Genre: Racing Developer: Codemasters Publisher: Codemasters Players: 1-2 Released: 1993
Micro Machines is about eleven Micro Drivers who have devised a tournament to see which one is the fastest racer. Basically, it’s an overhead racing game with thirty-two different tracks (five of which are bonus), nine vehicles (one of which is bonus), and nine different environments. The range of vehicles is large, each has its own different handling, and they are all wonderfully balanced. They go from power boats, to choppers and 4x4s, to sports cars. The stages are also varied, ranging from sandy beaches to pool tables and breakfast tables.
The single-player mode consists of head-to-head action or tournament. Head-to-head is where two racers go against each other, each with either red or blue dots and starting with four each. The objective is to win dots, and this is achieved by beating your opponent to the edge of the screen. In order to win you can either take your opponent’s four dots or by whoever has the most dots by the end of the three Laps of the course winning automatically.
The tournament Involves twenty-seven courses where four racers compete, with only the first and second qualifying. You have to keep winning in order to eliminate a character in the game every three Rounds. Each stage gets harder as they go along, and as long as you keep winning you’ll become the Micro Machines Champion. Each player has three Lives in the tournament, and the only way you can gain more lives is by winning three in a row where you enter the very hard bonus stage driving Rufftrux. You have to do a lap within a time limit in order to gain a life, and trust me, as they go along they become impossible to everyone but the most hardened Micro Machine veteran. The tournament is good fun even though it’s no Super Mario Kart beater, but then again what is?
Graphically, I’d call this game average. It’s a souped-up NES game and neither this nor the Super Nintendo version beats the Master System one. In terms of audio, the music is ok but, I found the effects to be very monotonous. No, presentation aside, playability is where this game comes into its own. The driving is smooth, and the controls are responsive and easy to use but difficult to master. The B button drives you forward the A button drives you Backward, and C fires your cannon if you are driving the tank. All in all, it?’s great fun to play and with the different vehicles each one needs to be mastered differently.
Overall Micro Machines can be quite tedious after a while in the single-player mode, but it’s the two-player mode in which it really shines. It will be playable forever with a friend, in my opinion. I’m still playing this game on a regular basis fourteen years after it was released on the Mega Drive, and it was really popular in its heyday. Personally my favourite stage is the pool table with the Formula 1 cars but they really are excellent it has to be said I know this game is a bit inferior when compared with the 2, Turbo Tournament ’96, and Military; but this was the beginning of the great franchise so it deserves respect for the standards it set all those years ago. This game is a credit to Codemasters and as they say in the Micro Machines intro “ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!” – and they got it spot on.
SCORE: 8 out of 10