Virtual Karting II

Title           Virtual Karting II
Game Type       Simulation
Company         Licensed by Fabio Bizzetti to Islona Entertainment;
                Epic Marketing (1998)
Players         1
Compatibility   AGA; must boot from floppy on unexpanded A1200
HD Installable  Yes
Submission      Brian Horner (

I've never tried racing a kart, but I don't think that makes it
impossible for me to say that this is a rather bad simulation and
boring game.

In the original, the worst failing was that it used the horrible 'push
forward to accelerate' method to control the kart. That has been corrected
now, and you can use the joystick's firebutton. Keyboard control has also
been implemented. This makes playing more enjoyable, yet that isn't saying
a lot.

All of the improvements are listed thusly: improved control; 6 tracks
instead of 3 (2 easy; 2 medium; 2 difficult); 2x1 resolution capability;
dithering improved (yet so minor as to not make a difference); objects on
the road and water reflections (you won't even notice them); easy mode
(not saying much, as it might give you a couple more nanoseconds for the
other karts to overtake you); and the engine sounds are slightly deeper.
Out of these, only the control enhancement is most appreciated. Why aren't
there more tracks? How about a track editor or a league/championship to
compete in? Concerning the karts, you still have only the original two to
choose from (a 100cc [described as 80cc in the manual] and the 125cc). As
you might have expected, not much a difference could be detected between
the two.

When you start playing, you will not find any type of "3-2-1-GO!"
sequence; you're thrust into motion already. Even worse, other karts will
already be ahead of you. Your tiny kart (and feet) that appear at the
bottom of the screen look ridiculous, compared to the larger trees and
scenery going by. This is because the camera is high, which is good
because you can see more of the track and it's somewhat easier to judge
the corners. If you make your kart larger, things look better but play is
even tougher. Whichever you prefer, the high-camera display is always the

During play, which always begins in 3D mode, you can turn off your kart
display; switch between 2x2 and 2x1; turn on/off objects on the sides of
the road; change the camera height just a bit; and switch off water
reflections. None of these are for getting you more noticeable speed since
the the programmer, Mr. Fabio Bizzeti, did an awesome job in getting this
to run at up to 50 fps even on the unexpanded machine.

If you switch to 2D mode, you're in an overhead view. The screen zooms in
and out depending on the speed of your kart. That's pretty neat, yet you
will feel that the game has suddenly slowed down. The sense of speed you
have in 3D is gone, yet is is easier to play in 2D. When going as fast as
you can -- and the camera is pulled out far -- the view of the road is
better. In addition, if you happen to drive a bit off the side of the
road, you don't lose as much speed as you would in 3D. Another bonus is
that you can actually see other karts coming from behind you and you could
try and block them. In 3D, all you have to rely on are the sounds on an
approaching vehicle; no way to look behind.

You have unlimited qualifying laps before trying a 5-lap race. The
difficulty settings are completely wrong; no matter which difficulty mode
you choose, you will mostly find yourself around 6th (the last) place,
hoping to make it to the end of the lap so you can get a few more seconds
to help complete the next lap. It's a rare event if you complete the
entire race. There is just not enough time to get the laps in. Unless you
do each lap perfectly - which includes not hitting the sides of the track,
other karts, and braking/ accelerating at just the right moments - you
haven't a chance. Everything gets too hard too quickly and you won't want
to keep coming back.

There should be much more to this game. It's too much like the
original and is quite disappointing.

1/18/2002; TESTED ON A1200/68030@40mhz/32megs fast RAM

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