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Sunday, April 13, 2014

SuperKarts and Manic Karts

John B. Marine | 5:08 PM | |
Most kart racing games are mostly cartoonish with kid-friendly characters and insane powerups. One kart racing game from Manic Media defied this convention and made a still-fun title to play when SuperKarts was created in 1995. It would be followed up by Manic Karts in 1996. Both games are now nearing 20 years old as of this post. I'd like to highlight on these two mid-1990s kart racing games for you in this post on "John's Race Space." So welcome to another post on JRS regarding these two racing titles!

--- SuperKarts and Manic Karts in General ---

Superkarts and Manic Karts are both fantasy-style kart racing games, but their appeal and character are much different compared to your average kart racing game. Most kart racing games usually have funny cartoon characters and bizarre items and weapons to use. This series is more focused on more sane driving. It still has the feel of a cartoon-like atmosphere, but this feels more like a proper racing/driving title than most other kart racing games.

The main powerups you have at your disposal are your Turbo and your Super Grip. The Turbo gives you a temporary boost of speed for when you need those extra MPH/KPH to pass or extend your lead. Tracks have pit roads for you to repair your kart and get fuel back into your kart. Tracks may even have various jumps so you can rocket ahead of your opposition. Each track is very different in how you race them and how you get around them. It is best to learn how each one is so you can make the most of racing each course. You can race a minimum of 4 laps to a maximum of 40 laps on each course. How hard you want to make the game depends on the settings you choose for the engine options. Each level of competition is separated by cubic centimeters of displacement in denominations of 50cc. You can do the easiest sort of races with 50cc engines. The hardest races are with the 200cc karts. Or if you want the fastest and most difficult racing, try the 200cc class. Racing in the 50cc or 100cc classes grants you some basic-looking karts. But if you try the 150cc or 200cc classes, you get these aggressive superkarts boasting the most serious speeds and toughest challenges.

Both games feature CD Audio for their respective soundtracks. You can enjoy CD music from these two games when you play them. I think it is possible for you to be able to play back your own CD music playing these games. There are a number of options available for graphics and audio for both games.

It is now time to look at both SuperKarts and Manic Karts.

--- SuperKarts (1995) ---

SuperKarts was releasd by Manic Media in 1995. Players are invited on a world tour of racing consisting of a 16-race championship. Do you have what it takes to become World Champion?

You may choose to do a single race or go through an entire season. If you race in a season, you can choose what level of kart racing you want to take part in. If doing Arcade Mode, you must finish 3rd or better to advance to the next event.

When doing racing in a Season, you can upgrade your kart with various performance parts and powerups. You can do things like upgrade your kart's engine, give it a bigger fuel tank, or even purchase things like Turbos and Super Grip. You could even bribe the officials into giving you more championship points! Do whatever it takes to win the championship!


There is really no difference among the characters. Whichever one you pick is basically personal preference. It doesn't matter which character you choose- just get out there and race! Here are the characters:

• Kevin Moore (USA)
• Charlie Smith (Great Britain)
• Klaus Krugel (Germany)
• Aki Sun (Japan)
• Katie Clark (Australia)
• Luis Sanchez (Brazil)
• Mustapha Gee (India)
• Ivan Zoomski (Russia)


The 16 tracks are set in eight locations. Each one has their own unique challenge. The first eight tracks are simple. The second eight tracks are more challenging and tricky. Each of the locations are based on the home locations of each character. Here is a look at all of the venues:

• Los Angeles - a beachy locale with some fairly simple corners.

• Great Britain - Here is a race on the city streets of London.

• India - This track is very expensive as you race around the roads of this palace.

• Australia - Try racing your way around this mining quarry.

• Germany - This venue is set in an industrial factory setting.

• Russia - Race in this snowy locale.

• Brazil - Can you become ruler of this Amazonian jungle setting?

• Tokyo - A tricky and treacherous locale under the neon lights of Tokyo.

Video Preview.

Check out SuperKarts:

^ "Manic Media Productions - SuperKarts - 1995"

--- Manic Karts (1996) ---

Manic Karts took away the cartoon fun of the previous game and got a bit more serious. It completely lacks the fun of its predecesor. The graphics get a nice upgrade.


The same eight characters from SuperKarts all return for action in Manic Karts. Nobody new was added. Just the same eight characters return for another world tour of racing.


While there are no changes among characters, a lot of the locations haven't changed.

• Brazil - this is a race around a jungle setting.

• Germany - perform your racing around this proper kart racing track.

• Mexico - this locale features a Wild West style across a dusty setting.

• Detroit - race around an industrial setting at night.

• London - a race around the streets of London. Its second course is the longest in the game.

• France - try your luck around this setting in the French Alps.

• New York City - many tricky corners around NYC's streets will test you.

• Australia - race around this beach setting.

Video Preview.

This video previews Manic Karts:

^ "Manic Karts MS-DOS"

--- SuperKarts and Manic Karts: Final Thoughts ---

Both SuperKarts and Manic Karts were two very fun kart racing games. I think even today's sim racing types could appreciate how much more driver-focused this kart racing game is compared to the more cartoon variety kart racing titles. These two games took themselves seriously, but not serious to the extent of not being as fun. It was really Manic Karts that was more serious in its appeal and execution compared to the more casual SuperKarts. Either way, both games are worth playing even in this day and age.

If you'd like to buy either or both of these games, here are two items for you:

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