At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players
Matt Bailey Wii Neko Entertainment Neko Entertainment 1-4 (Split-screen)
Requirements Also on...
314 Blocks to download game PlayStation 2

Heracles: Chariot Racing review

There's a whole variety of WiiWare titles available to purchase now, ranging from great original titles like LostWinds to continuations of classic series like the Final Fantasy games. Heracles: Chariot Racing is another group altogether; a re-release of a game that previously appeared on another system, now available much more cheaply and easily. Originally released on the PlayStation 2, Heracles: CR is a kart-based racing game in the style of Mario Kart, featuring a Greek theme, hence the "Heracles" (the ancient Greek name for Hercules) and "Chariot Racing" parts of the title.

The game features a story that involves Heracles being involved in a series of chariot races, though you also have a choice of 8 other characters from Greek mythology, including Medusa and Poseidon. The main element of single player action is the fairly standard championship set-up, with three cups, the first two with 5 races, while the third is an amalgamation of the previous two, and the next cup is unlocked when you win the previous one. There's also options for a single race or time trials. Heracles: CR also includes the standard 4-player multiplayer you'd expect in a kart racer, with championship, single player and battle modes available.

The actual racing in Heracles: CR is fairly enjoyable, with a good sense of speed and some rather Mario Kart-like power ups. These range from projectile weapons to mines and turbos, although they don't give you as much chance to make your way up the ranks as you might expect. On the other hand, there aren't very many other players on track that you need to fight through; in single and multiplayer there's always just 6 racers. You can also pick up shields to boost your kart's characteristics, in a similar manner to the coins in Super Mario Kart. On the control front it was surprising to find that the game doesn't support full motion controls; holding the Wii Remote sideways, maybe in a Wii Wheel, is a common feature of racers on the platform, but instead you use a combination of the Remote and Nunchuck to control the karts. It seems to work well enough, with control stick being used to steer, A to accelerate, B to fire, C to jump, and Z to brake, though there is some motion as you can give the Remote a flick to jump too, and in order to slide around corners you need to tilt the Nunchuck in the direction of travel. This can be a bit awkward to pull off, particularly in some of Heracles: CR's tight corners, though generally it isn't too frustrating. The limited motion controls likely stem from the game's roots as a PlayStation 2 title, and this probably also explains why the game looks a bit dated compared to other titles on the Wii or even WiiWare.

How does it shape up in comparison with Nintendo's own Mario Kart Wii, then? Well, simply put it's not as fun and with limited in-game music the atmosphere can be a bit dead at times. There's also an issue of depth, with only 3 cups available and no online multiplayer. On the other hand, it doesn't have to compete directly; at only 800 Wii Points or £5.60, Heracles: CR is a much cheaper release than Mario Kart Wii which is at least 5 times that price. It may not stack up as a full-priced alternative, but the value here means it's certainly worth investigating for those not willing to pay for the full game or for those who want a nice complimentary title.

Ratings

Overall Heracles: Chariot Racing is a solid, if not particularly special, kart-racing title and while it may not match up to Mario Kart Wii, it certainly offers a good value-for-money alternative. 6/10

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