Written by: by Donald A. Hill Jr.
List Price: $30
180MHz or greater PowerMac
I sat down to play this game on my Quadra 605 at home. Of course, this was before I read the system requirements. Not even my lowly PowerMac 6100 at work was up to the task. Fortunately, we have a 9600/300 we're using for testing up here, or else Bob (ATPM's reviews editor) and you would still be waiting for this review.
I had a small problem at the start. Opening up the CD shows two folders, one for if you have QuickDraw 3D, and one for if you don't. They're mislabeled. Chalk it up to being left-handed. This didn't bode well for things to come.
Ever driven a Go-Cart? Hot Carts puts you in the seat of a Go-Cart, racing against three others on various tracks. I mostly played against the computer, however, there's a two player option, where you both play on the same screen. I have to say most of my trouble with this game came from the 'steering wheel'. The default settings of 4, 5, and 6 on the numeric keypad for left, straight, and right can be changed if need be. And, being left handed, maybe I should have tried this.
It wouldn't seem to matter, however, as the steering mechanism was klunky, at best. The author's assumption is that the Carts all travel at top speed, so I didn't have the extra burden of an accelerator, fortunately. Unfortunately, this makes for a very lousy first play, as you attempt to get used to the steering wheel. Pressing on the 4 key, for instance, turns you slightly left, and three more times for a hard left. The problem is, lifting up on the key doesn't return the steering wheel to straight, you have to press the 5. Maybe I'm uncoordinated, but even after I mastered this, I still came in last every time. The justification for the Carts all travelling at top speed is that the computer Carts weave. Uh-huh. I didn't ever get close enough to see this. There are speed-up pylons that fall from the sky; however, maneuvering to pick them up usually crashed me into a wall, causing an immediate slow down.
I only raced on the oval track to get my feet wet, however, several other tracks are provided. There's also a track editor that I fooled around with, which seemed limited in its scope. Although, I did have much more fun with this than the actual game.
MSRP for Hot Carts is $29.95. When I showed it to my friend, he asked, "Did you get this out of the $5 bin?" And while I was play testing it, the owner of the 9600, after seeing the cheesy graphics, said, "I give this two thumbs down." If you're looking for a game for your kids, this might fill the bill, but as a serious racing game, I'm sure there are better ones out there. You make the call.