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 / Screen Tap: 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 digitised burp.
- Mascot Racer: One with original characters.
- Minus World: It is possible to exploit a glitch to get into the empty area outside the track, but driving there for too long crashes the game.
- 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.
- Panda-ing to the Audience: Uno.
- Panthera Awesome: Tigi.
- Rascally Raccoon: Ringo. He's even described as a "rapid rascal".
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: In abundance!
- Rubber-Band A.I., coupled firmly to The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.