Track: Zo0N KitChen 2
Garage Settings: 1500 med tires/soft suspension
Lap time: 1:48
There was an unmistakable buzz about the Zone when news spread of ZooN’s intent to make a sequel to ZooN Kitchen. People wondered if he was coming back full time, and if so, would he resume his practice of popping into the game room like he use to long ago to chat with some of the regulars. Then of course, there was speculation about the track itself; would it be faster, longer, shorter…would it be better? The original ZK was released Aug 12, 1999 – three months before I started playing MTM 2. I haphazardly stumbled upon it in December of that same year (right after discovering Z-M-X), and needless to say I was overwhelmed by what I saw. Considering the kind of tracks that were being made in 1999, and mind you, there were some darn good ones, ZooN’s tracks raised the standard several notches. After 4 years in this game I’m still awed and amazed by his tracks, and ZK is without question a one-of-a-kind classic that broke new ground in track making, as well as pushed this game's fun factor off the charts.
Zo0N KitChen 2 doesn’t necessarily pick up where ZooN Kitchen left off, but rather expands somewhat on the original, which is why you’ll see some very familiar areas while cruising thru this track. After closing off several areas of ZK and adding new sections to come up with ZK2, the result was a course that’s approximately 25 seconds shorter in length than the original, but let me tell ya, you won’t feel shortchanged in the least. The layout is extremely exciting, and there are several elevation changes that take place from start to finish. Additionally, it’s chock full of substance – eye candy complimented by some very intriguing animated sound effects. It doesn’t have the overall sustained speed and intensity of the original, but make no mistake if you’re not hangin on to your chapeau when running this baby, you’ll be buying a new one after you’re done lol. ZK2 offers a heightened level of interaction with the track’s model content compared to ZK. You’re doing more…well, stuff, like jumping thru fans, driving on a couch (or going underneath of it), skidding thru some sort of liquid spilled on the floor, dodging chair/table legs, doing the pizza box thing, scaling a grated ramp – all kinds of activities coupled with the racing experience. Those “activities” are also what make it more difficult than ZK because there’s more to contend with. The challenges presented by ZK2 are fun, however…lots of fun, and the stunning visual effects serve only to enhance the experience.
To me the single most impressive thing about this track is the way it came about. The names you see prominently displayed
upon exiting a kitchen stove top and entering a duct opening that takes you behind a wall comprise the “Zo0N KitChen 2 Team”. These are the guys who helped pave the way for ZooN by contributing models and technical “whiz-bang” info. Now pay attention here all you track makers (and aspiring track makers): if ZooN can make use of beta testing and ask for assistance on a project, why can’t you? Yep, he’s often hailed as the king of track making, but he’s smart enough to realize that the eyes of many often times yield a better final product. Furthermore, a ton of work went into making this track. If you’re inclined to think that because he used portions of the original ZK that making the sequel was child’s play, nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s a quote from ZooN about midway thru the development stage that is not only telling with respect to some of the obstacles he had to work thru…but is pretty funny as well:
”I have set the sink to no collide (to let the racers go in) and added 4 ramps on the edge (to let the racers go out!) This part got lot of trouble (the trucks are flying backwards, going mad and doing fast bankroll in air instead of just moving…
LOL the visual imagery of trucks flying backwards and going mad is what got me lol. Needless to say he worked it all out, which was a good thing. : ) If you’re interested, take a look at the thread
where it all came about to see for yourself what true teamwork and selflessness is all about. I for one have never witnessed this type of collaboration on a track, so for me it was quite impressive.
If you like to explore, ZooN has given you a few areas to work with, just as he did in ZK. There are places to go, gimmicks to checkout, and he also threw in a written explanation that explains why he was unable to finish the ideas he had for his hidden areas, which is nicely tucked away where? Yep, in one of his hidden areas. By the way they’re inconspicuously marked
so you may have a tough time finding them lol.
Is ZooN done? Was this his last hurrah? That remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure, and that is in the MTM community he’s a living legend, a master track maker, but more importantly a super nice guy. Is he the best track maker of all-time? I think it’s hard (if not impossible) to make any kind of meaningful comparisons between track makers (and there are some great ones out here) in order to draw such a conclusion. He is, however, in a class by himself - has been ever since he first hit the scene way back in July of ’98 with ZooN Trip. But as for him being the greatest, each individual will have to draw his or her own conclusions. However…I don’t think there’s anyone who’ll dispute ZooN’s “greatness”, his influence on this game or the fact that he’s inspired so many – track makers, racers and rumblers alike. He’s given us 24 outstanding tracks thus far, and whether or not he continues his MTM 2 career isn’t as important to me as it may be to some. I just hope he drops in on us every now and then to shoot the breeze. : ) If he ever does drop by the Zone some time in the future and you’re fortunate enough to actually talk to the guy…throw a few 5, 10 and 20 dollar bills at your monitor. It won’t help him in any way, but I’d go so far as to say you’d feel a lot better for making “the gesture” lol.
ZooN – what more can I say, man; you’re awesome, and even that’s an understatement. As one of the guys who’s up on what goes on in the Zone day-in and day-out, believe me when I say people are still talking about ya, still posting room displays with “ZooN tracks here” “Got ZooN?”, and “ZooN for President” lol. Drop in some time and say hey to the gang. You may not know many of the names you’ll see, but rest assured they all know you.
P.S. - For those who aren't aware, ZK2 was entered in this year's Expo, however, since ZooN was one of our judges, it served as a "showpiece", much like the tracks entered by Drive2Survive, Malibu350, Phin, & RobbyH14. I can almost hear Rocketalces (this year's winner) going, "whew!" lolol.