The 10 most iconic franchises gone racing

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Mix racing games with popular franchises and you get maximized fun! Don’t believe it? Here’s proof!
Photo credit: Nickelodeon Kart Racers

Don't we all just love to see our favorite fictional characters moving to new horizons and taking on new challenges? No more world-saving or princess-rescuing, no, far more important tasks await our heroes! For example: how about multi-dimensional arcade racing fun with beloved friends and foes of our character?

While this was probably what Nintendo thought to themselves creating Mario Kart, other franchises followed the same path, put their signature characters in any kind of vehicle and gave them a mighty push. Here are the most popular and funny crossovers of famous franchises and the racing scene:


Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix





Steer SpongeBob SquarePants, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the cast of Hey Arnold! on the racing track! In the second part of the popular cartoon-crossover title Nickeloden Kart Racers, all of these characters come together in a fierce battle for pole position. Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix was released on October 6 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch – a PC version will be added on December 1. Like its predecessor, it features a variety of Nicktoon characters karting for first place in the arcade title – a total of 30 playable characters from twelve different original Nickelodeon cartoons and real-life actress JoJo Siwa are available in the newest addition to the franchise.


Team Sonic Racing





As a spin-off to the original series, Team Sonic Racing was added to the Sonic the Hedghehog franchise in 2019. As one would expect, the arcade title features all 15 characters from the main series as playable drivers in a colorful, Mario Kart-like racing experience. Though the most current one, Team Sonic Racing is not the first racing title for the franchise: Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing from 2010 and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed from 2012 were Sega's first official racing games featuring Sonic and friends. The hedgehog's hunt for rings continues in the newest racing title on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled





Crash Team Racing is a veteran among racing spin-offs of popular franchises: first released in 1999 on the PlayStation, Activision's karting game has been followed by various titles and finally received a remake in 2019. Just like its predecessor, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled features all main characters from the original Crash Bandicoot franchise playable in either the Classic of Nitro-Fueled mode. After several post-launch updates, the game has reached its maximum of 56 characters in March 2020, including every single driver from all Crash racing games before. The bandicoot's latest racing adventures are playable on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


Kirby Air Ride





Kirby is unstoppable! Or so it seems – the franchise about the squishy, pink alien who can not only fly but also devour everything in its way proved years ago that Kirby is also an excellent driver. Kirby Air Ride was published globally in 2003/2004 on the Nintendo GameCube and amazes countless nostalgic fans to date. The community even entertains netplay sites to keep the Air Ride scene alive and be able to enjoy the title with like-minded Kirby-enthusiasts.


Mega Man Battle & Chase





Even Mega Man enjoys a little racing from time to time. Capcom's franchise was expanded into the racing genre with Mega Man Battle & Chase in 1998, playable on the first PlayStation. Very similar to Mario Kart, the game features the "Grand Prix Mode", the "Time Trial Mode" as well as a multiplayer in a 3D-graphics set-up. However, Mega Man Battle & Chase is a bit more combat-heavy than Nintendo's cult title: tracks will confront the player with various obstacles like simple litter or enemies that have to be overcome – items like shields, for example, are a helpful addition to do so.


Garfield Kart Furious Racing





Another arcade racing title you might have never heard of is Garfield Kart. Despite the original franchise and the Garfield movies being quite popular, the racing games of the series are not as widely known. However, the racing action revolving around the iconic lazy cat was honored with a remake in 2019: Garfield Kart Furious Racing features not only an overly ambitious pun in the title, but also Garfield, Odie and all other characters from the cult franchise in a colorful racing scenery. By now, the game is available for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


Diddy Kong Racing





Diddy Kong Racing from 1997 is the first racing title featuring characters from the universe Rare created. Aside from, obviously, Diddy Kong, players can also control figures from the franchises Banjo-Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. After Rare was acquired by Microsoft, work on other racing titles was suspended, but Diddy Kong Racing still received a remake for Nintendo DS in 2006. And rightly so: according to Guinness World Records, the game was pre-ordered roughly 800,000 times in the two weeks prior to Christmas in 1997.


Looney Tunes Space Race





Looney Tunes Space Race, published on the Dreamcast in 2000, is the one and only official kart racer of the Looney Tunes franchise. Published by Infogrames, a second and slightly modified PlayStation 2 version of the game came out two years later in 2002. The game adequately portrays the personalities of cult characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in the animations and voice over. Additionally, racing fun is spiced up by various items the player can pick up and use to beat their opponents. The game also follows a basic story line, which is arguably hardly mentionable as it is irrelevant to the main series and the true fun of the game lies in the racing itself.



LittleBigPlanet Karting





LittleBigPlanet Karting is the 2012 racing addition to the original franchise. The karting game has an emphasis on combat during races, providing players with items such as grenades or missiles to slow opponents in the battle for first place. Fittingly, the game also has an eight-player Battle Mode in an actual fighting arena. Besides that, it also features a map editor. The racing adaption of the popular franchise about main character Sackboy was released exclusively on PlayStation 3.


Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing





The final place in our list occupies an absolute classic – though not necessarily in the world of racing games. But the Force is not intimidated by something as insignificant as genre-lines, and so the Star Wars franchise marched into the racing scene. In 2001, LucasArts published Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing on the PlayStation 2. The game – seemingly not taking itself quite so seriously – features the most popular characters from the franchise up to 2001 in a rather comedic style, with their body being disproportionately smaller than their gigantic heads, which is especially funny-looking in the cases of Darth Vader and Maul. However, the game did not receive the most positive feedback back in the day, so the Dreamcast and PC versions were canceled.


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