Disney World game races into greatness

“Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour” Trivia:

“Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour” was developed by Crystal Dynamics and then published by Edios Interactive, the publishers best known for developing the following franchises: “Tomb Raider,” “Hitman,” “Commandos,” “Deus Ex,” “Legacy of Kain,” “Thief,” “TimeSplitters” and “Fear Effect,” all of which are generally more violent than “Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour.”

As alluded to in the submission from Daniel Pope, the game included primarily new characters — the only three characters in the game who had appeared in other media before the release of the game were Chip, Dale and Jiminy Cricket, who was featured in the Disney film “Pinocchio.”

Editor’s Note: This is an article in our ongoing “Great Video Game” series in which readers and staffers alike are asked to submit a few hundred words about a video game that they consider to be great. With this week’s main entry celebrating “NASCAR Thunder 2003,” online reader Daniel Pope wanted to ensure that another racing game made our list as well: “Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour.”

By Daniel Pope

Sometimes a video game is more than just a video game. “Tetris” opened the public’s eyes to the dangerous yet rewarding task of bricklaying. “Star Fox 64” showed people that frogs make absolutely useless fighter pilots. “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” proved that even a reviled, unwanted game can find a nice home in a New Mexico landfill. Then there’s “Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour.” It’s pretty fun as well.

“Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour” (or “WDWQ: MRT,” as it’s known to fans) is a kart racer with a twist: most racing video games don’t take place inside Walt Disney World, but this one does. You know what that means? That means you can finally go down Splash Mountain without waiting in a long line or getting your fanny pack all wet.

All the best Disney World rides are faithfully recreated here: from Big Thunder Mountain to Pirates of the Caribbean. There’s even a level based off of the Eddie Murphy film “The Haunted Mansion.”

(Editor’s Note: Just for clarification, this is a joke based on the fact that Eddie Murphy’s film is based off of the ride at Disney World, not the other way around. With a 13 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I don’t think the film “The Haunted Mansion” inspired much of anything.)

Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck — these characters all have one thing in common: they’re nowhere to be found in this game. Instead, players are introduced to new personalities like Amanda Sparkle and Bruno Brissle. These characters never really took off in the way I’d hoped they would.

A Google image search of “Bruno Brissle” mostly returns pictures of pop star Bruno Mars. I thought that maybe if I typed in “Bruno Mars” I might be rewarded with photos of Bruno Brissle, but alas, just more Bruno Mars. Pardon my French, but the complete media blackout of this loveable character is absolute hogwash.

“Magical Racing Tour” has certainly seen its share of detractors over the years. The storyline is admittedly weak. After accidentally destroying the fireworks machine, Chip and Dale (of the “Rescue Rangers”) must find all of the pieces scattered throughout the park in order to correct their blunder. It is never really clarified why Chip and Dale can’t just set off their aerial pyrotechnics manually, but I assume it has something to do with Florida’s strict policy regarding the usage of fireworks by anthropomorphic creatures.

I remember lots of people complained that the game shared very little in common with the “Twisted Metal” series. While technically true, I never really understood the basis of this grievance.

Sure, “Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour” never set the world on fire. Maybe its title was too long. Maybe the lack of famous characters turned people off. Maybe the plot was too outlandish. Or maybe, just maybe, it was simply too ahead of its time.

Does reading this article make you think of a video game that you consider great? Please send us an email at lariat@baylor.edu with a suggestion for a “Great Video Game.” Please include a few hundred words on why you consider your game to be great and you just might find your opinion here.