Digimon Racing (デジモンレーシング Dejimon Rēshingu?) is a racing video game developed by Griptonite Games and published by Bandai (now Namco Bandai Games) for the Game Boy Advance. Part of the Digimon media franchise and video game series, it utilizes Digimon's characters and elements. Its gameplay largely resembles that of traditional racing games, but also utilizes elements of kart racing and action games. Its eleven playable characters can be increased to over 40 via Digivolution.
Digimon Racing uses Mode 7 and voice acting. The game was initially announced at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2003 and later exhibited at E3 2004. It was released on April 1, 2004 in Japan; April 30 in Europe; and September 13 in North America. It received mixed reviews from critics upon release, with criticism directed at its resemblance to other kart racers of the time and praise at some aesthetic and gameplay aspects.
Digimon Racing is a racing video game that utilizes characters and elements from Digimon as well as those of traditional racing games. The game follows a group of Digimon competing in a racing tournament within the Digital World, home to all Digimon. The purpose of the grand prix is to determine who is the best racer; thus, they use specially designed karts that equate all contestants in terms of ability.
Digimon Racing's gameplay largely resembles that of traditional racing games. It focuses on competing against seven CPU-controlled characters in cup races consisting of three laps. The usage of items to attack opponents and improve one's own condition is an integral part of the gameplay, and adds an element of kart racing games. A new feature in the game is "kart hopping": using the karts to jump onto opponents, slowing them down. This adds an element of action gameplay. Digivolution, a recurring theme in Digimon, also plays a role in the game. Driving over energy hotspots scattered throughout the tracks increases an energy meter located at the bottom left of the game's HUD. As the meter increases, the player traverses the Digimon's evolutionary line, becoming more powerful and ultimately gaining the ability to use a special attack.
The game's fifteen tracks—four of which are available immediately—are based on conventional video game environments such as jungles, volcanoes, and cities. After completing a track for the first time, the player unlocks a time trial mode for this track, and a boss battle. The action-oriented boss battles involve defeating a generally static Digimon using items scattered throughout the areas, which are not designed as race tracks. The player can also compete in single races unrelated to the story in any unlocked tracks. The game uses the Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter or Game Link Cable accessories for a multiplayer racing mode supporting up to four players.
The game features eleven Digimon as playable characters. Eight characters are available immediately; the rest are unlockable by completing cup races. However, the Digivolution mechanic increases the total number of playable Digimon to over 40. The cast predominantly includes popular Digimon from the Digimon anime. Characters' racing abilities differ through their ranking in three areas: speed, handling and acceleration.
Unlike previous games in the series which were developed by Japanese companies, Digimon Racing's development was handled by the Kirkland, Washington, United States-based Griptonite Games. However, Digimon series veteran Bandai (now Namco Bandai Games) returned to publish the game. It was the first original Digimon game for the Game Boy Advance, since Digimon Battle Spirit and Digimon Battle Spirit 2 were ports of WonderSwan Color games. The game uses the Mode 7 engine to create three-dimensional gameplay on the handheld console otherwise incapable of such a feat. It occasionally uses voice acting during races, uncommon in Game Boy Advance games. The game was initially announced at E3 2003. It was later exhibited at E3 2004, with the North American release announced for August 2004. Upon completion of development, the game received a rating of "E" (Everyone) from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and "3+" from Pan European Game Information (PEGI).
Digimon Racing's release fell on April 1, 2004 in Japan; April 30 in Europe; and September 13 in North America. The game received mixed reviews from critics upon release; it has a score of 62% at Metacritic and 63.67% at GameRankings. Critics criticized the game for its close resemblance to other kart racers of the time. IGN's Craig Harris and 1UP.com's Garnett Lee stated that Digimon Racing's gameplay mirrored that of Crash Nitro Kart and the Mario Kart series respectively. Aside from the familiar format, critics praised specific aesthetic points such as the graphics and music (GameZone's Michael Lafferty) and the tracks' layouts and themes (Lee). Aspects of the gameplay were also praised, such as control (Harris and Lee), multiplayer mode (Lee), replay value, and kart hopping (Harris). Nintendo Power stated that "[t]he racing action is similar to that of other kart games, but the Digimon influence adds a fun gameplay edge." Famitsu's four reviewers gave the game scores of 5, 5, 7, and 6 out of 10, respectively, resulting in a total score of 23 out of 40. Allgame's T.J. Deci gave the game three stars out of five, although he did not provide a more thorough review.
- "Digimon Racing for Game Boy Advance". GameSpot. Retrieved March 22, 2010.[permanent dead link]
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- Lee, Garnett (October 29, 2004). "Digimon Racing Review from 1UP.com". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- Harris, Craig (September 7, 2004). "Digimon Racing - Game Boy Advance Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- Deci, T.J. "Digimon Racing - Overview - allgame". Allgame. Archived from the original on February 15, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- Navarro, Alex (May 12, 2004). "Digimon Racing First Look". GameSpot. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- Lafferty, Michael (June 18, 2004). "Digimon Racing Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on January 23, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- Harris, Craig (May 14, 2003). "E3 2003: Digimon Racing". IGN. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- "Digimon Racing for Game Boy Advance". GameRankings. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
- "Digimon Racing (gba) reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. Archived from the original on September 23, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- Famitsu (799). April 9, 2004. Missing or empty
- Nintendo Power (184): 124. October 2004. Missing or empty