Review By: Jesse Mason
Throughout the years hundreds of racing games have been released. From Pole
Position in '81 to Super GT in '97. Out of all of these I could say that
my favorite racing game ever is Micro Machines for the NES and Genesis. This
little gem managed to perfectly blend beautiful track design, perfect control,
nice AI, a great 2 Player game, and above all pure fun. Now nearly 7 years
later CodeMasters (the creators of Micro Machines) are updating it to the
Playstation. Did it live up to the original? Mostly.
The core of Micro Machines is basically you race Micro Machines (the coolest
toys) around household tracks. You race in bathtubs, on breakfast tables,
in sandboxes, on pool tables, etc. Each of these tracks had an aesthetic
quality unmatched by everyone of today's tracks. For example on the breakfast
table you will see bowls of cereal near the tracks, cereal pieces all over
the place, milk splashed on the ground, cereal boxes with their contents
spilled out, the list goes on. In the sandbox you'll see toy shovels, little
army men, and other various things. The background elements are all interactive.
If you drive your car into the molasses, it will slow down, and if you drive
your boat onto a lily pad, you won't be able to turn (because boats don't
turn on land). The translation of this aspect from sprites to polygons is
down right impressive. The graphics are great. Although it may not look like
it at first, CodeMasters nailed down everything. To compensate for things
being in real space, instead of remaining at the one overhead perspective
the whole time, this game changes the view ever so slightly at certain parts
of the tracks. This is sometimes more of a problem than a solution as sometimes
things get in your way. And sometimes it makes staying on the bridges (rulers,
bread rolls, etc.) a little tough. But all in all it works out ok. Like the
original only the intro. screens have any music.
The control is a little draw. In this Playstation update the control is a
little looser and because of the views it makes it a little tougher than
before. The biggest draw is however the playing time. For one the tracks
are a bit shorter in this game. CodeMasters also took the time to add a whole
lot of unnecessary screens that you have to go to before you race (even worse
they take a long time before they pass). Next you add the load times on.
Basically you're waiting for the game more than you are playing it.
Micro Machines must have developed an aggression over the years because now
you can collect power ups to destroy your enemies. These range from missiles
to big sledgehammers. These are a totally unnecessary element yet they don't
make the game any less fun.
A lot of companies nowadays are creating racing games that are either futuristic,
weapons based games with funky characters or they are "realistic" simulations
that just don't cut it. It's very refreshing to see a company dig up a diamond
in the rough and show companies just how unoriginal they are.