Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like every kart racer ever made for the PlayStation was better than Mario Kart – you only need to look at something like South Park Rally to prove that assumption wrong. It’s also not like every game on the console was PlayStation exclusive. But the ratio of good kart racers on the platform, period, is honestly impressive.
For example, have the generic but impressively speedy Speed Freaks, which was oddly published by Sony in the same year of Crash Team Racing’s release. Traveller’s Tales managed to make up for their absolutely horrific Sonic R by releasing two high-quality licensed racers in the form of Muppet RaceMania and Toy Story Racing.
If you’re willing to go a bit weirder, there’s Motor Toon Grand Prix, from the team that would go on to make Gran Turismo. It takes the cartoony aspect of what you might expect a kart racer to do and turns it up to 11, making karts bend as they go around turns and giving the rest of the presentation one heck of a tune up along those lines as well. Or you could go a bit more fantasy oriented… Final Fantasy oriented with Chocobo Racing, which was probably the least well remembered before the recent remake, but it’s blend of RPG and kart racing still has its fanbase.
And if you want to stretch the definition of kart racer just a little bit, we have three options for you. If you like your RC cars more than your go-karts, the excellent Re-Volt knows just how to play that while sticking to arcade, kart-racing like rules. The gravity defying Rollcage and its sequel lets you flip your “car” (basically four wheels on a metal block) on its head, drive upside down in circular tunnels, and run over big buildings to your leisure. And if you like just a little bit of edge to your racing, try out S.C.A.R.S. – the karts are more ATVs than karts, but they’re still arcade-handling, weaponized machines with ridiculous courses. If we stretch the definition any more though, we’ll end up in Wipeout territory…
And that’s not even where the buck stops, but if I keep going I’ll be talking forever. Long story short, Mario absolutely isn’t the king of this castle. The sheer variety in kart racing from the competition means that Mario was frantically fighting for the top (and in a lot of cases, losing) throughout most of the franchise’s life. Considering what kart racing is like, it’s honestly appropriate. Have you ever played any of these games? Any recommendations for kart racers that eat Mario’s lunch? Feel free to comment if you know. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see if I can clip a second off my time on that damn lava course in Kirby Air Ride…
2 thoughts on “Forget Mario Kart 64: Playstation Is the Best Kart Racing Console”
Check out Power Drift… Originally an Arcade Machine, released on Sega Saturn and Nintendo 3DS. There is also a very special Dreamcast version found on Yu Suzuki’s Game Works Vol.1
Oh man, now I miss Diddy Kong Racing.