Tonka Raceway takes the checkered flag

Tonka Raceway
Reviewed On
Available For

Hasbro Interactive has driven car racing games to a new level of fun and complexity for the younger crowd. And this game offers a variety of options entertaining enough to keep the attention of youngsters’ speeding minds.

Not only does the player get to race, he or she gets to modify vehicles, change the race tracks included in the game, and even design their own race tracks.

This game offers the player three different racing scenarios: racing alone in Time Trial, 2-Player Racing against a friend, and the opportunity to race against the game’s own personal racers. The player is also given a choice of thirty vehicles [including cars and trucks] to race.

Each vehicle has its own stats in the areas of durability, acceleration, top speed, and handling. When players win races, they earn credits. These credits can be exchanged in the Upgrades Lab to enhance the player’s vehicle and improve the vehicle’s stats. Stats may also be temporarily improved during a race by running over such items as speed boosts, repairs, handling and top speed boosts. The game even allows for players to use their own vehicles that they have designed using another one of Hasbro Interactive’s CD-ROMs, Tonka Garage.

A nice option that this game gives players is the choice of what tracks they want to race upon. The game comes ready with four different terrains: desert, tundra, jungle and country. A player may choose to race on a ready made track, or a player may choose to modify or even design a new track to race.

Players should visit the Architect’s Trailer when they are in the mood for a change in tracks. This allows players to decide if they want their tracks to include ramps, curves, squeezes, straight stretches of road, crossroads or bumpy stretches of roads. The player can even add obstacles to give his or her track more of a challenge. The new or modified track is shown on a grid outline that helps with the placement of track pieces.

This game allows the player to view their own race through the Tonka TV Blimp. When prompted, a "videotape" of the last race’s finish can be viewed by the player. Victories can be enjoyed over and over again through this option.

One wonderful point about this game for children is the amount of positive feedback it gives in a variety of ways. The Press Box contains the top 10 record holders for the game. By pushing the headlines button, players may view the day’s racing winners and record holders. The awards button allows players to view the winners of any of the special awards given to players. Trophies won for races are also displayed in this area of the game. The Presses Room allows players to print out such items as stickers, characters, headlines featuring winners’ names, track design grids, deeds to tracks and of course a plethora of awards and certificates.

This is a very versatile and entertaining game for children. The controls are fairly simple for the driver, which is a plus for young children. The player must steer the vehicle by using the arrow keys.

It also is likely to hold players’ interest for many future races thanks to a variety of ever changing situations — because of the different race cars, upgrades, and changes in tracks that can be made.

The only complaint I can think of about this game is that it is marketed for five year olds and up, but the terminology used in this game could be a bit confusing for the younger crowd. With terms like durability and acceleration thrown into the stats, expect a few parental questions. Other than the terminology, this game should prove to be a winner with young racer enthusiasts.

Versatility, speed, great graphics and entertaining raceway announcers and characters collectively should make players feel like king of the road for a good many laps to come. Tonka Raceway gets 4 GiN Gems at the checkered flag!

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