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Motor Toon Grand Prix 2

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Released: 1996

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: PlayStation

Publisher: Sony

Developer: Polys Entertainment

Submitted by: Chris Murphy

Crack out the sunglasses, it’s Motor Toon Grand Prix 2! This colourful racer is a little more obscure than most PS1 racers, such as Gran Turismo. This game was developed by the same people though, and it shows, despite those unrealistic graphics.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the cars in this game will be slippy slidey affairs due to how it looks. This being a forerunner to Gran Turismo however, the handling is proper, full on racing style – at first it’s a bit disconcerting having to work out racing lines and slipstream opponents while gearing up to fire a cartoon bomb up the tailpipe of the mafia penguins in front of you, but it soon becomes second nature. The beauty of this is that there’s now a reason to go back to the game to beat your times, as your times are really dependant on your driving skill – especially late in the game, where weapons are dropped in favour of driving only.

The other facets of the game only add to its appeal. The aforementioned weapons, including rockets, oil slicks and two which either increase or decrease your size, are well balanced and make for some interesting tactics. They don’t impact hugely on the racing, and are never ‘blue shell’ unfair. Added to this, the charming graphics are a feast on the peepers – think Roger Rabbit’s cartoon world: all the vehicles themselves have faces, and lean into corners, warping their frames. It’s an awesome graphical effect, in keeping with the detailed, fantastical tracks, which gives the 8 characters and their rides loads of personality.

Rounding off the package there are some brilliant unlockables. 3 secret characters are only the start of the joy. Complete a couple of the harder difficulties and you are rewarded with minigames – a battleships game, a hi-res and more realistic version of the main game with an F1 car, and the best of the lot, a Battlezone style deathmatch in tanks.

Tons to play about with then, and a strange, but amazingly fun serious racer/kart crossover. Great stuff.