Lego Racers

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Rocket racer and the view most are familiar with.

Lego Racers was a series of two games released in 1999 and 2001 that is fondly remembered. You play as some schmuck who is unique in the fact that can duplicate himself, create virtually unlimited cars, and is possibly skilled enough to take down the fastest racer in the galaxy, Rocket Racer.

It's also considered by some to be the best kart racer outside of Mario Kart, thought Lego Racers longevity doesn't have anything on that juggernaut. Shame really.

Lego Racers 1

The first one is an absolute gem that really should be played by anyone who considers themselves a fan of racin' games no mater their preference about physics. If it was just a copy and paste mario kart with some buildable karts that might have been good enough. But this game features as much customization as nearly possible for a game to have, some pretense of physics that react to the cart you built, and what might clench the deal is a power-up system you have a choice in. Admittedly you'll probably not venture outside one green and three white but it's better then an RNG that seems to hate you.

Speaking of which you have a choice of Red bricks (forward attacks), Yellow bricks (rear-ward attacks), Blue bricks (shields), and green (speed burst). While this might seem limited you can augment each brick with three separate white bricks that increase each in multitude (Red can turn into lightning for a short burst, Yellow turns into a Satellite that stops those who get near it dead in their tracks, blue makes longer lasting shields, and green can ensure your victory). This leads to a degree of tactics in races such as taking a longer path to get whites or another route to get a certain brick type.

Car customization is determined by selecting one of four chassis and brick sets that can be used in any combination. More sets can be unlocked by beating a host of a Grand Prix which result in six extra sets to build with and an extra secret set when you complete all the time trials. This will be no short task as the A.I. are bastards the farther along you are and even seasoned racers may have an issue or two.

The Grand Prix's are held over three sets of four unique tracks that are ran forward and backward with two special tracks for testing vehicles and one for Rocket Racer. The hosts (who all have a preferred brick they go after) are:

  • Redbeard the pirate who favor's red bricks
  • King Kahuka the islander who pefers blue bricks
  • Basil the Ba(s)t(ard) Lord who has it figured out with green
  • Johnny Thunder Who's back to blue
  • Baron Darren D'Barrin who likes red (the color of EVIL!)
  • Gypsy moth who xzybwl green and could be considered Rocket Racer lite in terms of difficulty
    • And Rocket Racer who uses not only greens exclusively but three whites which unless you're very skilled or very stupid is what you used to get to this point.
      • And Veronica Voltage as the Time Trial queen

While it might seem a little light on content the racing and building will keep you invested in a for a good amount time.

Lego Racer 2

Lego Racers 2 is a strange sequel in that it improved (and in some cases pioneered) over Lego Racers 1. How ever much like the Hindenburg, one small change caused the whole thing to go up in smoke. Admittedly it was two changes but those will be covered later. First the good news.

Lego Racers 2 was a free-roaming racer and you could take whatever path to the next checkpoint and in 2001. Grand Theft Auto III had just come out and Underground 2 was three years off. Next addition was destructible body pieces that could end up in you literately running to the finish. It also features more story over the first one, mini-games that can earn upgrades to your car, and a lot more bits to build a car with. Even some proper boss races that may not all be driving.

So with all this greatness how did it flop? Well the first sin it committed was a change to an RNG item box style like Mario kart. This could be excusable and keep the game from turning into "Rofl Warpz victory". How ever the thing that undermined this whole thing was a restriction of customization. There are less body pieces to build your racer and while there are more pieces to use on your car (which is frankly more important) you're limited to 20 pieces (including the chassis) to be used a vehicle. While that's workable on small chassis you can do nothing on bigger chassis. And throughout the game your limited to 5 cars and those cars can only be used the location your visiting and you only get one car. While it's said that eight four by one bricks have virtually limitless combinations,it doesn't make for very pretty cars. It could be said to be offset by the pre-builts, that's not a very good consolidation (Especially considering some of them use well more then 20 parts).

Still a pretty solid game if you don't mind the lack of customization.

Honerable mentions

Lego Stunt Rally

Lego Stunt Rally is to racing games as Killer 7 is to FPS games. You choose a car then you hold down "W". And the game still comes out as a fight for first with luck seeming to have more bearing then skill for winning against bosses. And while the cars are all pre-made they're pretty inventive and you can build some kick ass courses. It might even come in a bundle torrent with the other games.

Drome Racers

Drome racers is only marginally related to the rest as it's only feature is technix cars. Outside of that it's just another futuristic racer.