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View Full Version : Michael Schumacher Racing World Kart 2002 v1.2 Reviewed


Doug Rausch
04-09-2003, 06:00 PM
Any racing fans out there? Any brave enough to try it on your Pocket PC? If so you need to try Michael Schumacher Racing World Kart 2002. You think that's a mouthful? Load it up...turns out it's a handful as well. <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/rausch-mar03-kart1.jpg" /> <br /><br /><!> <br /><i>If you think that the racing genre of games just doesn't play well on a Pocket PC because of screen size, frame rate, or controls, it may be time to change your opinion. Michael Schumacher Racing World Kart 2002 v1.2 does a great job of bringing seat-of-your-pants racing to the Pocket PC. The graphics are the best I've seen, the sounds really add to the experience (I highly recommend headphones for this one) and it is challenging. There are potential detractors such as product activation, but if you can live with these and you are a racing fan this game should be on you list.</i> <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/rausch-mar03-kart2.jpg" /><br /> <br /><span><b>If I can just get past the install...</b></span> <br />Installation is done through ActiveSync and begins pretty much as you would expect. One word of warning, this program is big, I mean really BIG. 10MB big, but it will run off of a storage card. Double clicking on the MSRW Kart 2002 icon starts ActiveSync and tells you the directory on your PC where the installation files are being loaded and that the install script is about to start. There is no option to change the directory where the install files are placed on your PC. Certainly not a killer, but Iíd like to have the option.<br /><br /><span><b>Product Activation</b></span> <br />If you're like me, no two words strike fear in your heart more than "product activation." Don't get me wrong, developers bust their tails to give users decent software and they need to be paid for their work and have some assurance their work won't be pirated. The folks at Inverse Entertainment built on the process of going to a registration Web site and receiving a product key. There are a few good ideas in their process but I hope they (and other developers) keep working on it.<br /><br />Once ActiveSync has installed the product a registration program starts on your Pocket PC. You are asked to fill in the series number you were given when you downloaded the game. This generates a product number which you are shown and (here's the interesting part) an email is generated in your Pocket Outlook outbox. You now need to send that email (you are connected to the Internet, right?) and take the product key that is sent to you and enter it into the registration program. That's itÖwell sort of.<br /><br /><span><b>Reinstall Hassles</b></span> <br />The requirement for two install keys, one when you download the product and another when you install it, strikes me as overkill, but if that is what a developer feels he needs to do to protect his livelihood, fine, just make it easy on me. Having the system generate an email to receive a registration key initially caught me off guard but it was nicer than having to jump to a Web site and manually get the key information. My real issue comes in when I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the product. <br /><br />Reinstalling is something a developer needs to consider. The potential for a hard reset is out there and folks may want to actually move the game from one storage location to another (this thing is 10MB remember). Inverse Entertainment does make the attempt to do the right thing. When you uninstall the product you are given the option to save your player and registration files for a future install. I'm thinking great, someone thought this through. Unfortunately it doesn't work. Support says it will be fixed in a future release. I hope they also allow the same key to work regardless of where the program is stored. As it is now youíll need to contact tech support to get your install key reactivated if you need to reinstall. <br /><br />My advice, grit your teeth and get past the install problems, a well-done racing game awaits!<br /><br /><span><b>And they're off</b></span> <br />Tap on the MSRW Kart 2002 icon and youíre off. Several splash screens fade in and out on your screen and then you are given the opportunity to load saved game data before arriving at the main menu. One look at the menu screen and you know this gameís offerings are going to be exceptional. A well-done 3D model of a kart rotates in front of you and subdued background music adds to the effect. Your first stop will be the driver menu where you can add your name to the list of drivers and select colors for you helmet, racing outfit, and kart. Also, take note of the load/save button on the main menu. The game doesn't remind you to save before exiting and itís a killer to lose those hard earned points in the championship round just because you forgot to hit save.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/rausch-mar03-kart3.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 1: Main Menu</i> <br /><br />Youíll also want to use the options menu for audio settings, inverting the screen for lefties, and customizing button layout. If you are going to excel at this game, your Pocket PC needs to support simultaneous button presses, if it doesn't you have to let off the accelerator to corner your kart and that is a sure way to end up in last place. Youíll still have fun playing but the winnerís circle will elude you. <br /><br /><span><b>Buckle up, you're in for a bumpy ride</b></span> <br />The game offers three different racing modes: training, time trial, and championship. Each mode presents you with three track classes, meet the requirement for one class and the next class is unlocked. Each class has several tracks available, 15 tracks total, so it should take you a while to master them all. In the training mode your goal is to beat a virtual opponent. In the time trial mode you have to beat the minimum track time to move on. Finally, in the championship mode you can either run a qualifying round to get a better starting position or skip it and get right into the race. You receive points for different finishes, 10 points for a first place finish down to one point for a sixth place finish. Accumulate the required number of points for a class of tracks and move on to the next class.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/rausch-mar03-kart4.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 2: Records for Championship Round</i> <br /><br /><span><b>Watch out for that turn</b></span> <br />The racing experience provided by MSRW Kart 2002 if great. The game takes full advantage of a fast 3D engine providing not only smooth moving karts to race against but plenty of roadside scenery to tempt you to take your eyes off the road. Iím pretty sure I even saw my tires throwing up grass when Iíd end up going off the road. Now thatís paying attention to detail and detail is evident throughout this game. The manual says there were driving physics developed especially for this game and I believe it. If you donít take the proper line on the track and try to recover you will skid or spin and hear a nice resounding crash as you connect with the wall. Detail is even evident in the sound effects, which can only be fully appreciated with headphones. Not only do you get realistic engine sounds and tire skidding, but as other racers come up from behind you can hear them approach and zoom past, that is if you're not successful in blocking them. <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/rausch-mar03-kart5.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 3: Edging out the competition</i> <br /><br />If you canít manage that blocking maneuver by sound alone then you can use one of the multiple camera angles provided. In addition to several forward camera views that place you either in a first person view or slightly behind and above the kart you are driving, you can also use a rear view to check on your competitors coming up behind and passing you.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/rausch-mar03-kart6.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 4: Off Roading</i> <br /><br /><span><b>Gotchas</b></span> <br /><li>Product activation needs to be modified to allow reinstalls to a different storage location or after a hard reset.<br /><br /><li>The introductory screens get old the 25th time you see them, there needs to be an option to turn them off entirely.<br /><br /><li>Play is difficult if your system doesn't support simultaneous button presses. Since I received my review copy of the program the developer has released a version with on-screen controls. This may help alleviate the problem. <br /><br /><li>The game should offer to save your player data before exiting. <br /><br /><li>Although not necessarily a gotcha, those of us who canít quite find the right line on the track would appreciate another less difficult level to proceed through. Difficulty only makes for a long playing game if you donít get overly frustrated with the experience.<span><b>Where to Buy</b></span> <br />MSRW Kart 2002 can be <a href="http://www.handango.com/PlatformProductDetail.jsp?siteId=311&platformId=2&productType=2&catalog=0ßionId=0&productId=59378">downloaded from Handango</a> or purchased for $19.99 (affiliate link). <br /><br /><span><b>Specifications</b></span> <br />This product has been tested by the developer to work on the following Pocket PC 2002 systems: iPAQ 3850, 3870, 3950, and 3970; Cassiopeia E200-G; Pocket LOOX; Toshiba e310, e570, and e740; o2 xda; and T-Mobile MDA. The program requires 10MB for storage and 8MB to run and it can be installed on a storage card. I was able to get the game to run fine on an iPAQ 3635 that has had a memory upgrade and been upgraded to Pocket PC 2002.<br /><br /><span><b>Conclusions</b></span> <br />To put it simply this is a great racing game. Sit down, put on some headphones, and enjoy. Iíd love to see a version that supported WiFi for head to head play. Now that would be cool!

Ed Hansberry
04-09-2003, 08:46 PM
Product Activation
Heinous. :evil:

Paragon
04-09-2003, 09:06 PM
Ok race fans....What's your fastest lap? On the first track (JPN, Kobe) my personal best is 00:37:92. Beat that! :)

Dave

sponge
04-09-2003, 09:27 PM
Keep in mind the splash screens fade out right away at a button press.

All my gaming as a child taught me to hit buttons until stuff happens ;)

fireflyrsmr
04-10-2003, 04:35 AM
how do you control the kart? as in steer it. is it a gear box kart or does it have a sliding expansion chamber extension control. as a former kart racer this sounds like an interesting game but i'm not really a gamer and everytime i try i game the controls are too frustrating. :roll:

krisbrown
04-10-2003, 09:16 AM
Er, left right..go
I think you are thinking of a Karting SIMULATOR!

You know..games where you can adjust the suspension preload and the compression rebound, completely uninteresting to me.

I like press 'A' to go :D

ps..picking up a Nokia 7650 next week, so will compare it to my SPV Smartphone, I promise to give an unbiased review 8)

awierenga
04-10-2003, 10:25 AM
> To put it simply this is a great racing game.

Give credit where credits due. This is a fantastic game, the combination of superb graphics with great gameplay like I have never experienced before in a racing game for ppc.

Tim Allen
04-10-2003, 07:25 PM
Looks like yet another excuse for us die-hard iPAQ 36xx users to upgrade to something that supports multiple button presses. Did you get a chance to try the version with the on-screen controls?

That activation process sucks! Looks like they need to think that through a bit more...

questionlp
04-10-2003, 08:29 PM
Re-posting...

I'll stick with Mario Kart (on the various platforms that it is on) particularly because I never really liked using the controls provided with most PDAs (at least with my experience with the Jornada 54x and 56x, iPaq 39xx, and the e740)... for me, racing games suffer the most (I haven't tried playing Street Fighter or other fighting games to know how well it is or isn't).

I have a GBA (not the new one, though I'm thinking about it) and the controls just seem better, mostly with fast-action games.

The other reason why I like Mario Kart is that it is fun, mostly pelting other racers with shells... that and the fact that you can actually do multiplayer games, something that makes racing/karting games fun!

But I do have to say that the graphics for the game do look nice...

Doug Rausch
04-11-2003, 03:57 AM
Looks like yet another excuse for us die-hard iPAQ 36xx users to upgrade to something that supports multiple button presses. Did you get a chance to try the version with the on-screen controls?

I know what you mean about my good 'ol 3635 but with flash-able ROM and visits to Pocket PC Techs I think it can live a good, productive, even longer life :wink: .

Unfortunately, I didn't get an updated version of MSRW Kart so I was never able to try the on-screen controls. I'm sure they would have made for an improved experience.

ppcsurfr
04-15-2003, 06:55 PM
Ok race fans....What's your fastest lap? On the first track (JPN, Kobe) my personal best is 00:37:92. Beat that! :)

Dave

How about this... 00:35:84 in JPN , Kobe, Mitzuma :lol:

This is a great game and they have fixed the registration problems. I've just received an email fromthem that the current version, v1.21 has been fixed. If you need to do a hard reset and re-install it on the same device, your code should work.

ppcsurfr