Trawling through YouTube is like walking through a wreckage full of amazing stuff, like this video footage of the Atari Jaguar and an ill-fated, little known game called Atari Karts that we kinda stumbled upon from Jeff’s Video Game Site.
Released as a sort of competitor to Mario Kart, Atari Karts followed a similar pattern for a racing game. You picked a racer with bad names and equally outrageous looks such as Pum King, Skully and Haratari, each with their own stats in speed, accuracy and steering. And then you raced it, trying to win.
Its crowning achievement? Bringing in Bentley Bear from Bentley Bear’s Crystal Quest as a playable racer. Yes, we know that’s like making this doubly obscure. (I had to look Crystal Quest up, too.)
In order to unlock more racers, you had to plough through the games’ 3 different cups and four difficulty levels before racing off against a boss character in a one-on-one kart fight to the finish point. Beating the boss unlocked that character for subsequent playthroughs, and if you happened to have a second controller, you could also play it split screen. Remember, this is back when the idea of split screen was still a really, really, innovative idea.
The game was split down the middle when reviews first came out, with reviewers either screaming or ecstatic for its (literally) perfect AI, powerups (or lack thereof of memorable ones) and more. There were also comments on its pretty decent backgrounds and detailed characters as well. The racing itself, while pedestrian by our standards today, was also pretty fun and had a jump mechanic.