Midway's CART Fury Racing is a decent fast-paced arcade-style racing game that certainly has a lot going for it. The game's graphics, control, and overall sense of speed really make the game a solid PlayStation 2 cart-racing game. However, its unrealistic artificial intelligence, mismatched music, and lengthy loading times add up to an uninspiring experience that only results in frustration.
CART Fury is officially licensed by the Championship Auto Racing Teams racing organization and features popular drivers like Christian Fittipaldi, Michael Andretti, and Max Papis. The game includes 18 tracks, seven of them modeled after real-life CART tracks with the remaining 11 consisting of fantasy tracks. The game has five modes: arcade, season, simulator, subgames, and driving 101. In arcade mode, you can select a track, driver, and set your difficulty before beginning a race. The difficulty setting is unique in CART Fury, as it doesn't improve the quality of your opponent's driving but rather affects your vehicle's performance. The higher you set your difficulty, the less traction your car has on the track. On the bright side, raising the difficulty also raises the max speed on your car. During the race, you are given boost power, which refills after each checkpoint. If you complete a lap under a certain amount of time, you are given superboost, which as its name suggests is a more powerful boost. The season mode follows the same guidelines as the arcade mode, but you must race each track and earn points in an attempt to win the overall season. Simulator mode moves slightly away from the arcade gameplay. In this mode, you are stripped of being able to use boost, and there are no difficulty settings. Instead, before each race you are able to adjust the wing angle, tire pressure, and the shocks on your vehicle. To compete with the other drivers on the circuit, you must adjust these settings to the point where you can zoom around the track as fast as you can without hitting any walls. The simulator mode doesn't use a point system. Instead, you must win a race to progress to the next track. The subgames mode provides you with six minigames, and this provides little added value to the game. Driving 101 is a mode that tries to add a bit of the Gran Turismo license test feel to the game, but it ultimately boils down to driving a lap around a track without knocking over too many cones.
Good track design is key to any racing game, and Midway delivers in this area. The real-life tracks in CART Fury don't have turns that are necessarily as sharp as their real-life counterparts, but this is great because very little braking is needed to get around the track without running into walls, supposing your car is tuned right. Every fantasy track is creatively designed, each one having a distinct look and feel. Some of the fantasy tracks include: The Skyway, a track that takes place in an area where several highways are being constructed, Airport Raceway, a track that is set at an airport with planes landing and taking off as you race. There's even a track that is located on the moon, with spacecraft flying around you.
Visually, CART Fury is decent. Each course is full of buildings, trains, and random flying objects to add to the atmosphere of the game's over-the-top style. The car models have a low number of polygons, but this allows for dozens of cars to be on the screen at once. Slowdown is apparent throughout the game, but it's nothing to cry about. The game's textures are washed out and leave a lot to be desired.
CART Fury's controls are simple and responsive. It's easy to navigate your car smoothly around turns of any type, thanks to the game's excellent analog steering. The gas and brakes only have digital response. To fully realize the great sense of speed in CART Fury, you must first master the controls, but this is an exceptionally easy task.