(I originally wrote this for the now defunct Retro Retreat in 2012. It’s been updated.)
It’s been suggested that there are certain pieces of pop culture that are so horrible they’ve actually had a hand in creating the angry review shows we’ve come to know, and love. Action Girlz *shudder* Racing is the video game equivalent of The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.
PROS: There is nothing positive about this game whatsoever.
CONS: Broken controls. Broken graphics. Broken grammar. Broken everything.
WTF?: The title screen music is eerily similar to Hanson’s Mmm bop song.
AGR is one of the worst console experiences you will ever have should you have the misfortune of playing it. It would be easy to simply point out that one look at the box should send you screaming in the other direction. From the Bratz doll knockoff mascots on the cover, to the fact it beckons Lewis Lovhaug’s “Because poor literacy is kewl” meme be printed on it’s cover as a subtitle. But the biggest thing to do this should be the fact that it was put out by Conspiracy Entertainment, and Data Design Interactive. Back when the Wii was first coming out Nintendo would relax it’s seal of quality restrictions so that more third parties might put out some material on the console. DDI would take full advantage of this, spearheading the shovelware situation that plagued the system in it’s launch year. Not content to simply push out cheaply rushed titles, DDI actually reskinned a handful of games several times over, and sold them as entirely different ones. For example, Anubis 2 (There was never an Anubis so figure that one out), is pretty much Ninjabread Man.
Anyway, AGR continues this trend of awful. I don’t like to have things compartmentalized to the point of bullet points. But this game pretty much requires it.
Starting with the graphics, (as they’re the first thing you’ll notice right away) the game has a penchant for stretched out low resolution textures. Even the title screen is a mess. The actual graphics of the gameplay don’t fare much better. when selecting a racer you’ll notice the character cards look nothing like the freakish Bratz doll knockoffs presented on the title screen. Once a race begins you will see visuals that are actually worse than a bottom rung N64 or PS1 title. That isn’t hyperbole. The models are insanely blocky, without any of the charm of Minecraft or Cubivore. Games where the intentional low fi visuals fit into a creative tapestry. These models instead reek of assembly line intent. Colored polygons slapped together to make characters with barely any artwork skinned to them. The textures that are there are very grainy, and washed out. Track designs aren’t very well put together either. they’re comprised of dead ends, out of nowhere 90 degree turns, and out of place hairpin turns. Coupled with the game’s other issues races are barely playable let alone winnable. There are also a lot of graphical glitches from inexplicable texture pop in, to geometry you will clip through.
Definitely not the worst part of the game, but certainly not very good either. A mild retooling of Hanson’s Mmm bop plays on the title (Changed BARELY enough to avoid infringement apparently) screen, and terrible background tunes accompany the races. Sometimes it’s the title screen music. Sound effects range from horrible to passable. From the car sounds to power up chimes, sound effects are forgettable at best. There are also quips you’ll hear from your Action Girl of choice. They never reach the level of offensiveness, but they will make you give yourself pause. You’ll find yourself wondering why they would include them, or what audience they were intended for.
AGR essentially has 3 main modes, with the option to have up to four profiles. There are single races, time trials, and a championship run. It steals from Mario Kart by making you go through 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc runs. But then it also has the audacity to make three difficulty levels within each. Doing this in turn unlocks other tracks provided of course you win. Which you won’t. Because EVERYTHING in this thing is broken. Steering is done much like in Excitetruck. Holding the controller horizontally, buttons facing yourself you tilt it left corner up for right turns, and vice versa. 1, and 2 buttons are your gas, and reverse. The A button is supposed to use the weapons you run over. NONE of this works properly at all. All of the characters oversteer to the point of either flipping the car over, and rolling, or leading you to weave back, and forth until the car loses control, and crashes. Crash you will too. Right into geometry that you will likely clip through, and fall under the map before being respawned back into place. And don’t even think about trying to use weapons because most of the time they won’t work. When they do you’ll find they don’t have the place shuffling gravity of Mario Kart, Blur, or even Crash Team Racing.
The only thing that helps a little, (but still not enough to make things playable) is the fact that you can press the D pad to go to a car bumper camera. Thus, making wobbling back, and forth ever so slightly more manageable. Other characters are unlocked by collecting a ton of flower icons by driving over them. None of the extra characters are fun to use or very interesting. They all have the same soulless look to them, and spout off similar insufferable quips. Time Trials, and Single Race are pretty much useless modes unless you can find someone masochistic enough to play this drivel with you. Like most racers you can time trial to beat your own times but you really, really won’t want to waste your time on it when there are so many better games you could be playing. Again, the problems will impede any ability you have at doing so. Yes this horribly broken title includes split screen multiplayer. You, and up to 3 victims can convulse your terrifying dolls through a glitch filled wonderland if you’re out of forks to jam in each other’s eyes. If by some miracle you can get past the initial cup in championship mode by coming in first my hats off to you. That said, it probably means Action Girlz Racing is the only game you own, and for that you also have my condolences.
Normally glitch filled, rushed games at least give the guilty pleasure feeling of “This game is so horrible, and yet it is so much fun to mock it for all of it’s stupendously grand failures.”. This game’s only reward is pain. Any success you do find in it, is quickly replaced with more anguish. Take the worst film you’ve ever seen. Granted it’s a subjective question, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. (Although I’d have to question the sanity of any man, woman, or child who found enjoyment upon playing this travesty, and I don’t say that lightly.) Ask yourself to remember how many minutes it took you to walk out of the theatre. If you didn’t walk out of the theatre try to remember how you felt not only emotionally, but physically. Action Girlz Racing will double those feelings without breaking a sweat.
AGR is one of the worst titles I’ve ever played if not THE worst game I’ve ever suffered through. It is THAT BAD. “But Deviot!” You may exclaim. “You reviewed Scene It?: Twilight Edition! Surely, it can’t be worse than that game!” Oh but it can. Quite simply it is. Granted, S.I.T.E. was a poorly executed trivia game, but it still had SOMETHING for fans of it’s license. AGR is a train wreck in every sense of the euphemism. Avoid this like the plague, and if you see someone contemplating it as a gift for their child or grandchild you slap them on the wrist, and exclaim “NO!”. Avoid Action Girlz Racing at all costs.
Final Score: 0 out of 10 (Perish the thought!)