LEGO Racers is a great idea which unfortunately suffers in its execution. For some reason this game is incredibly hard, harder than it should be, especially when you consider that a lot of young children who play with the toys will probably want to play the game too.
This game is a lot like Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64. Both give the player a cartoony racer and hold the races in jungles, mountains and other outdoor environments in a variety of road conditions. Both also have power-ups which the player can scoop up along the way and use to slow down their opponents. Both also have circuits composed of four races each, with points awarded after each race and final standings once the circuit is finished.
Unlike Mario Kart, however, it's nearly impossible to place any higher than second place in any race, and this game won't allow you to continue in a circuit if you don't place high enough in a race (third or higher in the first, second or higher in the second, and first in the third). Each circuit is hosted by a LEGO character who usually finishes in first place. By the time you reach the third circuit, though, it takes a monumental effort just to place at least third in the first race and be able to continue.
No game should be this hard, and unfortunately there's no difficulty setting in LEGO Racers, so you're stuck with what you get. The computer-controlled cars simply don't let up unless you're able to catch them and use a power-up such as a cannonball to slow them down. In every racing game I've ever played it's usually not very hard to catch up to the pack if you fall behind, but this game is unforgiving in that department. Fall behind even in the first lap and you'll have to forget about winning the race.
This is a shame, because the graphics and sound in this game are top-notch, and it runs as smoothly as a Nintendo 64 game, even with 32 MB of RAM, which is the minimum required. This is nice when you consider the fact that many 3D games are sluggish on a PC unless you have a top-flight system and really load up on RAM.
The characters are fun to watch, and there are nice little details in the game; watch your player dance to the bouncy music in his car when the race is over, for example. They all look like the LEGO characters which you find in the building block sets. Once nice feature in this game is the ability to use the blocks to customize your own racer, and I like the fact that how it's built actually affects its performance on the track. If it's almost impossible to win with any of the four racers which come with the game, though, I can't imagine doing much better with a custom one. In fact, you shouldn't have to mess with customized racers just to be able to have a fighting chance in the later circuits.
Like many games these days, LEGO Racers has hidden items which you can unlock as you do better in the game; in this case it's more block sets for building cars. Unfortunately, I can't see many players getting that far unless they want to devote all their spare time to mastering this game, and that's a silly demand for any game to make.
Graphics: Great 3D graphics which move fluidly.
Sound: The music is bouncy, and you can hear the characters call out when they get hit by a cannonball or score a hit on an opponent.
Enjoyment: The game goes in the toilet here. It is simply too hard.
Replay Value: Very few people will want to keep playing this game, unfortunately.
People who downloaded Lego Racers have also downloaded:
Lego Racers 2, Lego Rock Raiders, LEGO Island, LEGO: Legoland, Lego Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge, LEGO Stunt Rally, Lego Loco, Lego Alpha Team
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