World Racing

Review: World Racing

World Racing then…it's hardly a game that features on most people's most wanted list, but it promised to be a decent addition to the GameCube's roster of 'realistic' driving sims. It's a shame then that the Synetic-developed World Racing turns out to be something of a dud.

But it's not from lack of trying on the developer's part. On paper, World Racing sounds excellent- an impressive array of tracks, 117 in all, across seven massive environments varying from Nevada to the Alps, 48 missions, and over a hundred officially licensed Mercedes cars. However, World Racing on the whole fails to deliver upon its promise, due to a fatal combination of dodgy graphics and sound, somewhat unresponsive handling, and a criminal lack of inventiveness or innovation.

Presentation & Graphics:

Graphics are a decidedly mixed bag, to be honest. The car models are detailed quite nicely, but are still a far cry from the beauty of Burnout 2's. They are deformable though which is pleasing. The environments while massive in scale and quite varied, are uninspiring and motionless, and erratic in terms of quality. The draw distance is commendable though, with little fogging or pop-up in evidence. Plenty of amusing, if incongruous incidental touches liven up things somewhat, whether it's a helicopter swooping down or an alien spacecraft floating across the sky. It's disappointing though to note numerous, elementary graphical glitches which detract from the experience. If you decide to drive into water, the water disappears the moment you make contact with it, and becomes invisible. Driving on the seafloor? You might as well be on the motorway as far as the game is concerned. Drive through animals and dodgy early N64-era pixellated trees? You bet. Should you climb up a hill more than a few feet, the sky may well disappear before your eyes. All of this might be excusable if it were pushing serious amounts of polygons around at 60 frames per second, but it most certainly isn't. The framerate can stutter and jerk at times, too. Add in disappointing loading times and fuzzy textures and you've got a technically deficient racer on your hands. In the game's defence though, two-player mode runs relatively smoothly and is quite playable. The menu screens are clunky, difficult to navigate and hardly intuitive. I certainly got the distinct feeling of déjà vu while playing the game- you really have seen it all before.


Very little that needs your attention drawn to here. Like an alarming number of games in recent times, World Racing features a licensed soundtrack, this time by the Ministry of Sound. What this means is plenty of generic, irritating dance music that does nothing to enhance the atmosphere of the game. Sound effects are the usual racing fare- thud, vroom- you know the score. Nothing to write home about.



Every game worth its salt these days has got a unique selling point- a hook of some sort that separates it from its competitors. In the case of World Racing, the hook is a novel one - huge, fully accessible environments. See that mountain miles in the distance? Or that lake over there? You can drive right to it! You can choose to participate in a race, or abandon the others and go exploring. It's a nice touch, and one we'd like to see expanded upon in future racing games. But for all its cleverness, it doesn't feel half as exhilarating as sailing the Great Sea as Link, or being let loose in Delfino Plaza. Part of this feeling can be put down to the handling, which isn't as intuitive or natural as Burnout 2's or even EA's middling Need For Speed Underground. The rest of it can be blamed on the sheer mediocrity of it all.

What World Racing lacks is a dose of the X factor, which made Mario Kart Double Dash a good racer into a stunningly brilliant one, and made the N64's Beetle Adventure Racing into a first-rate title. It's a shame, because everything a decent racing game needs is present and correct- training and practise modes, plenty of options to tinker around with, a wealth or tracks and cars, and more licenses than you can shake a stick at. But ultimately, what lets World Racing down is that whatever it does reasonably well, another title does better. Want a 'realistic' top-class racing game? Then you'll already have got hold of Criterions' superb Burnout 2. Need a brilliantly fun and exhilarating racer with the emphasis on dishing out justice with weapons? Then you'll be the satisfied owner of Mario Kart. Which begs the question- why would you want World Racing? Perhaps the most likely demographic I can think of would be Mercedes obsessives, who value realism over all else. And if that's you, then by all means, go ahead and pick up this game. It's a perfectly playable, albeit bog-standard racer that does very little disastrously wrong, but not much particularly well.


If you're the owner of any of the aforementioned games, then you'll find that World Racing won't be spending all that much time in your disc tray. But there's a lot to see, plenty of competitions and races, and this shouldn't go unnoticed. Overall it's a big game, and as such is to be commended. It's a shame that what is there is so bog standard.

Final Say:

Ultimately, World Racing comes as a big dissapointment. It screams 'average' at every turn and fails to deliver an experience that is significantly different to anything else out there right now. However, it will find it's market. But for everybody else, why have cotton when you can have silk? Just buy Burnout 2 instead.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Look up mediocrity in the dictionary. It'll be under World Racing.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability2
  • Visuals2
  • Audio2
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Go anywhere you like
Plenty of cars/tracks
Halfdecent two player


Burnout 2 and Mario Kart exist.
No 4player
Plain average
Dodgy visuals

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