A few thoughts on the courses! My favorite tracks are probably the two simple ones, Volcano and Oddrock. Mines Web is my favorite of the more complex courses. After that, Canyon would probably be next, followed by Bridge Ride, with K Zone in last. They are all good courses, but some are better than others.
Warning: I also mention my strategies here for some points, so don’t read this if you don’t want to be spoiled at all.
Volcano – This is one of the tracks with a narrow road suspended over, as the name suggests, a lava field. The track is fun, as all the tracks are, and straightforward in design; it’s easy to see why this is the first track that appears when you enter the track selection screen. In the track, turbo over the giant opening jump at the start, or you might not make it! The track has one major branch, a shortcut which starts shortly after that big opening jump (go to the right). You can also enter this shortcut halfway, but that’s going to save much less time, if any at all. I like this shortcut, it does seem to be shorter. The computer will never take this shortcut.
Canyon – Canyon is a solid, middle-tier track for this game. As the name suggests, this track is in a canyon. This isn’t the Canyon track from the original Pod, though, it’s entirely different, and probably not quite as cool. Fortunately, it still is a good track, even if it doesn’t match the original games’ level. Canyon starts out with a branch. There’s a tunnel, or you can go over the hill. The visuals in the tunnel are kind of nice. After that, there are some signs telling you to go right, but if you go left and go through the narrow gap, there’s a shortcut. I usually go this way. Do avoid the monsters though, they can get in your way! If you do the right, there are two paths, on the ground or up to a suspended road. When all three paths meet, you go around some buildings, then there’s another branch (high or low!), and then the end (or next lap, more likely).
Bridge Ride – Bridge Ride is kind of like K-Zone (below), and like it, it’s not one of my favorites. I do like it more than K-Zone, though. Bridge Ride has several bridges, and also some jumps. There’s a nice alternate route the computer will never use early on that avoids the circle and first jump; go left into a building, at that easy-to-miss intersection! I think it’s shorter. It also avoids the really annoying jog right in the track right after that jump I mentioned earlier; I find it really hard to actually make that turn, so I’d much rather take the shortcut, it’s quicker than going through the ravine you go through if you miss that turn to the bridge. After that, there’s a branch in the track; this one the computers will use both of. I usually go left, but both are fine. I like the section after this — there’s a large plaza with several routes. The shortest is the one over the building, but you’ll need to boost to make the jump! If you don’t have boost, take one of the other ways.
Mines Web – This track has a multi-level network of routes. At several points the track splits into two or three paths, and they repeatedly intersect. It’s a pretty cool track with a nice design; I like all the branching paths! Early on, there’s an alternate route to go up and get some powerups. The computer won’t use it, but I’d recommend it if you need some health; otherwise, avoid, it’s not shorter. There are more branches, but one key one splits three ways. I like the center path at the three-way branch; take the sharp corner well to get ahead. In the last branch, one trick is to go on the middle route and cut through the off-track area to avoid the long turn. Winning this race in Hard was tough, that strategy helped a lot there! This is a fun track to drive on. Do watch out for the monsters, though; the hatchlings can get in the way at that sharp turn.
Oddrock – Oddrock is the other suspended-road track, along with Volcano. This time it’s a rockier setting, though, no lava. You need a was-online save file to play this track, but as I said, such a file is easy enough to find. This track probably reminds me the most of the course in Pod 1’s intro, and it’s quite fun. It’s not set in a city like the Pod intro is, but the suspended-path design is similar, as with Volcano. (The first Pod has no such tracks, I don’t believe, oddly enough.) It’s not one of the hardest tracks, though, perhaps surprisingly. There are several shortcuts, including one across some platforms that cuts off a loop, and a hidden shortcut off the side at one point. Take the first entrance to this, not the second more obvious one! This is one of the better tracks.
K Zone – A decent track, this one isn’t one of my favorites. This course is in an area with some large buildings and open space. This track has several alternate paths, including one long one through the middle section of the track; take a left, instead of a right, when you hit that 90 degree turn facing a large building. The other path is on the map, but the other cars will never take it. It might be slightly shorter, but even if it isn’t, it does have some powerups on it that the computers won’t get to, which can help. This shortcut is kind of interesting, but otherwise this track is somewhat average. You go around an open area, up a ramp, back to the start, and then around again. This might be my least favorite track, I’m not sure. All six are good, though. Maybe even great.