However all that ends here, as we get into the (dead) meat and (reanimated) potatoes of Kinda-Sorta Frankenstein's Monsters with ...
...a racing game!
No, seriously -- this is appropriately Frankstein's Monster-y on two levels:
Pseudo-Frankenstein's Monster -- METAPHORICALLY
This game is a double-knockoff: it attempts to cash in on both the popularity of Mario Kart:
...given that you play as goofy racers who jut out of the top of their vehicles, bouncing around a track, bumping into walls and bopping each other with various goofy attacks.
But the inclusion of "Street" in the game's title, your list of internationally-stereotyped racers, and the fact that each racer has courses that fit their own "theme" suggests they're trying to make you think of Street Fighter II:
E. Honda Sumo San. Right: possibly the most racially insensitive thing on four wheels since Transformers 2
These two separate ripoffs have been fused together to create a shambling mound of unoriginality...which actually makes a pretty decent game. And as we discussed last week
with knockoff fighting games, even the most unoriginal knockoffs usually have a trick or two up their sleeve, and we'll talk more about that later.
Pseudo-Frankenstein's Monster -- LITERALLY
One of the characters is named "Frank"
The second-most-blatant Pseudo-Frankensteins on the SNES!
...and the game's Frank-themed tracks are appropriately haunted-house-y (not pictured: the periodic lightning that illuminates the backgrounds).
Great; it's Frankenstein's Monster-y; is there anything else should I know about this game?
Indeed there is, fictional question-asking authorial device! Street Racer actually has a few features that arguably improve on the Mario Kart formula:
Your 'special attacks' are not randomly granted to you:
Every character has a limited-range (and relatively low-impact) "punch" attack, whereby they can flail around to their left or right with the SNES "L" or "R" shoulder buttons. On the 'Pick a Racer' screen we see them cycle through their different animations, including their 'punch' attacks -- and they look different for each character.
For example, Biff the thug swings a cudgel while Surf the beach babe snaps a towel.
But aside from Punches, each racer has two built-in special moves that they can use at any time -- however after you use either, you have to wait a few seconds before you can use any special again. (These are also shown off during the "Pick a Character" screen)
Most characters have a 'Zap/Bump/Honk Nearby Racers' special attack (think the Star from Mario Kart, if it only lasts 1 second)
and 'Fly For a Minute' special (basically Mario Kart's feather
Though a few characters buck the trend and have a speed-boost as one of their specials, but this is a little odd: as you may have noticed in the race tracks above, there are still shiny squares scattered around the track:
- One kind will catapult you up in the air (like Mario Kart jumps).
- another kind increases your Stamina -- which is that K.O. bar at the top of the screen; it decreases when you get hit, or bounce off walls and stuff (so it's like Mario Kart coins)...
- but some of them give you store-able Nitro-boosts (like Mario Kart "speed-arrows", except storeable!)
I guess you could say that the Flying-special is made redundant by the trampoline-squares, but given that THEY'RE not store-able, while the Nitro-squares ARE storeable, it seems that having built-in nitros are the most redundant special power. Then again, it might be the most useful...I guess it all balances out.
Ok, what next?
There's no 'Battle Mode'...but there ARE two pretty cool mini-games:
Street Racer also takes a page from Mario Kart's book, and realizes that the SNES's mode-7 racing engine can do more than just go around in circles*
*: though unlike ONE game I could mention
, it still has a functional going-around-in-circles mode as the core of the game.
So it gives us this menu, chock-a-block with options!
The last two are the "Battle Mode"-like ones:
Rumble: all eight racers bump around on a relatively small platform floating in space...trying to bump each other off the edge with their Punches and Specials!
Soccer: all eight racers bump around on a relatively small enclosed area, trying to pick up the giant soccer ball and be the one to toss it past the automatic goalie/white bar/space capsule Vaus!
You even get two different pages of Soccer game settings (though most of the second one is just cosmetic):
While neither of these games are as awesome as Mario Kart Battle Mode...neither of them require a second player, which has to be worth something!
There are also some pretty neat (if sometimes pointless) extra features:
Support for UP TO FOUR PLAYERS! If you had the 4-way adapter (which unfortunately no one did).
Custom Cup: Have your racer race on all his home tracks!
And every race or game lets you re-watch the ENTIRE thing with the "PLAYBACK" option
...and in a really cool touch, at any point during the playback you can switch between any different racer's point-of-view by pressing the Left or Right buttons!
Though, equally importantly, you can QUIT watching the playback at any time (it turns out its actually kind of dull).
So, what have we learned this week?
Street Racer: not bad at all;
Frank: all badass.
— carlmarksguy, 2013-10-18