Genre: Racing Developer: Codemasters Publisher: Codemasters Players: 1-2 Released: 1994
Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament is the official sequel to the original Micro Machines. A year later Codemasters also released Micro Machines: Turbo Tournament ’96, an enhanced update with new modes, updated courses and, most noticeable, a construction kit that made it possible to design your own racing tracks. If you already own a copy of Micro Machines ’96 you can stop reading this review, because it’s not worth acquiring this prequel due to the many overlaps between both games.
That doesn’t mean Micro Machines 2 is a bad game. On the contrary, just like the enhanced update, it’s one of the most playable, entertaining and best multi-player games available for the Sega Genesis. In the single-player mode there are four options: Challenge, Head to Head, Super League and Time Trial. Most fun are Challenge and Super League. Also Time Trial can be good fun; the record times are saved automatically and it can be a real blast to improve them. The only option I don’t like in the single-player mode is Head-to-Head. In this mode the first player who races all others ‘out of screen’ gets a point. However, the game stops every time a point is awarded, by which the overall flow of the game is greatly interrupted. In the multi-player mode that’s fun, but in single player it doesn’t quite work.
Despite its excellence as single player game, Micro Machines 2 is even better as multi-player mayhem. Codemasters did everything in its power to make this game the ultimate multi-player experience. In the original package they even added invitations for Micro Machines tournaments you could send to your friends! For unknown reasons the invitations in my package are in French, but the idea is still swell. But Codemasters best touch is the J-Cart design of the cartridge. This means the cartridge has two additional controller ports integrated on the front of the cartridge, so two additional controllers can be plugged in. It’s an unique concept that’s only used for a couple of Codemasters’ games for the Genesis. Besides Micro Machines 2/’96/Military the technique is also used on Pete Sampras Tennis and Super Skidmarks. In multi-player mode you can select single race, tournaments or time trial, all of which turn out to be highly enjoyable.
The tournament mode even proves to be one of most entertaining multi-player experiences in the history of Sega Genesis gaming. In the Party Play “eight-Player Share” mode it is even possible to play with up to eight players, but that is not recommended. Players have to share the joypad for that – the cars automatically hit the wheel and the players only have to steer. One player uses the D-pad for that, on the other end of the joypad the other player uses the buttons to go left or right. Forget about this mode – the game is most fun with four players who can all use their own joypad. Remember kids, it was before we all got internet and online games, so it was quite unique it was possible to play with so many players simultaneously.
There is only a minor complaint and that is the control of the vehicles other than the cars and motors. On a few tracks you have to control boats or helicopters, which are much more difficult to control. Especially the helicopters can be really annoying, since you also have to move them up en down besides left and right, which makes the player seem like a drunk pilot at times. Luckily, it are only very few tracks these vehicles are covered on. Aside from the mentioned helicopters, the control of the game is very tight and really excellent. A very fun addition is the ability to sound the horn of your car, which seems superfluous but contributes highly to the fun factor in multi-player games.
Micro Machines 2 isn’t the best looking Genesis game around, but the graphics are functional and have a charm of their own. The audio is decent, but besides the multi-player possibilities the real strength of the game are the clever designed tracks. They offer a lot of variations, with many different vehicles, and all have a special touch. They contain objects that vary from traffic lights, car jumps, gardens, a moving sponge in a bath tub, sand (slows you down) to pool tables and functional piano’s or other instruments. One of the most remarkable tracks even lets you race on a closet seat. Besides the original tracks also the excellent save feature – in which all accomplishments of a character are saved – needs to be praised.
Overall, Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament is an excellent game. Unfortunately, the ’96 update edition is even more complete so it’s best to opt for that one, especially when you’re fond of creating your own tracks. However, if you don’t really care about your own construction kit and cannot find Micro Machines ’96, this game comes highly recommended.
SCORE: 9 out of 10