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Toy Story Racer

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Released: 2001

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Game Boy Color

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Tiertex

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

The GameBoy Color was never really capable of 3-D games- it simply didn’t have the power needed for the task. However developer Tiertex Design Studios created a game engine that was able to simulate a 3-D environment for racing games, and it’s this engine that lets Toy Story Racer poke its head above the dross of most GameBoy racers of the time.

The pseudo-3D graphics are achieved by placing the sprites of the karts over a rolling animation of the track which speeds up and slows down according to your speed. This ‘cheat’ is not obviously apparent though, and there is only a slight on-the-rails feeling, although the control of the karts do suffer as a result. The plus side to all this is that the visuals are fairly unique to the GameBoy Color, and in some places (particularly through the gas-station in the Street Racing levels) are stunning.

The action flows very smoothly ( it should – you are basically interacting in a full-motion-video) as you take control of one of four Toy Story characters – Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Bo-Peep and Mr. Potato Head –  as they race around nine tracks which are divided into three themes from the film: Andy’s House, Pizza Planet and Street Racing. There are a few power-ups dotted around the track, as well as some power down items to be avoided along the way. A tenth track, ‘Andy’s and Sid’s House’ awaits after the completion of the three themed areas, after which the game is completed.

This doesn’t really compete with the likes of a Mario kart, there are no attacking power-ups, and very little interaction with the computer controlled opponents, other than avoiding them on the narrow track as you pass them. There’s no two player link up, and just the tournament mode and a quick race option to choose from, although there is a password save facility on tournament mode. The action is over far too quickly, and the lack of options and ropy controls cannot be ignored, but this is a fun and pretty little game while it lasts.