Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Speed Racer: The Video Game

Speed Racer: The Video Game

Fall 2008 Video Games
Ages: 6 - 14 yrs.
Price: $49.99
Gaming System: Nintendo Wii
Like the 2008 movie Speed Racer, this racing game is filled with endless death-defying leaps and rolls, blinding-speed jousting and battling, outrageous crash explosions, amazing futuristic corkscrew tracks and a dazzling display of colorful racer-brain visuals. Start off by taking the in-game tutorial so you have a clue once the pedal hits the metal. Then, choose your car from more than a dozen models. For steering, if you have the Wii Wheel, it's compatible; if not, use the motion-sensing remote holding it sideways and turning left and right. The controls are pretty good and Wii's hands-on remote controls are an added pleasure.

In this racer, the better you do-meaning not hitting walls, successfully busting up opponents, completing tricks and winning races-the more powerful your car gets for the next level of racing. Unfortunately, there are only five track designs, so the same-old gets old too fast. And while the cars and tracks themselves are graphically sweet, the surrounding environments are sparsely rendered and drab-quite unlike the movie. Final downside is that this game doesn't pack a lot of replay value. While the movie's plot is largely left on the videogame cutting-room floor, all the speed (300 mph) and bluster (20 cars racing cross country) translates into a fast and furious gaming experience that runs out of gas.

Youngsters who are aching for a racing game, or who loved the movie, will enjoy this-for a while. But experienced racing gamers won't stay long on these loopy tracks.

Don Oldenburg   ©2008 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

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