We like Karnaaj Rally a lot, even if it tries really hard to make you think it’s rubbish. The terrible box art and truly shocking title mask a game of fantastic depth and playability and stands as one of Wnuk’s finest first generation of new Jaleco offerings.
The concept is far from original. Karnaaj is a top-down racer in which you must progress through various leagues to unlock additional cars and tracks. However, the game delivers the concept admirably, making for an enormously enjoyable experience, as good as anything offered in the genre’s heyday during the early 16-Bit years.
As well as offering blistering playability, Karnaaj Rally shows off a bit too, flexing its graphical muscles as well as any Game Boy Advance game of late. The top-down view is made up of several layers of parallaxed surface, topped off by true-3D upright-standing features, a true visual feast, especially in the latter stages of the game.
Karnaaj is laden with cheesy Americanisms that will bring glee to some and grave annoyance to others. It’s a camp, retro racing fest that will appeal to veteran MegaDrive owners as much as it will to newcomers to top-down racing.
In times when poor, over-shoulder 3D racing is the norm, it’s really most refreshing to find such a pure, 2D game. Whatever the dimension, racing, when presented in its purest form, will always be fun, and this is surely as pure as it gets.
Highly recommended. Let’s hope that the box art is changed for the European release…