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Video Game / Wacky Wheels

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Wacky Wheels was released in 1994 by Apogee Software for MS-DOS and was one of the few 3D racing games of the time. Inspired by Super Mario Kart, developers Andy Edwardson and Shaun Gadalla wanted to create a similar experience for PC owners.

The Wacky part of the game is that the eight playable characters in the game have all escaped from a zoo, race on ride-on lawnmowers and throw hedgehogs at each other during the race. Seriously.

The game originally had a base release and a bonus pack containing a number of additional tracks and multiplayer arenas available separately, but Apogee soon made the bonus pack standard with all registered copies of the game.

A playable demo titled Wacky Kart was first sent out to developer Copysoft, but they weren't interested, leaving them to go to Apogee. However, the source code of the game was also included on the demo, leaving Copysoft to rush out a clone of the game prior to Wacky Wheels' release called Skunny Kart starring their squirrel mascot Skunny. Edwardson and Gadalla accused Copysoft of copyright infringement, but no lawsuits were filed.

This game contains examples of:

  • Camera Abuse: If you hit something hard enough in the race, your animal is catapulted towards the screen and smashes it before sliding down and out of sight.
  • Easier Than Easy: Kid Mode. The throttle is controlled by the computer, leaving the player to just steer, and the cars are so slow it's almost impossible to screw up a turn.
  • Easter Egg: There is a hidden appearance of the Dopefish from Commander Keen Episode 4, complete with a digitized burp.
  • Excuse Plot: The game stars eight animals that have escaped from a local zoo and have hijacked tractors to turn them into go karts to race each other.
  • Game Over: If the player fails to place within the top three or wipes out three times, the current Grand Prix must be restarted.
  • Minus World: It is possible to exploit a glitch to get into the empty area outside the track, but driving out of bounds for too long crashes the game.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: All of the computer drivers follow a static racing line and drive at a steady pace, only stopping if struck by a hedgehog or a power-up. In exchange, the driving lines they take are not always advantageous and they cannot use power-ups.
  • Nitro Boost: A number of tracks have areas that give you a turbo boost and there is also a command-line cheat which gives the same results whenever you want it just by holding down the appropriate key combination.
  • Oil Slick: Pick up an oil can and drop a puddle to make your opponents spin off course.
  • Rascally Raccoon: Ringo. He's even described as a "rapid rascal".
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The entire roster of racers is a group of cartoony animals of various species.
  • Spread Shot: The fireball power up launches a spread of three fireballs forwards, having the same effect as a hedgehog.
  • Time Trial: All 30 tracks can be raced in Time Trial mode, removing all enemy drivers, hedgehogs, and power-ups from the track.