: Michael Schumacher
Racing World Kart 2002 (a.k.a. Schumacher Kart)
: JoWooD Productions
: PC CD-ROM
, Sony Playstation
The ultimate in Germanic sporting celebrity videogame endorsements, MSRW Kart sadly doesn't pit the large-chinned Formula 1 champion against seven other cartoon renditions of Grand Prix drivers. There are no red shells or banana skins on offer here, this is instead an authentic simulation of the sport of kart racing, where Michael Schumacher learnt his trade. (Apparently his parents built him his own track to practice on.)
The game offers sixteen races (a few take place on variants of the same track) spread over three classes of competition, with later classes only made available once enough points have been won to qualify. The game is quite difficult in spite of the generally slow speed of the karts. Although it feels like the driving model is reasonably realistic, the handling of the karts is very sluggish. Mistakes are costly and the computer-controlled opponents stick mechanically to the racing line.
The courses are quite varied and are supposedly based on real-world karting venues from around the globe. Environments include city streets,
concrete tracks inside a building, deserts, countryside, etc., complete with stereotypical scenery for that country. The Playstation version suffers from inferior visuals to the PC version, and also introduces some collision problems (some barriers can be passed through, while even a slight rise at the edge of the track brings you to a juddering halt).
There is not much in the way of configuration options on offer in either version (PC or PSX), although you can choose the colour of your kart, overalls and helmet. The game manual includes some brief information on taking up karting as a hobby. It is exceedingly unlikely that anyone but the most karting-obsessed individuals (with steering wheel and pedals for their PC) would consider picking up this game. The Playstation version is especially unattractive considering the large number of better racing games (both 'serious' simulations and fun kart games) available for the platform.
In spite of the game's unrestricted age rating, parents may want to be aware that the game's FMV intro cinematic features close-ups of a creepy, Gerry Anderson-esque CGI version of Michael Schumacher, staring at the viewer and smiling enigmatically.