART game, CART Fury sports actual CART drivers including Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya. Also featured in the game are seven real CART tracks to go along with the eleven fantasy tracks. They've even got all of the official sponsors, manufacturers and announcers. If it's in CART, it's in this game.
Surprisingly, all of the tracks have shortcuts. The occasional corner cutter can save some time. It's nothing like the shortcuts in SF Rush 2049, but I'm glad to see there's at least something here to add some oomph to the tracks.
The majority of CART Fury takes place in four different modes: Arcade, Season, Sub-games, and Simulation. Arcade will provide you with a quick racing fix and Season puts you through a single season point battle. The Sub-games are basically mini-games, with names like Demolition and Lock-On (where you get missiles!). Simulation mode takes out the boost power, cranks up the difficulty and makes racing a bit more realistic. You'll even get to do a little tinkering with the car's specs here. Not a bad set of extras, I must admit.
One of CART Fury's best traits is the framerate. This game is fast. Blazing fast. It's a joy to see a super-fast game that runs with no problems at all. There are occasions when cars are crashing and parts are flying everywhere and all the while the game runs at a smooth pace with no hiccups in sight.
But on the other side of the track, things don't perform so smoothly. The game's menu will drag you through loading screen after loading screen, taking way too much time just to bring up a simple window that asks you what driving style you prefer. Players can fly through a single race in under two minutes, but it could take twice that much time to get back into the game. If there is one thing that annoys me most, it's having to wait forever to get back into the action.
Actually, I take that back. What annoys me most is being forced to listen to some mindless drivel pouring from some rock rapper who thinks he's "da shiznit" because he has a few tattoos and a pierced lip. I don't know who put together the soundtrack for this game, but I'm sure that the words "music" or "expert" are nowhere in their title. Thanks for making my ears bleed. And now back to the game.
In the Arcade and Season modes, I noticed a little something screwy going on with the AI. Some racing games have a "catch up" feature that allows racers to mount a comeback no matter how far back they are (a common option in the NBA Jam games, for instance). CART Fury has something like this and it will occasionally rob you of a spectacular win. There's kind of a pattern to it. Rivals will often hang back a bit at the start and inexplicably blow you away early on. Then during the last few laps, either you'll catch up or he'll catch up depending on how good you are. If they wanted to make this an option, that's fine, but when it happens almost every time, it gets a little discouraging for the skilled racers. At least the Sim mode is free of this party pooper.
But at least when you win, there are the CART Fury girls to look forward to, right? Trust me, that wasn't written with a straight face. Directly out of a booth at E3, CART Fury features a non sequitorial hoochie mama at every menu screen. I'm just tired of watching companies stuff women into games just to amuse a few sweaty palmed teenage boys. Exploiting Lara Croft is one thing, but CART Fury girls? What are they thinking?
On a good note, there are better things to look forward to than the girls. CART Fury has plenty o' goodies for you to unlock including a grab bag of video footage, more cars and some interesting cheats. And before you ask, yes, there is a CART Fury girls video (he says as he smacks his forehead in disbelief).
Unfortunately, what starts off as a cool game becomes an exercise in frustration. I really like the extreme concept behind CART Fury and its mini games are neat. But in a fast paced game like this on a next-generation system, the oh so slow going menus and loading time brings this race to a screeching halt.