The thought of Michael Schumacher in a go-kart might seem a bit strange when you consider the fact that he seems to win every F1 race without a worry in the world, but it's how he started his racing career all those years ago, where just like in the Formula 1, he won a number of championships. Michael Schumacher Racing World Kart 2002 sees him make his return to the championships that made him famous.
Being an officially licensed game of Michael Schumacher, it seems almost obligatory that his face adorns every screen possible, and during the installation and loading of the game this is very much the case, with a different cheeky grin from Michael at almost every opportunity possible.
Once loaded you get the choice of a number of different karts in the FUN, ICA and FSA classes, and can take part in either training, time trial or full championship racing. It's a good idea to start with the training mode, and this allows you to not only get to grips with the control of the kart, but also set some fastest lap times, and unlock the circuits that you are going to race on.
Graphics are fairly good, although not up to the standard of more modern racers, as there's no photorealistic textures on buildings and trackside objects - it does look good though, and there's clearly been plenty of work carried out to represent the locations that you are racing in, and one benefit of the graphics not being photorealistic is the fact that the scenery does seem to shift across the screen at impressive speeds.
Handling of the karts feels very realistic, and you can throw your kart around corners with the back-end hanging out just as a real kart would do, and when viewed from the camera that represents the drivers eye-level it looks very realistic and makes you feel as if you are actually in the kart, especially on the indoor arenas.
Sometimes the trackside barrier appears to vanish as you drive parallel to it, which can be a bit disconcerting, especially if you're in a complex part of the circuit and are following the barriers to know where to turn - it seems to vanish because of the fact that it's only a 2D object, and has no real width to it, and although this isn't a major problem, it's about the only real graphical glitch that we could find.
Unfortunately there is no form of multiplayer racing in Michael Schumacher Racing World Kart 2002, so you can't race against a friend in real time across a LAN or over the internet. However there is an online league where you times for each race are uploaded to the official website, and you can also download ghost car data from the fastest drivers to see if you're able to race a lap faster than them - it's interesting to note that the PlayStation version of the game that has recently been announced will have split screen multiplayer racing.
Circuits are well designed, and the indoor arenas are especially convincing, with one of our favourites being the first indoor track in Japan, with it's tricky twists and multiple levels. Other tracks are more basic, being all on one level such as the French street circuit, but all of them seem to be fun to drive and require enough level of skill to complete them without crashing.
Michael Schumacher Racing World Kart 2002 is an enjoyable racer which achieves it's aim of representing kart racing very well, and makes you feel like you are driving a real go-kart against Schumacher and his racing pals. However the lack of true multiplayer mode is a shame, and probably the biggest omission from the game overall, from an otherwise very impressive title.Overall score: 7 out of 10
Recommended Price: £29.99
Available: NowBuy Michael Schumacher Kart Racing 2002 from Amazon