LEGO Racers

LEGO Racers is a typical by-the-numbers arcade racing game, featuring the usual complement of tracks (that are unlocked via winning), multiple environments and secret areas. It follows the Wipeout-style of collecting a single-use powerup, but enhances the model somewhat by allowing you to pick up power-up modifiers that change their properties. This adds a little bit of strategy to the usual reflex-oriented racing.

10And what challenging racing it is. Perhaps to the detriment to the extreme bottom-end of the age scale (the game is for folks 6 and up), the game is surprisingly tough. Until you tune your LEGO-mobile, it’s unlikely you’ll make it to the last race. Yes, you get to build your own cars (or modify existing ones), and there’s actually enough physics modeling going on for it to make some difference (lighter cards handle better and accelerate more quickly while heavier cars have a higher top speed and slower acceleration).

Whether or not it was wise to make a mass-market game requiring 3D hardware will be answered by the sales figures, but the game is quite attractive in all of its Direct3D glory. It’s blocky, but that’s actually a complement—the artists do a fantastic job at making the environments look LEGO-y. And the music is feel-good to the extreme, and manages it without being annoying. You’ll be humming the theme song for hours, much to the chagrin of friends and co-workers.

If all “kids” software was as good as this, we wouldn’t even need to make fun of the category. Folks, if your kids like LEGOs, you still have your own residual LEGO-fetish (go ahead, it’s OK to admit it) or are a fan of race games, this is a superb addition to your software collection.

System Requirements: Pentium 133 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Windows 95

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