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Proto:Wacky Wheels/Wacky Kart

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This is a sub-page of Proto:Wacky Wheels.

Wacky Kart is an early prototype of the Super Mario Kart clone Wacky Wheels ... or maybe Skunny Kart. Probably both. It has a complicated history. The game's developer started the game as a personal project while working at Copysoft and foolishly allowed them access to a copy of the source before taking the game to Apogee. Copysoft used the engine to create Skunny Kart and Apogee soon after launched Wacky Wheels.

This prototype is much closer to Apogee's game, but dates to the Copysoft development period.

Download.png Download Wacky Kart (Wacky Wheels prototype)
File: Wacky Wheels - Alpha 1994-02-02.7z (453 KB) (info)

Game Intro

Each version of the game has a unique company logo at the beginning, with Apogee's being the most advanced, including a Mode 7-style rotating floor, as was used in-game. The two Wacky title screens are obviously related, but Skunny is quite different. It does, however, feature many of the same options as the early game: the battle mode is still called "battle zone" and the last six options are identical to the early game.

Wacky Kart Wacky Wheels Skunny Kart
WackyKart-DOS-Logo.png WackyWheels-DOS-Logo.png SkunnyKart-DOS-Logo.png
Copysoft lays claim to the early version. But Apogee gets the final. And Skunny Kart just looks skunny.
WackyKart-DOS-Title.png WackyWheels-DOS-Title.png SkunnyKart-DOS-Title.png
Programmer art title screen. Professional title screen. Programmer art title screen?!

Major Differences

  • Keyboard controls are entirely unimplemented, both in menus and in-game. A joystick must be used to play.
  • The game at this point is entirely silent, with no sound effects or music hidden in the game's files either.
  • The grand prix cups are not implemented, only single races/battles are available. All of the high score, setup, credits, etc. options on the title screen are non-functioning dummies.
  • Racers start out in a grid, like Mario Kart. (Wheels replaced this with everyone starting out lined up equally at the beginning, but Skunny still uses grids.)
  • Hedgehogs (≈ green turtle shells) act as obstacles instead of collectible items, but the HUD still displays a counter for them, so it would appear the system was planned but not yet implemented.
Wacky Kart Wacky Wheels Skunny Kart
WackyKart-DOS-Grid1.png WackyWheels-DOS-Grid1.png SkunnyKart-DOS-Grid1.png
The camera zooms in from the front. But in Wheels, it zooms in from the side. Yet Skunny is just like Wacky Kart.
WackyKart-DOS-Grid2.png WackyWheels-DOS-Grid2.png SkunnyKart-DOS-Grid2.png
The camera comes to rest behind the racers in a grid. But here, they're in a row. Clearly, not a Mario Kart clone. And again, Skunny is unchanged from Wacky Kart.
WackyKart-DOS-Racing.png WackyWheels-DOS-Racing.png SkunnyKart-DOS-Racing.png
00 hedgehogs! Current lap has been moved to the bottom left, driver's name added to top left. HUD rearranged and redrawn, track buried under a million obstacles and items.

Characters and Descriptions

All of the karts have been beefed up to look a lot more interesting than their early incarnations. Some minor tweaks were also made to the drivers (dark outlines on some characters here and in the 1.0 proto were removed before final Wacky Wheels), but nothing near the degree of modifications done to their rides.

Skunny Kart obviously has an entirely different cast, but many similarities remain, both in the karts (tires are generally unchanged) and the racers (e.g., Skunny is clearly a recolored Ringo). Notably, even on the character select screen, he is the sixth character in his own game, simply because that was Ringo's position.

Wacky Kart Wacky Wheels Skunny Kart
WackyKart-DOS-cars.png WackyWheels-DOS-cars.png SkunnyKart-DOS-cars.png

Additionally, the characters all had three-line descriptions in Wacky Kart, which were edited down to two for Wheels. Some of these edits obscured useful information like the fact that Morris the Moose is a good starter. Skunny has a completely different cast and character select screen, which isn't really worth comparing against these.

Prototype Final
WackyKart-DOS-CH1Tigi.png WackyWheels-DOS-CH1Tigi.png
WackyKart-DOS-CH2Blombo.png WackyWheels-DOS-CH2Blombo.png
WackyKart-DOS-CH3Ringo.png WackyWheels-DOS-CH3Ringo.png
WackyKart-DOS-CH4Razer.png WackyWheels-DOS-CH4Razer.png
WackyKart-DOS-CH5Uno.png WackyWheels-DOS-CH5Uno.png
WackyKart-DOS-CH6Sultan.png WackyWheels-DOS-CH6Sultan.png
WackyKart-DOS-CH7Morris.png WackyWheels-DOS-CH7Morris.png
WackyKart-DOS-CH8Peggles.png WackyWheels-DOS-CH8Peggles.png

The developer has stated that early in development, Razer the Shark's name was "Bubbles", which Apogee co-owner (and shark owner) George Broussard felt was a "sissy name for a shark", so the character was renamed. This suggests the developers were already in contact with Apogee by this point, despite the Copysoft branding.

Tracks

Most of the tracks are pretty much identical in layout between this version and the final Wacky Wheels (though there are many entirely new tracks not featured at all in Wacky Kart). All of these tracks are included in the game's files, but only four can be selected in normal play: Bronze 1 (track 1), Silver 1 (track 6), Gold 1 (track 11) and Battle Zone (track 16). Only tracks with layout changes are shown here; for cosmetic changes, see the tilesets below.

Skunny Kart features mostly new or extensively reworked tracks; as such, it can be difficult to identify whether they come from Wacky Kart. Some clear examples are included below.

Wacky Kart Wacky Wheels Skunny Kart
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK1.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK1.png
The start/finish line was moved forward on the track and a jump was added to the bottom road.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK2.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK2.png SkunnyKart-DOS-Track19.png

SkunnyKart-DOS-Track26.png

Track 2 is pretty much entirely unrelated to the final Wacky Wheels version. Too Mario Kart-y? Skunny Kart clearly didn't mind, cloning elements from this track twice.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK3.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK3.png
Besides the recolor, the fork at top left was cut, and a jump and boost were added.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK4.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK4.png
The start/finish line was slightly moved, much of the track was widened and a boost was added.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK5.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK5.png
The start/finish line moved halfway across the track (!) and a jump was added in a tight section.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK7.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK7.png
Another start/finish tweak, and a wall added to stop players taking a giant shortcut in the top left.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK9.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK9.png
Start/finish moved halfway across the track, corner tweaks all over to fix the frustratingly jagged shape.
The boost and jump are still there, but not marked in the final map for some reason.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK11.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK11.png SkunnyKart-DOS-Track11.png
Another completely replaced track in Wheels. Too Mario Kart-y again? Nobody wanted to tweak the physics for ice tracks? The version in Skunny was heavily redesigned, but likely derived from the Wacky Kart original.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK12.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK12.png SkunnyKart-DOS-Track25.png
Pretty much redone for Wacky Wheels, but sort of vaguely the same shape; hard to say if the new one was from scratch. Skunny Kart is closer, but again quite different.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK14.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK14.png SkunnyKart-DOS-Track14.png
For Wacky Wheels, the top left corner was widened to make it easier, and a fork was added at the bottom. The designers for Skunny Kart apparently really liked the bridge idea.
WackyKart-DOS-SHRINK16.png WackyWheels-DOS-SHRINK16.png
Early version looks like a straight test map, probably never intended for actual play.

Track Tiles

Between Wacky Kart and Wheels, most of the track tilesets were altered, mainly to make the borders look less obviously ripped off from Mario Kart. Some of the palettes received minor tweaks, and a couple were entirely recolored to change their themes. Several tilesets in Skunny Kart are also obviously descended from the prototype's, but many were replaced entirely. Only the relevant Skunny sets are shown below.

Wacky Kart Wacky Wheels Skunny Kart
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F1.png WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F1.png SkunnyKart-DOS-TilesA F1.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F2.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F2.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F3.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F3.png SkunnyKart-DOS-TilesA F3.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F4.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F4.png SkunnyKart-DOS-TilesA F4.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F5.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F5.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F6.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F6.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F8.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F8.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F9.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F9.png SkunnyKart-DOS-TilesA F9.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F10.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F10.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F13.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F13.png SkunnyKart-DOS-TilesA F13.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F14.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F14.png SkunnyKart-DOS-TilesA F14.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F15.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F15.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F16.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F16.png SkunnyKart-DOS-TilesA F16.png
WackyKart-DOS-TilesA F17.png WackyWheels-DOS-TilesA F17.png