Micro Machines review - Nintendo Entertainment System
If you've ever tried racing a Formula One car at home, you may have noticed how the size of your bedroom can be a little restrictive to your driving activities. Well now there is a solution in the form of Micro Machines.
Micro machines pits your racing abilities against those of three other drivers on a wide variety of courses and in an assortment of pocket-sized vehicles. The action is set on an overhead-view multi-directionally scrolling track. The control system rotates the car either clockwise or anti-clockwise, depending on the direction pressed, much in the mould of that old classic Super Sprint.
Finish in first or second position and you qualify for the next race. Finish in third or fourth and you lose one of your three lives. Complete twenty-eight races and you are proclaimed Micro Machines supreme champion!
What the Mean Machines staff thought
When I first had a bash on Micro Machines I was mightily confused about steering. Although the action is viewed from above, the player steers through the eyes of the driver. Once I had figured that out and got the hang of it, I realised just how good a game this is. Perhaps its greatest asset is its playability. Although some of the courses are fast, the scrolling is always smooth and the vehicles always respond realistically. There are some excellent and inventive graphics as well. I particularly liked the race around the breakfast table, where the cars have to dodge marmalade spills and such like. At times the collision detection is a bit suspect, but this doesn't really detract from the game's entertaining style. Micro Machines isn't a game that is easy to master either. Even when you've managed to beat all of the opponents, there's still the two player option, allowing you to challenge a friend of equal (or not) expertise. NES owners are advised to pick this one up, it is the most original game to appear on this console for some time.
As a license, Micro Machines is almost as bizarre as the soon-to-be-released Monster in my Pocket. As a game, Micro Machines works brilliantly. Although the graphics are somewhat inconsistent, with some of the sprites and backgrounds being really basic and others having loads of detail, they don't really detract from your enjoyment of the game. The sound is okay, there aren't many effects, but the tunes are some of the best yet on the NES. What sets Micro Machines apart is the superb playability. The vehicles handle smoothly and realistically, sometimes with a frenzied turn of pace. The smooth scrolling moves things along perfectly, without hint of speed blur or jerkiness. The only fly in the ointment is the off-centre collision detection for the sticky, deceleration inducing hazards such as glue sticks or marmalade. Micro Machines is a very different race game that brims with playability. NES owners would be mad to miss this.