SEGA Tunes: Wacky Races’ “Scarecrow Creek” and “Tombstone Pass” (SEGA Dreamcast)

Today marks the 15th anniversary of SEGA’s Dreamcast console in Europe, and seeing as we’re in the midst of Halloween season, what better way to celebrate both than with some creepy music from a UK developed Dreamcast classic! Wacky Races is a kart racer based on the late 60s Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the same name. Developed by Infogrames Sheffield House, formerly known as Gremlin Interactive, Wacky Races could be seen as a precursor to Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. Sumo Digital, developer of the All-Stars Racing titles, was formed in 2003 by the former management of Infogrames Sheffield following its closure. Sumo Digital even used lessons learned in Wacky Races when developing their SEGA racing titles as revealed in a 2012 interview held by Sonic Retro with Executive Producer at Sumo Digital Steve Lycett:

Sonic Retro: The announcer is an element that people really loved or hated. I personally felt it was a welcome element to give the game some personality. What was the decision to include the announcer?

Steve Lycett: Wacky Races also featured an announcer type system that would call out for each specific character. The announcer came about for two reasons. Trav had seen SEGA Race TV and loved the concept of an announcer who commented the race, plus we wanted to make the player feel like there was more going off than they could see.

So you get this chatter that someone at the back is making a move up the field, or someone just had a really bad crash, and although it was happening and you couldn’t see it, it made it feel like it mattered. Plus… we’d done a similar thing a long time before making Wacky Races on the Dreamcast and PS2 in our previous guise as Gremlin/Infogrames Sheffield House. So we knew it could be made to work…!

Pretty cool connection, but enough about the gameplay, this is Tuesday Tunes – let’s get to the music! The original Wacky Races television show made great use of polka and rock/soul influenced music, a style that was common at the time for Hanna-Barbera cartoons, as similar music was used in shows like Cattanooga Cats and Josie and The Pussycats. The Wacky Races video game features a theme that is different from the Hoyt Curtin composed original, with the video game theme having an upbeat bluegrass sound with heavy use of banjos and xylophones. This sound carries over to the rest of the soundtrack, with even the creepiest courses featuring fun upbeat tunes. Enjoy this week’s selections of “Scarecrow Creek” and “Tombstone Pass”, and pick up the game for yourself if you haven’t already.

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2 responses to “SEGA Tunes: Wacky Races’ “Scarecrow Creek” and “Tombstone Pass” (SEGA Dreamcast)

  1. cube_b3 says:

    I really enjoyed Wacky Races.

    It was also nicely cell shaded and the graphics have survived the test of time.

  2. Setnaro X says:

    Wacky Races was a surprisingly good kart racer for the Dreamcast, next to Looney Tunes Space Race. I remember going to the game store to buy Skies of Arcadia, and they had this game on sale for 10 bucks, so I took both games home with me. Wacky Races offered quite a lot of things to do, such as collecting character weapons, finding the Muttley trophies, and duking it out with the boss races, complete with the grand prize of being able to play as Dick Dastardly in all his cartoon evilness. That was extremely rewarding.

    It’s almost shocking how much work and detail went into something that was merely an adaption of a cartoon that’s decades old, but that was Infogrames for you. As for the music, I always loved the boss themes. It was such a cunningly cartoony track and yet it gave a lot of tension when you raced against Dick, pulling off every dirty trick in the book such as racing off during the countdown.

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