As you tear around each track you fill up a meter with the dots floating here and there. Collect enough and everyone turns into a ghost for you to chew through. Fruit bonuses even make a useful appearance: Grab a cherry, watermelon, or grape to open that track's short-cut, then pick up another piece of fruit to gain passage next time you pass. There's a predictable assortment of weaponry as well, mostly amounting to either bombs you drop behind you or bombs that grow legs and tear off in front of you. This stuff isn't going to set the world of fire, but it beats the usual "throw mascot A on track B and release to retail" crapfest.
Sure, there's absolutely nothing about the basic gameplay that'll knock your socks off, whether you're testing a time trial, running a circuit, or just getting in a quick one-off race, but navigating the pretty scenery controls well enough to be enjoyable in its anachronistic way. The only exception is the utterly half-assed Battle mode, with its endless circling and mindless firing, which is better off ignored completely.