First look: Freaky Flyers

Midway unveils a new cartoon-style racing game for next-generation consoles.

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Midway officially announced the development of Freaky Flyers for next-generation consoles. It's a racing game that features 13 characters piloting unique planes through huge 3D worlds, and it was first shown a few weeks ago at Midway's Gamers' Day. The game is expected to contain a total of 10 tracks and offer three play modes: adventure, dogfight, and stunt. The adventure mode will tell the story of each of the game's characters as the player progresses through it. While very early in development, the game displayed a great deal of promise. Three tracks were shown: Escape from Danger Island, which is a race around and through a tropical island; Goodflyers, which is set in a city reminiscent of Chicago; and The Bride of Frankenstein, which is a night track featuring a haunted castle and a cemetery. The graphics managed to walk the fine line between extremely detailed and cartoonish. The track environments themselves were massive, spanning several environments each without loading. On the Danger Island track for example, the track started out at a village, then went on through to a separate island offshore, a forest, a cove, and another offshore island before looping back to the village.

Interactive elements, such as nonplayable characters who will attack racers if provoked, were present in places as well. The game displayed a cartoonish feel that was in the same vein as animated classics from Looney Tunes and the works of Tex Avery. Character voices and sound effects were exaggerated, as was gameplay--it appeared to be possible to make hairpin turns in midair.

Freaky Flyers is currently slated for a 2002 release.

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