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Video Game / Wacky Races (2000)

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Wacky Races is a Mascot Racer that was released in 2000 on the Sega Dreamcast and later ported to the PlayStation 2 the following year, though the PS2 port was only released in Europe. It was based off the old Wacky Races cartoon.

This game provides examples of

  • The Cameo: In the PS2 version, the track Terminal Turmoil has a point where one can see The Vulture Squadron’s planes, and even drive up to them.
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  • Cel Shading: It was one of the first games to be cel-shaded. It definitely helps the cartoony look of the game.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: All the boss races include this, with them having unlimited tokens and the ability to use all of their gadgets in one race rather than being restricted to three. Unsurprisingly, Dick Dastardly takes this Up to Eleven by starting on “3” in the countdown, which he retains during the elimination challenges.
  • Deflector Shields: Every vehicle has a power that can function as one, often involving them covering themselves in some manner. For example, the Ant Hill Mob activate shutters on their car, or Blubber Bear covering the Arkansas Chuggabug with a big bubblegum bubble.
  • Deliberately Jumping the Gun: In all three of his boss races and the elimination challenges, Dick Dastardly starts on "3" in the countdown.
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  • Eliminated from the Race: The Team 00 Elimination challenge is themed around exactly this. The challenge has the racers go through all the tracks of an area, and at the end of each track, the racers in the bottom 2 positions(first two tracks), or in last place(third and fourth tracks) are eliminated from the challenge, meaning that the fifth and final track is a 1-on-1 against the Mean Machine, effectively functioning as a boss race on a regular track.
  • Flying Car: Every racer has at least one gadget that lets them fly off the ground for a short period of time, slowing them down and nullifying their Grip, but allowing them to float over water and ground-based traps. The only exception is the Red Max, whose car flies by default and instead has a gadget to drive on the ground for a while.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Beating the Golden Muttley Challenge requires that you find and collect ten Muttley trophies hidden around the track and come in first place. Cross the finish line with even a single one unaccounted for, and you fail.
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  • Hollywood Magnetism: One of the Mean Machine's gadgets is a magnet that slows down whatever racer it currently targets, while also draining tokens from them. The Mean Machine itself isn't pulled towards the other car, the current distance largely doesn't matter, and even the Boulder Mobile is affected.
  • Mascot Racer: Interestingly enough, unlike other Kart racers, each driver have their own personalized items.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Both Pat Pending and Red Max have fairly non-standard gameplay.
    • Red Max’s vehicle is a biplane, which constantly hovers above the ground. This allows him to fly over water that would normally slow down any other vehicle, and ignore traps the other racers set. As a result, he also does not have a flight power-up, instead having a power-up that causes him to temporarily drive on the ground, losing his usual flight benefits, but gaining a lot of grip(which he normally has none of) in return.
    • Pat Pending’s Convert-a-Car doesn’t have any standard power-ups. Instead, every power-up he has entails temporarily transforming it into a different type of vehicle, each with it’s own benefits. For a couple examples, the turtletop form is invincible, and has a smooth shape that allows it to slip under other racers, while the bowling ball form moves faster, especially downhill, and hitting other racers with it will cause them to be Squashed Flat.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Fitting in with the original cartoon, there’s no story at all, just a group of quirky characters in their cartoonish vehicles racing through various environments.
  • Projectile Kiss: Penelope Pitstop has two variations on this for her gadgets, both of which home in on a nearby opponent. One has the heart explode on contact, and the other causes an Interface Screw by reversing the target’s controls if they get hit.
  • Remixed Level: Red Max’s boss track, Wood Stockage 2 is a remix of the track Wood Stockage, where the starting line is placed in a cave that was out of bounds in the original, and the end of the track goes into an area unique to this version.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Implied in the Team 00 Elimination Challenge. Should Dastardly and Muttley end up in a low enough position to be eliminated on the first four tracks, they’re not eliminated, and whoever is above them will be eliminated in their place. Considering that this challenge was made by Dick Dastardly himself, it’s most likely he set the rules as such to his own benefit.
  • Sequential Boss: "Mean Machine Challenge 3" is a three phase race, where the player has to beat Dick Dastardly on all three boss tracks in a row.
  • Shrink Ray: One of the Mean Machine's abilities is a ray that targets the nearest racer and shrinks them, bleeding tokens from them with prolonged contact. The Creepy Coupe has a projectile version in the form of a small witch that sticks with a racer, no matter how far away the Creepy Coupe is from them.
  • Team Rocket Wins: The final unlock is the ability to play as Dick Dastardly. It's worth going through all the trouble to do so just to win a race as him and hear the announcer's bewildered or disgusted reaction.
  • Updated Re-release: The PS2 version includes a new area called The Big Apricot, which has a series of city based tracks, and two battle arenas based on one of said tracks.
  • Wacky Racing: It's based on the Trope Namer, after all. Unlike other Mario Kart-likes, you don't pick up power-ups along the track — you chose three from a list specific to the character you choose before every race, and pick up tokens along the track that let you use the powers you chose.

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