Japan saw the release of the original Motor Toon Grand Prix racing game for the first PlayStation model shortly after the console’s release back in 1994. The Japanese market loved the silly, cartoonish look of the game and touted it so much that there became a demand in other markets for it. Alas, though, the original MTGP was only available in Japan and was never made available in the United States or other markets.
Release in the United States
Eventually, Sony listened to non-Japanese PlayStation fans and released a title called Motor Toon Grand Prix in the United States for the PlayStation. As it turns out, this wasn’t actually the original game and was, in fact, the second in the series, known in Japan as Motor Toon Grand Prix 2, just repackaged for the U.S. market. Even though this wasn’t exactly the game that American gamers had been hoping for, it was so much like the first game that they were still quite happy with it. The game was extremely popular and got high praise from fans and critics alike, who compared the racing game’s setting and tracks to scenes out of Toon Town, the fictional city for cartoon characters in Disney’s movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It was as visually appealing as it was fun to play.
The game remained popular among PSOne fans, and although there was high demand for it, Sony curiously left the title out when they began their PSOne Classics brand, which sold re-releases of popular games for the original PlayStation console. But finally, after the creation of the online PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 console, Sony decided to re-release the American version of Motor Toon Grand Prix as a $5.99 USD download. This is still the very same game from 1996, and many fans of the original title were happy to have a digital copy of the game rather than having to worry about a hard copy – which, by the way, is what prompted fans to ask for the release in the first place, as their original copies of Motor Toon Grand Prix had become scratched and damaged from all the use!
The Same Game You Remember
As already stated, PS3 owners will find nothing changed in the PSN version of MTGP. Everything that first attracted fans is still there. Players who are new to the title will find an enjoyable racing game along the lines of Mario Kart. Track layouts are challenging even for veteran racing game fans, and they will enjoy the transparent track loops that allow them to see what other cars are doing. They will also find that they have weapons at their disposal for use in slowing down their opponents – Banana peels, oversized weights, dynamite, and many other cartoon mainstays. Another fun element, as in cartoons, cars will stretch and bend when going around corners and then snap back into shape. The happy, silly background music is the proverbial icing on the cake. You start off with a few levels and simpler tracks, but as you progress in the game, newer tracks that offer more challenges – and new weapons to slow down the other drivers -will open up to you.
Polyphony Digital, developer of the Motor Toon games, has said that they would like to make new games for the series that utilize the PS3’s motion technology and other new features unavailable to them in the 1990s. The PlayStation 4 is already in development, so it’s possible that they will hold off creating a new game until then. But if all goes as hoped, we should see a new Motor Toon Grand Prix game at some point in the future!
By Alan Kairouz