Ever wanted to drive the Lego cars you spent hours perfecting? Now you can, with Lego Racers from High Voltage Software and Lego Media. Each of the tracks will feature a theme from actual Lego sets you can buy off the shelves, and players are encouraged to customize their racers for maximum oddity. A fairly robust car builder engine allows you to build your vehicle piece by piece. To be released in September.
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Making customised spaceships and vehicles is one of those childhood pleasures that everyone wishes they didn't have to grow out of. Luckily, for those of us who can no longer justify spending the mortgage money on the latest Lego theme set, Lego Racers includes enough knobbly plastic bricks to satisfy any building nostalgia as well as enough racing action to appeal to all those who're fortunate enough to still own a Lego set or two.
This is a driving game in the familiar Mario Kart style which also gives you the ability to race your own customised cars. You can make them as outlandish as you like, using a good selection of basic parts, and you can enter them in a series of seven different trophies, each defended by a Lego boss character. If you defeat them you'll be able to cannibalise their cars for choice bits, enabling you to remodel your current vehicle or just build a new one from scratch.
The Lego theme extends to the weapons you pick up on the tracks, which can be powered up by collecting extra white blocks. For example, if you get a speed booster, you can use it straight away to gain a limited advantage or hold on to it until you get a couple, in which case it turns your car into a rocket- powered flying machine. Unfortunately the actual game play isn't quite up to the standard the concept deserves. The handling is twitchy and imprecise, so it's annoyingly difficult to adjust your line to grab the right power-up, and the results of the three-lap races are usually determined at the start. If you miss time your turbo, it's often impossible to catch the leader - you can race like Schumacher, but you'll finish third or fourth, with the race winner almost a full lap ahead. But if you can put up with these shortcomings, Lego Racers is actually pretty good, and the create-a-car feature makes it a unique racer.
Bored of Mario Kart 64? Fed up with Diddy Kong Racing? You could do a lot worse than pick up Lego Racers. It certainly won't take you long to figure this game out. Lego Racers is simple, pure racing fun, with 25 well-designed tracks and tight control. Heck--even the control is pretty simple. Instead of having to hop to pull off a power slide, you just press the power-slide button (Ri), or press both it and the brake button for a super-duper slide. There's no limit to vehicle variety, either; build your own cars using pieces from classic Lego kits (new kits open when you win each circuit). The colorful courses pack the expected allotment of shortcuts. Some track obstacles can be downright frustrating (such as flying saucers that zap you backward). And the power-ups are the usual kinda thing--turbos, guided missiles, oil slicks, etc. You can also supercharge each weapon by picking up white Lego pieces. The turbo is really the only power-up that matters, since it becomes a teleporter that warps you miles ahead once you fully charge it. In fact, you'll spend most races tracking down just turbos and ignoring other weapons. But it's the lack of multiplayer options that really hurts Lego Racers' replay value. The game only supports two players, and all you and a pal can do is race each other on tracks you've opened.
Lego Racers is a good example of a kids' game--a real kids' game. Not one of those crap-games turned kids' game so it won't be considered crap. So would I buy it for my own enjoyment? No. Would I buy it if I had a kid? Yes. It can be quite fun to play--albeit simple. Graphics are bright and colorful, racing is competitive but playful and there are loads of tracks. You can even build your very own racer with whatever parts you choose. Now that's cool stuff.
I'm not sure what the Lego folks had in mind with this title. Obviously it's for kids but it's so bland that even they'll get tired of it quickly. The tracks are short, unimaginative and devoid of good shortcuts. Power-ups can't be stockpiled so you have to unload constantly. In the end, Lego Racers looks and plays like a cheap Mario Kart clone, only much less entertaining. The only redeemable thing about the game is the Create-a-racer option.
It's Mario Kart with Legos! The real fun of this game is in building your racer and going head to head against a friend. The tracks have a very cartoony, Lego-ish look that (amazingly) doesn't suffer from the standard "re used" texture look of most N64 games. It's too bad there aren't more multiplayer options or more customization options for your car and driver (like creating decals for your car or new shirt designs for your racer.